Entries in Suspension (4)


Maryland First-Grader Suspended for Making Gun Gesture with Hand

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- A 6-year-old boy who was suspended from his elementary school for making a gun gesture with his hand and saying "pow" is fighting his suspension through a lawyer.

The Montgomery County School District suspended first-grader Rodney Lynch for pointing his finger at a classmate, which they said constituted a threat of gun violence, according to Robin Ficker, the attorney defending Lynch.

"His record says suspended for 'threatening to shoot a student' and that's a lie," Ficker told ABC News Thursday. "He wasn't threatening a student, he's never been around a gun, he doesn't know what a gun is, he doesn't know what killing anyone is, he had no intent to harm anyone."

Lynch, who was suspended for one school day, told ABC News affiliate WJLA that he was playing when he made the gesture, and that his friend said "pow."

Officials of the school and the school district did not immediately return calls and emails from ABC News.

In a letter to Lynch's parents, the vice principal of Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School said their son had been sent to the principal's office three times on Dec. 20 for pretending his fingers were scissors and then a gun. After the third incident, he was suspended, according to the letter, obtained by WJLA.

"Yet, after meeting with the counselor and assistant principal," the letter says, "Rodney chose to point his finger at a female classmate and say 'Pow.'"

Ficker filed an appeal with the principal of Nix Elementary School seeking to have the suspension scrubbed from Lynch's record.

"We filed an appeal with the principal. They're branding him, throwing him under the bus," Ficker said. "If they don't expunge that record then we're going to court. We'll go all the way. That should not be on this meek little child's record. There was no intent to shoot anyone. He was playing. "

Ficker said that the school district had no rules or punishments outlined for students who make hand gestures at other students.

"There are Montgomery County school district regulations that say if you bring a gun or a knife onto campus, you're suspended. There is no regulation that says if you point your finger or make a motion with your fist that says what gestures result in suspension," he said.

Lynch's parents were outraged that their son would have a suspension on his record for the incident.

"I don't think the punishment fits the crime," mother Jeannie Lynch told WJLA.

"They're saying he threatened to shoot a student," said Rodney Lynch Sr. "He was playing."

Lynch was reinstated to the school on Tuesday, following the winter break. Ficker said he is awaiting a response from the school on his request to expunge Lynch's record. If the request is denied, he will seek to take it to a higher authority, he said.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Teacher Sues for Right to Say 'N-----' in Class

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A white Chicago school teacher who was suspended for leading a class discussion about the "N-word," race relations and racism has sued the school district for what he sees as unjust punishment.

Lincoln Brown, 48, a sixth-grade writing and social studies teacher at Murray Language Academy, said he turned a bad classroom situation -- in which one student wrote a rap calling another student a n***** -- into "a teachable moment."

"I looked at it and it had some words in it that were very offensive to me and that's when we came into this discussion of the N-word," Brown said of the October incident. "And I used the curriculum from the Southern Poverty Law Center, and followed their advice on how to tackle these kinds of problems, not to avoid them. The whole lesson basically was about racial profiling, racism and also being very careful about how you use words in public."

His principal, Greg Mason, who is black, heard the discussion and came into the room to listen further, Brown said. Mason stayed for 10 minutes, and then left and came back 10 minutes later, as the discussion had turned to racial stereotypes in movies.

"I brought up Spike Lee's comments about rap music and racial profiling in movies and, ironically, I thought I was being fully supported [by Mason]," Brown said.

The students were engaged in the discussion, and later told Brown how much they enjoyed it, he said. And he never heard a word about it from the principal.

Two weeks later, however, Mason called Brown into his office and accused him of misconduct, specifically abuse of language in front of students and other charges, Brown said. Later, he was told he was receiving a five-day suspension.

Brown, shocked by the allegations and punishment, appealed to the Chicago Public Schools Board of Education, which denied his appeal.

"It's something I can't accept and can't have on my record and more importantly it's not who I am," said Brown, who grew up in the neighborhood, attended schools where he was in the white minority and grew up to teach in predominantly African-American schools for more than 25 years.

Brown said he has taught many lessons, albeit more structured ones, on the use of the "N-Word" and other contentious race issues over the years, including teaching the book "Huckleberry Finn."

He said he always used the advice given by the Southern Poverty Law Center to help guide the discussions about the word, and drew on those guidelines when the discussion arose in October.

"I have no regret over the way I handled it, but not everybody agrees. It's a hot-button issue," he said, noting that he wished Mason had told him during or immediately after the lesson that he was unhappy with the discussion.

Brown's attorney, William Spielberger, said his client's First and Fifth Amendment rights were breached, as his rights to free speech and due process were not respected by the school district.

He noted that Brown's family was deeply involved in civil rights causes, and his parents named him Lincoln in honor of the president, Abraham Lincoln.

"These type of accusations can ruin a person's career," Spielberger said.

Neither Mason nor the school district returned calls for comment about the lawsuit.

The suit was filed Thursday and Brown began serving his first day of suspension Friday, he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Roland Martin Suspended by CNN Over ‘Offensive’ Tweets

Joe Kohen/WireImage/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- CNN has smacked the “ish” out of Roland Martin.

The commentator has been suspended indefinitely for tweets he sent during Sunday’s Super Bowl that were criticized as being anti-gay, according to a statement released Wednesday. One tweet said, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!”

“Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offensive,” CNN’s statement reportedly said. “Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated. We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being.”

“CNN today took a strong stand against anti-LGBT violence and language that demeans any community,” said Rich Ferraro, a spokesperson for the gay rights organization GLAAD. “Yesterday, Martin also spoke out against anti-LGBT violence. We look forward to hearing from CNN and Roland Martin to discuss how we can work together as allies and achieve our common goal of reducing anti-LGBT violence as well as the language that contributes to it.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tenn. Teacher Suspended; Allegedly Wrote 'Stupid' on Student's Face

A teacher from Allons Elementary has been suspended after allegedly writing "stupid" on a student's forehead in permanent marker. (ABC News)(LIVINGSTON, Tenn.) -- A Tennessee teacher suspended earlier this month for allegedly writing the word "stupid" on a student's forehead is now being investigated for other instances of inappropriate behavior, the county school director said Friday.

"We're trying to get anyone who's witnessed other things," said Matt Eldridge, director of Overton County Schools, adding that the school district is talking with teachers and other faculty members. "At that point we're going to turn it in to our attorneys. They'll come back with what's warranted with [regard to] charges, and what's not."

He refused to describe the nature of the most recent allegations but said they involved "unprofessional conduct."

Eldridge would not identify the teacher other than to say that this was his first teaching job out of college and that the teacher had been an instructor at Allons Elementary School in Livingston, Tenn., since August.

Local news outlets have reported the teacher's name is Alex Boles. He could not be reached by phone, and it is unclear whether he has retained lawyer.

During the initial incident, which allegedly occurred Dec. 6, the teacher admitted to writing the word "stupid" on an eighth-grader's forehead after Eldridge confronted him Dec. 8. Boles had written the word backwards, Eldridge said, so that it would be reflected back to the student when the boy looked into a mirror.

Although the word had been written in permanent marker, Eldridge said "the child has hair over his forehead and that's probably why [his parents] didn't see it."

The teacher told Eldridge he was trying to play a joke.

"It was during class and, of course, that's not the appropriate way to joke with any of them," Eldridge said.

He found out about the incident from an employee at another school within the rural district, which serves 3,500 students.

"I did a little investigation," he said. "And someone told me they heard that was true so that next morning I contacted the principal [at the elementary school] and he investigated and found out it was true."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio