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.
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.