Exclusive: District that suspended student for using term ‘illegal alien’ fails to provide docs to parents org

(Daily Caller News Foundation) – A North Carolina school district that suspended a student for using the term “illegal alien” failed to provide all public records pertaining to the incident…

(Daily Caller News Foundation) – A North Carolina school district that suspended a student for using the term “illegal alien” failed to provide all public records pertaining to the incident that were requested by a parental-rights organization, the group told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Christian McGhee, a 16-year-old student at Central Davidson High School, received a three-day suspension in April for using the term “illegal aliens” during class while asking the teacher for clarification on a vocabulary assignment, prompting his parents to file a lawsuit against the Davidson County Board of Education. Parents Defending Education (PDE) filed a records request about the suspension, but received only four emails totaling eight pages that were provided to the DCNF. 

“It is possible that said emails so requested may contain confidential student/educational records under FERPA that would not be subject to a public records request and/or to the extent that such emails can be provided pursuant to your request, they may have to be heavily redacted or not provided at all,” a representative for the district told the parental-rights group, referencing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

The Davidson County Board of Education and Davidson County Schools Superintendent Gregg Slate did not respond to multiple requests for comment from the DCNF.

A spokesperson for PDE told the DCNF that McGhee’s parents were not involved in the records request, nor were they in contact with the parental-rights group. A spokesperson for the Liberty Justice Center, which is representing the parents, declined to comment on the PDE records request.

McGhee eventually withdrew from Central Davidson High School and transferred to a homeschooling program after receiving threats due to the suspension, according to court documents.

Christian McGhee had returned to his class after using the restroom and arrived to find the class discussing aliens, leading him to ask whether the class was discussing aliens from space or illegal aliens, Dean McGee, an attorney with Liberty Justice Center representing McGhee and his parents, told the DCNF.

“A Latino boy in class turned around and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to kick your ass,’” McGee said. “It was said jokingly, and class moved on as normal until later, a girl in class brought up the Latino student’s comment about kicking Christian’s ass, and that’s when the teacher called the assistant principal.”

Despite both boys telling the assistant principal that the comments were not a big deal, the assistant principal viewed Christian’s use of the term “illegal alien” as a racial slur and issued the suspension, McGee told the DCNF. McGee referred the DCNF to Liberty Justice Center’s complaint against the Davidson County Board of Education when asked for more details about the assistant principal’s conduct.

The term “alien” is defined in 8 USC 1101 as “any person not a citizen or national of the United States.” The term “illegal aliens” is used in multiple parts of the United States Code, including 8 USC 11828 USC 1252c and 8 USC 1366.

“The parents are looking to clear his record and essentially vindicating his constitutional rights to both free speech and due process,” McGee told the DCNF when asked what McGhee’s parents wanted from the litigation. “And his parents are also looking for damages.”

McGee said the parents were not seeking a specific dollar amount, but would leave it for a trial if the school district did not settle the case.

Student discipline was not the only area where the Davidson County Schools appeared to withhold information. In training documents acquired via a public records request from PDE, the school system appears to instruct counselors on techniques to hide information about a student’s gender identity.

“Don’t write down anything or email anything you wouldn’t want a parent to see/know,” the presentation PDE provided to the DCNF said.

“It’s clear through these incidents that Davidson administrators feel emboldened to push a political agenda on students,” PDE investigative fellow Alex Nester told the DCNF. “Whether punishing student speech or encouraging staff to exclude parents from sensitive information about their kids, it’s clear that Davidson administrators are more interested in virtue signaling their political correctness than doing right by the families and students they serve. It’s shameful.”

PDE reported ten previous incidents in North Carolina, including two school districts that have policies to conceal the gender identity of a student from parents.

Parents sued school districts over efforts to transition children socially without the parents’ knowledge in Florida and Wisconsin. A 12-year-old girl reportedly attempted suicide in Florida while administrators were carrying out a social transition without informing her parents, Fox News reported.

“The district quite literally is letting ideology dictate when and how they follow federal law—they do this to avoid transparency with parents and with the greater public,” PDE Director of Outreach Erika Sanzi told the DCNF. “To make matters worse, they are actively telling teachers how to circumvent federal law so that they can withhold vital information from parents about their own children. Totally indefensible across the board.”