A 17-year-old boy has been suspended from school thanks to a phone call to his congressman about gun control. Noah Christensen, a junior at Robert McQueen High School in Reno, Nev., called Rep. Mark Amodei's office during the 17-minute school walkout to protest gun violence earlier this month. He expressed his opinion that bump stocks should be banned and the minimum age to purchase a gun should be increased—and that, as he told the staffer who answered the phone, members of Congress should "get off their f---ing asses" to do so. A Congressional aide called Christensen's school to inform the administration of his language, and the teen was hit with a two-day suspension for "disrespectful behavior/language," CNN reports. He's also being kept from his duties as his class's elected secretary-treasurer, the Nevada Independent reports. Now the ACLU is involved in the case.
Christensen's supporters say he was exercising his right to free speech and that Amodei should apologize—but the Republican rep says his aide, as well, was simply exercising his own First Amendment rights by reporting Christensen, and that he won't apologize. The student acknowledges "that's not maybe the wording I should have used but it's still my right to use that word," while his mom says, "I don't encourage my child to go and cuss at someone," but in this case, "maybe somebody does need to get off their butt and do something." The ACLU sent a letter to Amodei criticizing his office for restricting Christensen's constitutional rights, and said in a Monday letter to Christensen's school and the school district that if the punishment is not overturned, it "will have a chilling effect on other students who are considering engaging in the political process." The district says students were expected to "act appropriately and with decorum" during the walkout.