Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nevada, says his office never sought punishment for a student who called his office seeking gun law reforms.
The call was one of dozens to Amodei’s office on the day high school students walked out to protest the lack of congressional action on gun law reforms. The ACLU issued a statement calling the staffer’s actions “an act of unconstitutional retaliation” and demanded the school overturn the two-day suspension imposed on the student.
Amodei said the staffer, a veteran of 10 years with Sen. John Ensign and seven as an Amodei staffer, “wasn’t some new guy prone to being offended. He said that was one of many calls his office received that day.
“Of all the students who called, this was the only one that was remarkable for his vulgarity.”
He said the staffer informed the school of what the student named Noah said but didn’t ask for any punishment, he just reported the call to school officials.
The ACLU letter authored by Wesley Juhl, states “Noah recognizes he should have chosen his words more carefully, but students — like everyone else — have a right to criticize government officials, even with swear words.”
Amodei agreed the ACLU is absolutely correct the student, named Noah, was within his constitutional rights to use any language he wanted to in his call. But he said his staff member has the same First Amendment right to say he thought the student’s language was offensive.
“We didn’t retaliate,” he said. “We told them what he said.”
As for the two-day suspension the student received, he said that was the school’s decision and wasn’t requested by his staff.
Amodei said the irony is just last week, his office put out a newsletter “taking a deep dive” into the issue of school safety and guns.
He said the concerns students raised during the nationwide protest are being addressed in his newsletter.
“It’s absolutely despicable and disgusting the school did this,” said the student’s father, Richard.
He described his son as a good student who has never had behavioral problems at school and suspending him was extreme.