Noah Christiansen has been given a life sentence for making a phone call.
The McQueen High student committed a treasonous crime during last month’s national school walkout for gun control: He called his congresscritter.
Arturo Garzon <email@example.com> answered the phone at Republican Mark Amodei’s south Reno office. Mr. Christiansen said something along the line of imploring Arturo to tell his boss to “get off his… [insert obscene seven-letter colloquialism for common occurrence of sexual pleasure and/or occasional procreation] .. ass” and do something about gun violence.
Mr. Garzon called the gestapo at McQueen and had Noah busted for the sin of making a phone call while on school grounds. (That’s not a joke.)
Noah got a three-day suspension and was thus banned from an upcoming debate tournament. The American Civil Liberties Union threatened. Washoe County School Superintendent Traci Davis backed down.
The ACLU couldn’t wait to crow: “ACLU of Nevada Legal Director Amy Rose and our client, Noah C., issued the following statements celebrating the school district’s decision to overturn our client’s unconstitutional school suspension:
“ ‘This is a major win for the first amendment. Noah will move forward with a clean disciplinary record. Students, like everyone else, have a right to criticize government officials. Now students will know they have a right to speak passionately about their political beliefs, free from retaliation,’ said Rose.
“ ‘I am so happy with this outcome. This has been a very stressful week, but I am glad I stood up for my rights and I hope other students will do the same,’ said Noah.
“Noah was suspended on March 14 after Congressman Mark Amodei’s office reported him to school administration for using colorful language in his passionate plea for gun reform. The ACLU of Nevada sent a demand letter to McQueen High School and the Washoe County School District seeking to have the suspension overturned. A letter was also sent to Congressman Amodei to remind him that students do have rights under the First Amendment and requested that he retract his office’s complaint and apologize to Noah.”
Amodei sat shiva. School district apparatchiks played three monkeys, asserting that discretion was the cheaper part of valor. So pretty-please leave us alone.
On March 24, I wrote the ACLU: “Has McQueen High student Noah Christiansen’s record of suspension been expunged as far as possible? If he is ever interviewed for a high security clearance, military (heaven forefend) position or any other pursuit (e.g., a scholarship) and is asked “have you ever been suspended for any reason?”, what now constitutes a truthful answer? He might even lose a teaching position for having once been censured in high school.
“The yes/no checklist has no ‘yes, but…’ box. As Bill Maher once said, ‘Americans don’t do nuance.’
“Do you have a comment on WCSD’s grudging relent, citing only legal expense without addressing justice? Are you writing a settlement that covers every possible base, e.g., if WCSD is ever asked if he was suspended, what will their answer be and how far can you push it? Is WCSD using a ‘never give a inch’ (sic) strategy to force a better settlement with Christiansen’s family for a looming federal civil rights case? Have you any leverage with which to push back? Otherwise, you risk their faux budgetary bargain basement offer turning your announced victory into a stalemate – or worse.
“Major damage has already been done to this kid. Once something is up on the Internet, it is there forever.
“I’m trying to get a real-world handle on how such a situation will affect this young person’s (or any other’s) future.
“Do you know the party registration of the principal who hung Mr. Christiansen with the scarlet letter or that of anyone else in the hierarchy who concurred?
“I will print your answer in next week’s Tribune, publish it at NevadaLabor.com et al., and read it at the César Chávez Day celebration.
“Finally, if you have contact information or can pass this along, I want to invite Mr. Christiansen and his family to be my guests at César Chávez XVI on March 31. Of course, I would like him to say a few words.”
The ACLU has not responded.
Mr. Christiansen was otherwise engaged last Saturday evening with a Fox Noise Network interview. (Which means he is now in danger of vitriol from Czar Donaldov.)
However, Noah’s mom, Stacie Lerma attended and addressed the crowd of movers and shakers gathered to celebrate the life of another man who wouldn’t back down.
The fight will continue to fade the permanent stain on this young man’s reputation and character.
Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 49-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>