North Carolina teen punished for saying 'illegal aliens' awaits preliminary injunction ruling

McGhee’s suspension was for three days, no appeal was permitted, and he was kept out of a track meet.

Published: July 3, 2024 11:02pm

(The Center Square) -

Request for a preliminary injunction remains pending in the case of a North Carolina teen whose academic record has been damaged for saying “illegal aliens” in a classroom.

Christian McGhee, 16, was enrolled at Central Davidson High in Lexington, asked a question of his teacher, and an assistant principal equated the phrase to use of “the n-word.” Assistant Principal Eric Anderson, in a conversation with the student’s mother, also described McGhee’s teacher using the word “struggled” for the April 9 situation and deemed it because of “being so young and female.”

McGhee and his parents, Leah and Chad McGhee, sued the Davidson County School District Board of Education on May 7. On June 4, a preliminary injunction was sought. Plaintiffs want his academic record cleared with no mark, and the injunction requests the school reverse the suspension.

The lawsuit says McGhee’s right to free speech, right to education and right to due process have all been violated by the school district. The Center Square's questions of the school district were acknowledged and not answered.

McGhee’s suspension was for three days, no appeal was permitted, and he was kept out of a track meet. His family finished the year homeschooling with him.

According to McGhee’s lawyers, 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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