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Preliminary injunction sought for teen suing North Carolina school district

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(The Center Square) – Clearance of a North Carolina teen’s academic record for saying “illegal aliens” in a classroom setting is sought in a preliminary injunction filed Tuesday.

Christian McGhee, a 16-year-old at Central Davidson High in Lexington, and his parents Leah and Chad McGhee, sued the Davidson County School District Board of Education. The lawsuit filed May 7 seeks full clearance and removal of the mark on the student’s record, and Tuesday’s filing asks the court to order the school to reverse the suspension.

The newest action also introduces excerpts of a recording involving a school administrator, who equated the phrase “illegal alien” to “the n-word.” Also in the recording, Assistant Principal Eric Anderson told the mother, Leah McGhee, her son should have said “those people that need a green card.” Anderson described the teacher by using the word “struggled,” and said it was because of “being so young and female.”

Lawyers also submitted evidence in the form of texts made by Davidson County School Board members they say were sent to members of the community “in an effort to malign Christian and his family,” a release says.

“The Davidson County School Board has not only invented a racial incident out of thin air, but then gone on to violate a student’s rights to free speech and due process to punish him for that invented incident,” said Buck Dougherty, senior counsel at the Liberty Justice Center. “What we have here is an administration that refuses to admit its wrongdoing, and a kid caught in the crossfire. We are proud to stand with Christian and his family, and urge the court to order the removal of this wrongful suspension from Christian’s record.”

According to McGhee’s lawyers, the situation unfolded in class on April 9. The sophomore raised his hand and asked if the teacher’s reference to “aliens” referred to “space aliens, or illegal aliens who need green cards?”

“Christian asked his question,” said Dean McGee, educational freedom attorney at the Liberty Justice Center. “A boy in his class, of Hispanic heritage, jokingly said ‘Hey, I’m going to kick your …’” and used an expletive.

McGee said class continued in usual fashion, that the two teens are friends and there was “no legitimate threat of a fight.”

The teacher, afterward, called in administrators regarding not the use of the words, but the appearance of a threat. Anderson, McGee said, talked to the teens.

“The kid said he was joking” about a fight, and that “he was not offended,” McGee said. “He said it was no big deal.”

In addition to telling the student he should have been offended, McGee said Anderson gave the student a suspension in school of less than one day and remarked about his Spanish grade being low despite his heritage.

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