Student suspended for cursing at congressional staffer
Noah Christiansen returned to class March 20, 2018 at McQueen High School after a suspension took him out of school for two days. The junior made a phone call to Congressman Mark Amodei's office March 14, saying to a staffer that he wanted a ban on bump stocks and for the legal age to buy a guy be raised. During the phone call, Christiansen cursed at the staffer.
"I totally understand that's not the wording I should have used but it's still my right to use that word," Christiansen says.
His mom, Stacie Lerma, says she wasn't notified of the suspension until the following day.
"I don't encourage my child to go and curse at someone, however, I know that he was really passionate about the topic and I believe that something needs to be done and maybe somebody does need to get off their butt and do something," she says.
The ACLU sent letters to the school district and to the congressman's office following the suspension.
"They violated the law and the violated his rights and his viewpoint," ACLU policy director Holly Welborn says.
The suspension was also split because Noah was needed to compete at the state competition for the debate team.
"The school knows they will build its reputation but yet they won't let him participate in other activities? It's unacceptable," Welborn says.
Noah says he wants apologies from the district and the congressman, and to be reinstated to his position on the student council as well as the suspension to be removed from his record.
"Respectfully no. I'm not going to apologize," Congressman Amodei says. "I'm not willing to apologize because he exercised his First Amendment rights how he saw fit and my guy decided to do the same thing."
The Washoe County School District put out a statement saying, "No students were suspended for walk out events on March 14. However, the district cannot discuss specific disciplines of individual students."
The ACLU says they are expecting a response from the school district on March 26 and will make a decision on how to proceed based on that response.