WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A Triad parent has a major problem with how they say Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools handled an investigation involving their child.
The student is a minor and is not named in the court cases but the student's mother spoke to WFMY News 2 about what she says happened. Faith Medrano filed a lawsuit against the Winston-Salem Forsyth Board of Education claiming her child's constitutional rights were violated and that the district exceeded its statutory authority.
In April, Medrano's child was expelled from Atkins Academic and Technical High School. In court records filed Monday in Forsyth County Superior Court, the reason for the expulsion reads in-part, "Your student... has engaged in conduct that demonstrates a clear threat to the safety of others in the school environment."
It goes on to read, "Specially, the school believes [your child] plotted to carry out an act of mass violence at Atkins High School (school shooting), that he acted in concert and conspired with at least one other person, and that he would have carried out this act if police had not intervened."
How much police intervened is one of the reasons Medrano says she filed this suit.
"There was actually some discussion between me and police, two police detectives from Winston-Salem initially and they wanted to talk to him alone and we said 'No, we want to be present or we want our attorney to be present,' and so they said 'OK' and we told them at that time that we do not want our child to be talked to without someone being there with him," said Medrano.
Just days after that conversation, Medrano says her son was pulled out of class by police, questioned and his cell phone was taken.
"He hasn't done anything wrong so he doesn't see anything wrong with talking to police but as a parent, I want to know what's going on with my child," said Medrano.
As a parent, she might not have that luxury. WFMY News 2 spoke to two defense attorneys who had different views on what parents rights are in a situation like this. One said police should have reached out to parent.The other said a 16-year-old is old enough to refuse to talk with police.
We reached out to Winston-Salem Police and the school district to get their side of what happened but neither can comment on pending litigation. The Board of Education has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit.
The suit alleges the district gave "false" and "misleading evidence" of the child's involvement in the alleged terror plot and argues evidence presented during the expulsion hearing was not "clear and convincing."
Medrano is asking the court in part to review her child's expulsion hearing, reverse the board's decision and allow her child to return to Atkins High School, and to have her child's disciplinary record expunged of all references to this matter.
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