MORGONN MCMICHAEL: North Carolina high school student suspended for using the term 'illegal aliens': report

A North Carolina high school student was reportedly suspended after using the term “illegal aliens” in class while working on an assignment.

16-year-old  Christian McGhee, a student at Central Davidson High School in Lexington, North Carolina, was allegedly suspended after using the term “illegal alien” in a question he asked to better understand a vocabulary assignment, according to his mother, Leah McGhee.

Leah reportedly sent an email describing the incident to the Carolina Journal, as well as to local officials. The mother told the outlet that her son asked his teachers, “Like space aliens or illegal aliens without green cards?”

A student in Christian’s class reportedly took offense to the statement and “threatened to fight him,” according to the outlet. After the assistant principal was called in to assess the situation, the school administrators deemed his question to be “offensive and disrespectful to classmates who are Hispanic.”

School administrators elected to suspend Christian for three days. The 16-year-old also faces the possibility that his statement will hurt his school record, despite his consistent efforts to obtain an athletic college scholarship. According to the outlet, Christian is “actively involved” in clubs as well as the school’s track and cross-country teams.

“Because of his question, our son was disciplined and given THREE days OUT of school suspension for ‘racism,’” Leah wrote in her email to the Carolina Journal and local officials. “He is devastated and concerned that the racism label on his school record will harm his future goal of receiving a track scholarship. We are concerned that he will fall behind in his classes due to being absent for three consecutive days.”

Her son said that he “didn’t make a statement directed towards anyone; [he] asked a question.”

“I wasn’t speaking of Hispanics because everyone from other countries needs green cards, and the term ‘illegal alien’ is an actual term that I hear on the news and can find in the dictionary,” Christian said following his suspension.

Both the Carolina Journal and Newsweek contacted the high school to request further information; however, both outlets were told that they could not discuss the incident due to “federal student privacy protections.”

“Please know that Davidson County Schools administrators take all discipline incidents seriously and investigate each one thoroughly,” a Central Davidson High School staff member replied to Newsweek. “Any violation of the code of conduct is handled appropriately by administrators.”

The Central Davidson School District’s handbook states, “In general, schools may place restrictions on a student’s right to free speech when the speech is obscene, abusive, promoting illegal drug use, or is reasonably expected to cause a substantial disruption to the school day.”

TPUSA contacted district personnel to request clarification on what speech can be restricted under this policy, and how Christian’s question met the qualifications explained in the handbook; however, no response has been provided at this time. This article will be updated to reflect comments provided by the school district.

This piece first appeared at TPUSA.

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