When an Ohio student arrived at middle school with his history project, the office immediately called him in. As soon as the principal took one look at the veterans “memorial” he created, the boy was suspended from school for three days.
When eighth grader Tyler Carlin was tasked with creating a physical representation for his history class at Celina Middle School, he decided to honor our nation’s fallen soldiers. However, after carefully constructing his monument to one of the most valuable aspects of U.S. history, his creation didn’t quite receive the response he was seeking.
After using a Nerf gun, boots, and a helmet to create a replica of the “battle cross” monument, 13-year-old Carlin was called into the principal’s office the second he walked into the school. Despite receiving his history teacher’s pre-approval, Carlin was given a 3-day in-school suspension for “bringing a look-alike weapon to school and creating a disturbance,” according to The Todd Starnes Show.
When he arrived at school, Carlin was stopped by a school official and told to leave his replica, which included a powerpoint presentation, in the administration office. He was then told that he can give his presentation without the memorial. His parents were then called and informed that their son had been suspended for 3 days for bringing the monument to school.
“This means so much to me because that was the last chance that… the military, their friends got to say goodby to them and then they had to go back out and fight,” Carlin said in an interview with FOX News. “Also, my dad’s friend is like a grandpa to me. And he, like, showed me his war stories from Vietnam… he just showed me all about that.”
Incredibly, word spread of Carlin’s suspension, prompting school-wide outrage. Soon, students were rallying together in protest of their classmate’s punishment.
“The community is standing behind me on this,” Carlin said. “They held a protest.”
Expectedly, Carlin’s parents were outraged over the school’s response. After complaining to the principal about the punishment, the school changed the boy’s charge from bringing a fake weapon and disturbing class to “insubordination.” Attorney Travis Farber confirmed that Carlin and his parents will fight the charge on his record, insisting that the school apologize for their overreaction.
“They [his parents] weren’t particularly happy about it,” Faber said. “They thought what their son was doing was something that frankly would honor fallen soldiers and honor the memories of some of the people that they knew and that Tyler had grown up with.”
Carlin’s parents were willing to let the situation go if the school would revoke the suspension, wipe his record clean, and apologize to their son. However, Farber revealed that after meeting with the school superintendent for 22 minutes, the school refused to change their decision, forcing them to take further action.
“The last thing we’ve asked for is that the school helped facilitate putting up a fallen soldiers monument a battle cross somewhere on school grounds so that so that children can see this,” Faber said.
Unexpectedly, news of Carlin’s battle spread across the country, garnering negative press for the school. For two days, students gathered outside the school to show their support for Carlin and his project.
Still, the school district insists that the family and their attorney aren’t accurately representing what happened. Unfortunately, officials say that they cannot comment on the incident since it involves a student. However, Superintendent Dr. Ken Schmiesing did release a brief statement to FOX 45.
“The Board of Education has zero tolerance of threatening, disruptive, insubordinate or inappropriate behavior by its students, and enforces the student code of conduct fairly and even-handedly.”
Carlin’s family is now requesting that the suspension and charge are removed from his record and that a Fallen Soldiers Monument is erected somewhere on school property. If the school agrees, the family has promised to drop the suit.
The incident has sparked a major debate. While some agree that the school is right to be cautious of students bringing in weapons, most argue that officials should have let it go once they determined that it was a class project that had been pre-approved by the teacher.