Mar 15, 2019

Celina School Suspends student after "Fallen Soldiers Monument"

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The Following is from Attorney Travis Faber:

3/15/19 – On behalf of the student’s family, Attorney Travis Faber today expressed deep concern with the conduct and actions of the Celina City School District related to the suspension of Tyler Carlin (13).
Tyler, a Celina Junior High student, received a 3 day suspension for what he believed was a teacher-approved art project that represented a “Fallen Soldier Battlefield Cross”. The Battlefield Cross art project was part of an ongoing project Tyler was doing for his Junior High history class that involved raising awareness for the sacrifices our brave men and women in uniform have given to our country.
The Battlefield Cross traditionally employs a fallen soldier’s rifle, boots, and helmet. With his teacher being informed of his intent to recreate the Battlefield Cross weeks in advance, Tyler recreated the monument using a plastic helmet, a toy NERF “Dart Blaster,” and a pair of children’s boots which were secured to the Nerf dart toy with zip ties. Tyler had previously received permission for this project and had discussed specific aspects of the project with his teacher days before his suspension.
When Tyler delivered the assignment on March 5th, he was told to report to the office and the school district undertook disciplinary action, claiming that the NERF dart toy was a firearm prohibited from school. The district made several threats of severe punishment to Tyler’s family and gave Tyler in-school suspension for 3 days. Nonetheless, the school determined that Tyler was not a threat and allowed him to return to class for the remainder of the day.
Faber, representing the family as they seek to resolve this matter with the school, said that this is a terrible example of inconsistent discipline and decision making from the school.
“Tyler Carlin is an upstanding student interested in studying and honoring our fallen heroes,” Faber said. “He’s never shown any bad intent and he clearly shouldn’t have faced the overly aggressive response from the school over an art project protected by his 1st Amendment Rights.”
Unfortunately, even as Tyler deals with this wrongful punishment, the School has worked to direct attention away from their misdeeds and flawed decision making.
“Tyler and his family were told, at first, that he was being suspended for bringing a firearm to school,” Faber said. “Now, and only after the school district was confronted by the inconsistent and illogical bases for Tyler’s suspension, did the school change their stated rationale for his suspension to “insubordination,” reporting the same to the local press in potential violation of Tyler’s privacy rights. This is an outlandish claim to make about a student seeking to hand in an art project that supports the troops, and it could potentially be proof of further wrongdoing and even illegal acts.”
Faber continued by stating that the family will consider all their options to protect Tyler’s academic and disciplinary record. He said the family is also committed to ensuring that the school district doesn’t use this situation in the future as grounds to impede upon other students’ rights.
“We are greatly concerned about the message the actions of the Celina School District will send to our community’s youth. Tyler was trying to do his part to preserve the memory of fallen soldiers and to support wounded warriors. He should be thanked for his hard work and dedication to our veterans and to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” Faber said.

The following is a statement released by Celina Schools:

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act prohibits the Celina City School District Board of Education from disclosing protected personally identifiable information regarding Celina City School District students. Accordingly, the Board may not provide information regarding specific

student discipline matters.


“Student conduct is governed by the rules and provisions of the Student Code of Conduct, and the Board requires all students to comply with these school rules,” said Dr. Kenneth Schmiesing, the Superintendent of the Celina City School District. “Respect for the rights of others,

consideration of their privileges, and cooperative citizenship is expected of all members of the school community. 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.”


“The Board proudly supports service members and their families. This school year, the Board held a Military Appreciation Night where it recognized students who are choosing to enter the military following high school, as well as veterans and current military members.” Dr. Schmiesing continued, “the Board maintains a positive relationship with the local VFW and American Legion, has POW/MIA seats located in prominent locations in the football stadium and field house, and hosts Veterans Day celebrations with military members throughout the

District.” Finally, Dr. Schmiesing stated that, “the Board looks forward to continuing its tradition of partnering with local veterans’ service organizations to support military members and their families.”


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