The Carolina Journal

Lawsuit Filed Against NC School Board for ‘Illegal Alien’ Suspension Controversy

May 7, 2024

(The Carolina Journal)—Following national outrage and attention from high-profile voices like Elon Musk, a lawsuit has been filed against the Davidson County Board of Education for violating a student’s rights to free speech, education, and due process.

Sophomore Christian McGhee was suspended for using the word ‘illegal alien’ in class last month during an English assignment. In asking a clarifying question regarding a distinction between ‘space aliens’ or ‘illegal aliens,’ the school accused him of racism and suspended him for three days with no way of clearing his record.

The Liberty Justice Center sued the board on Tuesday morning on behalf of the family and said it had no legal justification for suspending Christian because his comment was protected speech under the First Amendment. The lawsuit also seeks to remove the suspension from Christian’s academic record.

“School officials have effectively fabricated a racial incident out of thin air and branded our client as a racist without even giving him an opportunity to appeal,” said Dean McGee, Educational Freedom Attorney at the Liberty Justice Center. “Fortunately, young people do not shed their First Amendment rights at school, and we look forward to vindicating Christian’s rights here,”

On Monday night, a large crowd of citizens expressed their outrage at the board’s monthly meeting, which was packed with residents who called on the board to issue an apology and remove the infraction from Christian’s record. Leah and her husband attended the meeting and addressed the board during the public testimony period.

SEE ALSO: Student suspended for using term ‘illegal alien’ in English class

“Board, there is nothing inappropriate about saying aliens need green cards, and there certainly isn’t a case for racism due to the fact that alien is not a race,” Leah said to the Board. “I cannot appeal this suspension since it is less than 10 days. Racism is only a three-day suspension with no appeal when it should be a top-tier punishment.”

Emails Leah sent to Board Chairman Allen Beck and Board Member Nick Jarvis remain unanswered, but members are reportedly attempting to smear the boy’s mother for her past record. About 14 years ago, Leah was arrested for possession of pain medication. While she was sentenced to six years, she was released early and successfully reintegrated into society. Still, two board members sent messages to county leaders and residents with Leah’s personal arrest record and encouraged them to post it on social media. The information was then circulated around the school her son attends.

“Two members of this board, too busy to hear a mother’s cry, yet not too busy to assault her character and one more attempt to hurt her child,” Leah stated, directly naming Chairman Beck and Ashley Carroll. “Through your reckless attempt to slander my name, you have successfully re-traumatized my family. Your weak attempt to assault my character has failed, but your malicious character has been highlighted. It is my opinion that two members on this board are highly corrupt. I request corrective action be taken to remove you both in order to protect all children and families of this county.”

In addition to Leah’s call for the removal of ‘corrupt’ board members, additional speakers called out board corruption and abuse of power. Public testimony came from parents, grandparents, pastors, and past political candidates who said they won’t put up with this treatment, warning of the November election. While speakers expressed their support for the McGhee family, they also consistently called out Chairman Alan Beck, who sat listening to speakers with a grin. They cited the First Amendment and asked the board for a public apology and to remove the offense from his record.

“If you squash a student’s question, you squash education. I’m appalled—and you still got the smirk on your face. I so hope you get voted out,” said Don Hash, who referred to herself as a great-grandmother, taxpayer, and citizen. “We’ve got to do better. And by the way, a class action lawsuit can come from Davidson County citizens, FYI. We’re tired, and we want something better in this county, and I expect it.”

One woman was there to speak on the dangers of the Biden administration’s new interpretation of Title IX, but also addressed the audience’s main focus of the public speaking section.

“There’s no malicious intent,” said Allen Mashburn, a contributor to The Blaze in attendance. “That’s what’s lacking here. Thus, there’s no rule broken. You need to fix this. Your administration needs to fix this. This is not a board issue per se; you need to issue a public apology, but this is your administration’s problem. Man up, or take away your man card.”

Christian’s return to school after the suspension was met with bullying and threats, driving his parents to unenroll him. He is now completing the semester through a homeschooling program.

The McGhee family was invited to meet President Trump at a rally in Wilmington, which was postponed due to weather. Leah told the Carolina Journal that the former president even wrote a letter of recommendation for Christian as he seeks to secure an athletic scholarship in the years ahead.

Letter from former President Donald Trump to Christian McGhee.