UPDATE @ 12:49 p.m. (March 20)
Group leader for Veterans Forever Inc. say they have created T-shirts to support Tyler Carlin, the Celina Middle School student who was suspended for making a soldier model with a foam gun.
Local veterans say they just want to show their support, "I just wanted this poor innocent kid to understand that his beliefs was correct that you should always stick up for a veteran and it’s a sad situation that Tyler’s now in trouble for trying to do the right thing for a veteran,” said Craig Obringer of Veterans forever.
Proceeds from the shirt will go to fund flags and flag poles for veterans. Celina Schools board president says they cannot discuss the matter publicly because of federal law.
We will continue to update this story with any information we receive.
UPDATE @ 3:50 p.m. (March 19)
News Center 7’s Molly Koweek spoke with Janice Holdheidi, a former staff sergeant with the U.S. Army, who stated that she was not allowed to give a statement at the Celina Schools board meeting. Holdheidi said she wanted to share her feelings on a student getting suspended and talk about how she felt the young man was doing the right thing. She then stated she was stopped from sharing her response and told that the school board would not be taking comments on the issue.
Koweek also talked to the school board president and obtained the following statement:
“First, I would like to say thank you, to all our veterans who have served, are serving, suffered and even died for our country. Without their commitment and sacrifices we would not have this great country with all of its freedoms and opportunities.
Last night at the school board meeting a U.S. Veteran asked to speak about a topic regarding a student. Prior to coming to the stage to speak, she was informed that, “the board would not allow the discussion of any student, students family or discipline of any student.” This is to protect the right to privacy of student of the Celina City Schools.
The speaker was recognized and indicated that she was ‘here tonight to speak up for a young man who was disciplined …’ At that time, I again informed her ‘The board is not allowed to publicly discuss this matter, please leave the stage.’ The speaker was never asked to leave the meeting.
The Celina City Schools board has requested a ‘FERPA Release Form’ be signed through the family’s attorney to allow us to make a truthful and accurate statement about the situation. Until the school has received that release, the board and its agents will not be making any statement that violates the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act or a student’s general right to privacy.
Celina City Schools
Celina City Schools has suspended a student for making a “Fallen Soldiers Monument” art project, according to the student’s attorney.
Tyler Carlin, 13, a Celina Junior High student, was suspended for three days for what he believed was a teacher-approved art project that represented a “Fallen Soldier Battlefield Cross,” said attorney Travis Faber in a news release.
The monument was part of an ongoing project Carlin was doing for his history class that involved raising awareness for the sacrifices our past and present veterans give to our country, said Faber. The Battlefield Cross traditionally shows a fallen soldier’s rifle, boots and helmet.
Days before his suspension, Carlin received permission for this project and discussed specific aspects of it with his teacher, Faber said.
He recreated this monument by using a plastic helmet, a toy NERF “Dart Blaster” and a pair of children’s boots, which were secured to the Nerf dart toy with zip ties.
When Carlin turned in his project on March 5, he was told to go to the office. The district said the NERF dart toy was a firearm prohibited by the school, and Carlin was given in-school suspension for three days.
Celina City Schools said the art teacher has not been disciplined and declined further comment.
“The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act prohibits the Celina City School District Board of Education from disclosing protected personally identifiable information regarding Celina City School District students. Accordingly, the Board may not provide information regarding specific student discipline matters. Student conduct is governed by the rules and provisions of the Student Code of Conduct, and the Board requires all students to comply with these school rules," said Kenneth Schmiesing, the superintendent of the Celina City School District.