Teen’s Future in Jeopardy Over ‘Illegal Alien’ Comment in Class

Source: Google Maps / Facebook

While discussing word meanings in an English class assignment, a 16-year-old student’s innocent question containing the term “illegal alien” sparked outrage. Christian McGhee, a high school athlete at Central Davidson hoping for a sports scholarship, now faces academic and athletic consequences over perceived racism for simply asking for clarification on an assignment.

Though no ill intent was present, the politically charged incident has now jeopardized Christian’s reputation and college prospects.

Student Suspended for Using “Illegal Alien” in Class

Christian’s question about the meaning and usage of the term “illegal alien” during an English class discussion led to a three-day suspension that may affect his college scholarship prospects.

Source: McGhee family

According to Christian and his mother, Leah, the teacher had given an assignment using the word “alien”, and Christian asked for clarification, saying: “Like space aliens or illegal aliens without green cards?”

A Harmless Question

Christian maintains that he “didn’t make a statement directed towards anyone” but simply asked a question to understand the meaning and context.

Source: Center for Immigration

As a student focusing on academics and athletics, Christian feels devastated that a simple query during class could be misconstrued as racism and lead to disciplinary action. The McGhee family argues that “illegal alien” is a factual term used in federal law and media.

The Incident That Led to Suspension

The incident began during an English class discussion about words’ meaning and proper use. Christian McGhee, an honors student and track athlete at the school, asked his teacher to clarify the word “alien” and whether it referred to extraterrestrials or undocumented immigrants.

Source: PBS Learning Media

Rather than defusing the situation, the teacher reported Christian’s question to the assistant principal, who determined that it was “offensive and disrespectful” to Hispanic students.

Christian was bewildered by the suspension.

Christian McGhee couldn’t believe he received a three-day suspension for asking a question in English class. He says he was trying to clarify the meaning of the word “alien” in an assignment.

Source: study

Christian says, “I didn’t make a statement directed towards anyone — I asked a question.” He argues he was talking about illegal immigration in general, not targeting any particular ethnic group. “The term ‘illegal alien’ is an actual term that I hear on the news and can find in the dictionary,” he explains.

The Suspension Could Jeopardize His Future

As an avid athlete hoping for a college sports scholarship, the suspension could threaten Christian’s plans. His mother, Leah, says, “He is devastated and concerned that the racism label on his school record will harm his future goal of receiving a track scholarship.”

Source: McGhee family

She worries that the time away from school will cause him to fall behind in his classes. The family is outraged that the school refused to remove the suspension from Christian’s record.

The Family Believes It Was An Overreaction

Christian’s family feels the school overreacted and mishandled the situation. Leah argues the question could have been an opportunity for a thoughtful discussion about language and inclusion.

Source: Facebook

She says, “‘Illegal alien’ is a term used as federal code, and it is a term that is heard frequently on many news broadcasts.” The family believes if the teacher had addressed Christian’s question properly in the classroom, it could have been turned into a teaching moment rather than resulting in punishment.

The Local Community Has Mixed Reactions

Some members of the local community view Christian’s suspension as an overreaction, while others feel the school handled the situation appropriately. Those who support Christian argue that his question seemed innocent and curious, meant to clarify vocabulary terms rather than target any group.

Source: Central Davidson High School

However, others point out that the term “illegal alien” can be considered derogatory and dehumanizing by some. They believe the school was right to reprimand Christian to show that this type of language won’t be tolerated.

A Teachable Moment Missed

Leah believes the teacher and administration missed an opportunity to have a thoughtful discussion about appropriate language and word choice. Rather than immediately suspending Christian, they could have explained why some terms can be hurtful or have negative connotations, even if not intended that way.

Source: Facebook

Christian says he was unaware that ‘illegal alien’ is considered dehumanizing by some and meant no disrespect. With education and open dialogue, he would have understood and avoided that phrase in the future.

School Refuses to Remove Suspension From Record

The school’s decision not to remove the suspension from Christian’s record has caused additional distress for the McGhee family.

Source: Wikihow

They feel that Christian’s future opportunities may be jeopardized by having a “racism” label on his permanent school record, especially given his goal of earning an athletic college scholarship.

Fight to Clear His Name

To prevent damage to Christian’s future, the McGhees have taken action by hiring an attorney to dispute the school’s decision. Leah appeared on a local radio show to share Christian’s story and garner public support.

Source: Facebook

She explained that “‘illegal alien’ is a term used as federal code, and it is a term that is heard frequently on many news broadcasts.” The McGhees told the assistant principal that Christian was asking for clarification on the meaning of a term used in class, not making a racist statement.

Republican Senator Weighs in on Controversy

The controversial suspension of a North Carolina high school student for using the term “illegal alien” has caught the attention of Republican state Senator Steve Jarvis.

Source: North Carolina General Assembly

According to reports, Jarvis has contacted the school district superintendent about 16-year-old Christian McGhee’s three-day suspension from Central Davidson High School. However, Senator Jarvis has not taken an official stance on the appropriate response in this situation.

Senator Jarvis Doesn’t Consider Christian’s Statement Offensive

“I do not see that that would be an offensive statement, just in getting clarification,” Jarvis told the Carolina Journal. “But there again, I don’t know. I don’t know the situation of this particular incident.”

Source: Migration Policy Institute

The controversial incident has highlighted the complexities of discussing immigration in an academic setting. While some see the term “illegal alien” as dehumanizing hate speech, others view it as an accurate legal classification.

Responses From Conservative Voices Defending the Student

There has been an outpouring of support for Christian from conservative commentators and social media personalities who argue his punishment was unjust and an overreach of political correctness.

Source: X/libsoftiktok

Billionaire Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, weighed in on Twitter, calling the suspension “absurd.” Musk is known for criticizing policies and decisions he views as overly politically correct or restrictive of free speech.

Conservatives Argue Term “Illegal Alien” is Accurate

Conservative voices have argued that Christian should not face consequences for using the term “illegal alien,” which they say is the correct legal term.

Source: X

The account Libs of TikTok tweeted that Christian’s record and future opportunities could be “damaged” due to “political correctness.” Ian Miles Cheong, a conservative personality, asked, “How does one get suspended for using the term illegal alien?”

School District Declines to Comment on Specific Student

While the Davidson County Schools district declined to comment on Christian’s specific situation, citing student privacy laws, their policy does allow for discipline over speech that causes “substantial disruption.”

Source: Google Maps

However, conservatives argue Christian’s single use of the term “illegal alien” should not qualify as disruptive speech warranting suspension.

Supporters Hope to Raise Awareness and Protect Student’s Future

Supporters hope to raise awareness of Christian’s situation, put public pressure on school officials, and ensure his school record and future opportunities, such as college scholarships, are not negatively impacted.

Source: X

The goal is to push back against what conservatives see as an overreach of political correctness that threatens freedom of expression.

School District’s Stance and Code of Conduct Policies

Despite the controversy surrounding Christian’s tweet, school district officials have remained tight-lipped about the specific incident, citing federal privacy laws protecting students.

Source: Facebook/Central Davidson Highschool

According to a Central Davidson High School staffer, “Please know that Davidson County Schools administrators take all discipline incidents seriously and investigate each one thoroughly. Any violation of the code of conduct is handled appropriately by administrators.”

A Need For Open and Thoughtful Conversations

Educational institutions often struggle to balance students’ right to free speech against maintaining an orderly learning environment. This case underscores the need for open and thoughtful classroom discussions on complex topics.

Source: The University of California

While hurt feelings should be acknowledged, labeling reasonable questions as offensive or racist sets a dangerous precedent. Christian’s future now hangs in the balance over a term defined in dictionaries. Rather than stifle speech, schools should teach students to think critically about language and its impacts.

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Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

Sally, a dynamic and viral writer, has taken the literary world by storm with her exceptional storytelling prowess. With an uncanny ability to tap into the collective consciousness of her readers, she crafts narratives that resonate deeply and linger long after the last word is read.

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