Secret Service confiscates class project after North Carolina Wal-Mart employee notifies police of suspicious photo

Attention Wal-Mart shoppers: Be careful when selecting the topic for your next class project. One high school student learned that the hard way last month after one of his projects attracted the attention of the Secret Service.

Agents confiscated a student’s civics project after a person in the photo department at the Kitty Hawk, N.C., Wal-Mart alerted authorities of a suspicious picture.

The Progressive, a political magazine, reported that a student at Currituck County High School cut a picture of President Bush out of a magazine and tacked it to a wall. The student, who remains unnamed, then gave the thumbs down symbol next to the President’s photo and snapped a picture. He then pasted his photo onto a poster for a project illustrating the Bill of Rights.

According to, a community news Web site, the student developed the film at the Kitty Hawk Wal-Mart, where an employee notified police of the photo. Police then alerted the Secret Service.

Secret Service agents came to the school on Sept. 20 and removed the poster, according to The Progressive. The agents questioned the student and the instructor who assigned the project, Selina Jarvis.

Jarvis said in the Progressive article she told agents that the student “was a great kid … and that he’d never been in any trouble.” She also told the agents that the poster was not suspicious; it was just a Bill of Rights project.

Express, a publication of The Washington Post, said the student intended for the picture to illustrate the right to dissent.

The Progressive said the student was not indicted and the Secret Service is not pursuing the case any further.

SPLC View: After they had finished ripping the student’s completely lawful poster off the wall and concluded their investigation, it is too bad that the Secret Service officers did not stay for a Bill of Rights refresher course.