Rep. Amodei's office reports student call to WCSD, McQueen junior suspended for two days
A McQueen High School junior was suspended for two days after a staffer for Congressman Mark Amodei's (R) office reported that the student used vulgar language in a phone call to his office about gun control.
17-year-old Noah Christiansen called Amodei's office during the national school walkout protests held Wednesday. During the phone call, Christiansen asked lawmakers to "get off their *expletive* asses," according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
According to documents provided by the ACLU, McQueen administrators suspended Christiansen for two days, citing "offensive, disrespectful and vulgar comments."
School officials were made aware of the phone call by a member of Amodei's office, ACLU officials said.
"Being yelled at for calling my representative and trying to create change in the world is one of the worst feelings I've ever experienced. "
"All I want is for this suspension to be overturned and to take my place as class secretary, so I can move on to college with my record restored. I've never even had a detention before let alone a suspension," Christiansen wrote in a written statement provided by the ACLU.
In a phone interview Tuesday afternoon, Amodei said he stands by his staffer's choice, and says he won't apologize to Christiansen for his staffer exercising his own First Amendment rights.
"I'm totally responsible for what my staff did make no mistake about that. There is no way I'm going to substitute my judgement for an on-site administrator or a school district person when I don't know the whole picture," Amodei said.
WCSD spokeswoman Victoria Campbell said a district official would not be available for an on-camera interview to respond, but provided the following statement.
“The Washoe County School District honors, respects and adheres to the First Amendment of our U.S. Constitution. It is within this context that thousands of our students respectfully and appropriately used their First Amendment rights by participating in walk out actions on several of our campuses on March 14th as well as participated in dozens of other school-sanctioned activities related to this national movement.
“No students were suspended for participation in walk out events on March 14. However, the District cannot discuss specific discipline of individual students due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
“The District expects students to act appropriately and with decorum. Some students were disciplined for breaking student conduct codes or participating in other inappropriate behavior.”
In an interview Tuesday, Christiansen said that he has three requests of McQueen High School administrators:
- An apology from administrators and an acknowledgement that his rights were violated
- A revocation of his suspension
- A reinstatement as class secretary
He has given administrators until March 26th to meet these requests.
If they do not follow through, Christiansen said that he will discuss his next options with the ALCU.