Groton, MA – School officials painted over a pro-Second Amendment message that students had painted on the school’s spirit rock on Monday night.
The group of Massachusetts students who painted the school’s spirit rock on April 2 were frustrated to discover that their work had been covered by school officials within 12 hours, one of the teens told Blue Lives Matter.
The large rock outside Groton-Dunstable Regional High School has been a canvas for artwork announcing school and town-related events for many years, 18-year-old senior Andrew Wilson told Blue Lives Matter.
“It gets painted continuously throughout the year,” he explained. “Sometimes it’s for school plays, or sports, town events, or even the National Walkout, for example.”
Wilson said that many people in his community hold very “liberal” beliefs, and that he and five other members of the senior class had been discussing the lack of objectivity they had observed with regard to gun control.
“We’re all more conservative,” he said of the group. “Right now the discussion about guns is really one-sided. The media isn’t covering the issue objectively, and they’re just pushing one agenda.”
“People are associating guns with people having bad ideas,” Wilson said. “There’s talk of repealing the Second Amendment – you can’t just go attack something like that.”
When one member of the group suggested painting the spirit rock to help convey a pro-Second Amendment message, the teens began to develop a plan.
Wilson explained that the last message painted on the rock involved National Walkout Day, which honored the slain students and faculty of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School murdered by a 19-year-old former student on Valentine’s Day.
Out of respect for the memory of those killed in the massacre, the teens decided to wait for nearly three weeks after the memorial walkout before they repainted the rock, he said.
At approximately 7 p.m. on Monday night, the group gathered at the school, and covered the rock in red, white, blue, and black paint.
A large American flag covered one end of the rock.
“Defend the 2nd Amendment” and “Shall NOT be infringed” were written on two other surfaces, as well as “#NRA” across the rock’s flattened top.
However, when the teens arrived at school on Tuesday morning, someone had already painted over each of the messages.
Only the American flag remained untouched.
“At first I thought it was the rain overnight,” Wilson told Blue Lives Matter. “Then I realized they decided to pick and choose what they left.”
“I was pretty pissed,” he admitted. “I knew it would be painted over, but not that early.”
Wilson said that a couple of members in the group sought out a meeting with school administrators on Wednesday.
The unnamed teens said they spoke with Assistant Principal Rick Arena for approximately 20 minutes, and were told that the rock was not intended for anything other than “school spirit,” and that the school was not treating them “differently” due to their “political views.”
“[Arena] said if we had written ‘protect the First Amendment,’ they probably would have done the same thing,” one student recounted, according to Wilson. “He said they might have let it slide but the # nra kind of pushed it over the edge.”
Groton-Dunstable Regional High School Principal Michael Woodlock confirmed the school’s stance on Thursday morning.
“The rock is supposed to be about school spirit,” Woodlock told Blue Lives Matter. “We respect our kids’ rights, but feel there are more appropriate places for politics.”
Woodlock said that the school makes every effort “to be as apolitical as possible,” and that he felt the messages written on the rock “could be a divisive issue.”
Like Wilson, Woodlock asserted that the school’s participation in National Walkout Day was not to endorse a political stance, but to honor the Parkland students “who went through a horrific event.”
“We decided to do a rally in support of the students,” he said.
Woodlock said that none of the students involved in painting the rock with pro-Second Amendment messages would face any type of disciplinary action.
“We’re truly trying not to take sides,” he said.
Wilson said that he and his fellow students have received “a lot of positive feedback” about their decision to paint the rock.
“A lot of people commended us for having the courage to do it, even if, unfortunately, some of them didn’t necessarily agree,” he said.
The group of teens is set to graduate from Groton-Dunstable Regional High School in June.