Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) defended one of his staffers on Monday after a high school student’s profanity-laced call led the staffer to report the call to the student’s school, resulting in the student’s suspension.
“I’m not apologizing because my guy accurately described what happened in the phone call,” Amodei told the Nevada Independent.
17-year-old Noah Christiansen called Amodei’s office during Wednesday’s national school walkout to say that lawmakers needed to “get off their fucking asses” and do something about gun violence, such as raising the minimum age to purchase firearms.
The staffer who took the call contacted the principal of Christiansen’s high school about the incident, who then slapped the student with a two-day suspension for “disrespectful language.” Christiansen was also barred from assuming his role as elected class secretary-treasurer.
Amodei, a strong gun rights supporter, denied the suspension was an act of retaliation or a stifling of the student’s First Amendment rights, saying that “what the principal decided to do is, I mean, that’s what principals get paid for.”
The ACLU of Nevada and Christiansen are pushing for the school to wipe the suspension from his record and allow him to serve his elected class position, along with an apology from Amodei and the school administrators.
“I’m smart enough to use better words than of course the f-word,” Christiansen told the Independent. “But, at the same time, even if I do want to use words and use them over and over again, it’s my right to do so.”
“It is unbelievable that a constituent should have to worry about calling a congressional office to share their opinions because your congressman’s office might retaliate against you by reporting you to your school or place of employment,” said Nevada ACLU executive director Tod Story in a statement.
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