Teen Seeks Preliminary Injunction Against NC School District Over ‘Illegal Aliens’ Comment

A North Carolina teenager and his parents are seeking a preliminary injunction to clear his academic record after he was suspended for saying “illegal aliens” in a classroom setting. The lawsuit, filed on May 7, aims to remove the mark from his record and reverse the suspension.

Christian McGhee, a 16-year-old student at Central Davidson High School, and his parents, Leah and Chad McGhee, have sued the Davidson County School District Board of Education. The newest filing introduces excerpts of a recording involving a school administrator who equated the phrase “illegal alien” to “the n-word.” Assistant Principal Eric Anderson suggested that McGhee should have said “those people that need a green card” and noted the teacher’s struggle due to “being so young and female.”

Lawyers for McGhee presented additional evidence, including texts from Davidson County School Board members allegedly sent to community members to malign Christian and his family. “The Davidson County School Board has not only invented a racial incident out of thin air but then gone on to violate a student’s rights to free speech and due process to punish him for that invented incident,” said Buck Dougherty, senior counsel at the Liberty Justice Center. “What we have here is an administration that refuses to admit its wrongdoing, and a kid caught in the crossfire.”

The incident occurred on April 9 when Christian raised his hand in class to ask if the teacher’s reference to “aliens” meant “space aliens or illegal aliens who need green cards?” Dean McGee, an educational freedom attorney at the Liberty Justice Center, recounted that a Hispanic classmate jokingly threatened to “kick” Christian. The class continued as usual, and the two teens remained friends with no legitimate threat of a fight.

After class, the teacher reported the interaction to administrators, not for the words used but due to the perceived threat. Assistant Principal Anderson talked to the teens, and the Hispanic student confirmed he was joking and was not offended. Despite this, Anderson suspended Christian for less than a day and remarked about his Spanish grade being low despite his heritage.

The McGhees are now seeking judicial intervention to remove the suspension from Christian’s record, arguing that the school’s actions were unjustified and violated his rights. “We are proud to stand with Christian and his family and urge the court to order the removal of this wrongful suspension from Christian’s record,” said Dougherty.