Student Receives Three-Day Suspension for Saying “Illegal Alien”

( – North Carolina school officials from Central Davidson High School have suspended a teenage boy for using the phrase “illegal alien” during a school assignment due to its allegedly offensive meaning.

According to Leah McGee, the teenager’s mother, her son got suspended after asking his teacher to clarify what the term “alien” meant. McGhee’s son claims he didn’t understand if his teacher meant extraterrestrial beings or illegal immigrants and asked his teacher to explain further. The teenage boy’s comments offended another student in the classroom, who threatened to fight him for using the term “illegal alien.”

Following the brief confrontation, the teenage boy’s teacher notified school officials about the incident. Central Davidson High School’s administration determined that McGhee’s son used an offensive term and suspended him for three days as punishment. McGhee’s son seemed confused by the suspension. McGhee’s son said that he wasn’t referring to Hispanic people but instead using a term he’s seen used on national media outlets and in everyday vocabulary. Despite McGhee’s son’s explanation for the incident, school officials suspended him for acting racist to other students.

Leah McGhee shared information about her son’s suspension to media outlets, claiming that her son feels emotionally devastated due to accusations of him harboring racist beliefs. McGhee also said that the suspension hurt her son’s education and could prevent him from receiving scholarships for his college education. Despite McGhee’s criticisms, school officials defended the suspension and cited the Central Davidson High School handbook’s policy regarding students’ right to free speech. The school handbook allows school officials to limit students’ free speech if they say anything offensive, abusive, or anything that promotes illegal activity.

The handbook also features provisions regarding how student officials discipline students, including a requirement for school officials to allow students to attend a disciplinary action hearing. School officials can hold the informal hearing immediately after deciding to pursue disciplinary action against a student, and the student can attend the hearing and learn about the accusations and pending disciplinary action against them.

Despite these provisions, Leah McGhee’s son didn’t attend a hearing regarding the incident, which resulted in his suspension. McGhee’s son should return to school without further complications, but the teenager claims that he’s still confused about why school officials suspended him and accused him of racism. When discussing the altercation, McGhee’s son referred to the English dictionary, which features the term “illegal alien,” as evidence of the term’s lack of controversy. However, school officials weren’t convinced and upheld the suspension against the 16-year-old.

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