Former Hillsboro student files lawsuit over suspension

Friday, September 18, 2009 at 12:59am

A former Hillsboro High School student filed a suit against Metro, the school district and his alma mater in Chancery Court earlier this month, claiming the 10-day suspension he received last year was too severe and came without a fair process.

Christian Heyne, who was a senior at the time of the September 2008 incident, served a 10-day suspension last year following an accident in which he drove over a classmate’s foot. According to the lawsuit, Heyne’s classmate, who is underage, suffered no injury because of the incident.

But administrators at Hillsboro eventually levied a 10-day suspension against Heyne for three separate offenses: reckless endangerment, using an object in an “assaultive” manner and cruelty to a student.

Heyne twice appealed his suspension through the proper channels and ultimately had his punishment reduced to a single reckless endangerment charge, which carries with it a two-day suspension.

In his suit, Heyne alleges that the process to decide his punishment and appeal the suspension was unfair and that his due process was denied by the system. A request for an appeal with the Board of Education was denied last November.

Racial undertones

The suit carries with it a claim of racism too. Heyne, who is white, was accused of driving over an African-American student's foot. Although Heyne claims he was threatened after the incident, no disciplinary action was taken against his classmate.

According to the lawsuit, Hillsboro principal Rod Manuel instructed staff to be more lenient in enforcing the school’s Code of Conduct against African-American students, because there were “too many African-American students serving in-school suspension.”

Heyne, who played football at Hillsboro, claims the suspension cost him a potential collegiate athletics scholarship, because he was forced to miss two games as a result.

The suit seeks injunctive relief and unspecified monetary damages for Heyne and his parents.

An attorney with the Metro Department of Law said they had no comment regarding the ongoing lawsuit, although in a response filed this week denied most of the former student’s claims.

16 Comments on this post:

By: Funditto on 9/18/09 at 6:30

He did this, he should face the consequences. End of story.

By: stjohnen on 9/18/09 at 6:39

If this guy who got suspended could not get what he was supposed to do such a scholarship and etc., they should apologize for what they did to him and they should excuse and reverse his suspense to what he could get and let him move on for his future.

By: commonsense1 on 9/18/09 at 7:02

This kid got screwed by a racist principal. Shameful!

By: nothingbutagthng on 9/18/09 at 7:21

where is the racism? Too many people black/white or what ever color are too quick to yell out racism. What part of this story says racism?

By: sidneyames on 9/18/09 at 7:28

Hey nothingbut, can't you read? The article said "According to the lawsuit, Hillsboro principal Rod Manuel instructed staff to be more lenient in enforcing the school’s Code of Conduct against African-American students, because there were “too many African-American students serving in-school suspension.” So it would appear that special consideration was given to black students and that all others including white students were more severely punished. That's racism as far as I can see.

By: artsmart on 9/18/09 at 7:30

The story does give enough info to even begin to know if the punishment was correct. Did he run over his foot by accident or was he not paying atention and goofing off. The part that concerns me is the comment that Principal made about not punishing the african american kids. What color is the Principle? If that is not racism I'm not sure what is. Someone better fix this school system or there will not be enough money to run the schools after all the lawsuits. You will also continue to lose the kids that want an education and never meet NCLB.

By: scorpioc on 9/18/09 at 7:53

@sidneyames, You are right. The article said "According to the lawsuit..." So it would appear that is the opinion of the filer of the lawsuit, not necessarily fact. Until an investigation is complete we will not know if that is actually what the principle said. It amazes me how quickly people will believe anything in print.

By: frank brown on 9/18/09 at 8:22

What was this boy doing in a public school? He acts as though he should have been punished in a manner that would be more in line with how a private school would have handled this matter. Say extra homework and a sincere apology to the other student.

By: Dore4Life on 9/18/09 at 9:41

The situation was a messy and controversial one from the Heyne's parents want to get their son his redemption. Simple as that. The interesting part was how swiftly the punishment was handled before the details were sorted out. That is where I believe the Heynes believe their son wasn't treated fairly.

By: sickofstupidity on 9/18/09 at 11:42

The student whose foot was run over was a thug, standing with a group of thugs, causing trouble. The principal is a jerk and is hated by techers, parents, students coaches, and the community. He needs to be reassigned. He has almost single-handedly ruined Hillsboro High School.

By: commonsense1 on 9/18/09 at 2:41

scorpioc, you are correct. I don't believe what I read in print, especially from all of the liberal press. I am sick of this "politically correct" BS. Call it what it is!
I know the facts from other sources.

By: frank brown on 9/19/09 at 1:11

After some conversation with three or four Hillsboro parents (who are white) I now believe that the post by SICKOFSTUPIDITY is an accurate assesment of the situation at Hillsboro High School.

By: willtw on 9/22/09 at 6:35

it is sad that such matters can occur at OUR school! Yes, over the years there have been minor skirmishes and flare-ups but nothing that could not be handled inside the school. Hillsboro High School has graduated literally hundreds of students who through life, are successful citizens across the globe! ref The student whose foot was run over was a thug, standing with a group of thugs, WHY? HHS ranks among the very top of US secondary schools and one that Nashville stands proud of. Straighten it up or out you go!!!!!!!!!!!!! Students, teachers, administration....

By: meex on 4/21/10 at 11:48

First, I know Christian personally, Second, I would highly doubt it if you told me he intentionally ran over someone's foot. Finally how is accidentally running over someone's foot racist. Where is race involved anywhere? It seems as if two people of different races have any negativity between each other, one is racist. That is just stupid.

By: chipperone on 5/11/10 at 3:53

I also know Christian and Billy personally. They are also THUGS. Ask Billy how he robs younger and weaker students at gunpoint. Ask Christian how he has a never ending supply of stereo equipment to sell (that would be because he steals it!). This is the perfect example of a good family, parents did everything right--and the kids have the wool pulled completely over their parents eyes. A shame, they should have turned out better than this...

By: 4gold on 2/23/11 at 8:30

Is this the kid that threatened other students? What about that is acceptable? Same rules for everyone. I dont buy th poor little guy that had a bad childhood thing. They were lead to water and didnt drink. I have lowered the bar for certain groups for he last time. I am done.

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