A Huntsville high school student has been expelled because of a picture of himself holding an AR-15 rifle which he posted to his social media account.
As a result, his family has filed a lawsuit against the school district and the principal.
After learning of the photo, the school was quick to act, expelling the student within 36 hours. Since then, the Huntsville School District and the principal have been on the defense, the family claiming the district took away his first amendment rights and caused him to suffer from mental anguish, fear and humiliation.
“As a nation, we are on a heightened alert when it comes to guns,” said Chad Atwell with The Atwell Law Firm.
We consulted with Fayetteville attorney, Chad Atwell. He says the decision to expel the student sets an unattainable precedent.
“So under that standard that Huntsville is using, every minor that goes deer hunting with their dad and posts that photo on Facebook with a gun needs to be expelled also,” Atwell said.
The district has motioned to dismiss the lawsuit, saying it was acting reasonably after being “contacted by scared parents, students and teachers, all of whom perceived this photograph to be threatening.”
We reached out to the school district on multiple occasions. After several attempts, Clinton Jones, the HSD superintendent, provided me with this statement: “It is the policy of Huntsville School District not to comment on matters involving student discipline.”
The attorney representing the family, William Whitfield Hyman, provided this statement: “This case involves important issues about constitutional freedoms and the future of a good student with a bright future who has never meant any harm and never threatened anyone. We look forward to the opportunity to having this case heard and decided.”
According to the lawsuit, the Huntsville Police Department conducted a full investigation and told the principal it found no criminal wrong-doing and the student should not be considered a threat.