Student who supports gun rights sues school over protest

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois high school student and her father are suing a school district and several administrators alleging her civil rights were violated when she showed support for gun rights during an anti-school violence walkout.

Madison Oster, 16, and her father, Jeremy Oster, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Rockford this week, the Rockford Register Star reported. The lawsuit names the Hononegah Community High School District 207, Superintendent Michael J. Dugan, high school executive associate principal Chad Dougherty and principal Eric Flohr as defendants.

Students across the country participated in the National School Walkout on March 14 to protest school shootings after the mass killing on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The Osters allege that Madison and about five other students who demonstrated support for gun rights were discriminated against during the walkout.

“One student yelled at Madison to kill herself. Another student took pictures of Madison’s group, one of which reportedly became an online meme and method of ridicule among the other HCHS students,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit says Madison had planned to carry signs reading “Pro life, pro God, pro gun” and “Protect us, police for all schools.” But her group was asked to wait until the teens supporting gun control walked out of the building. Madison’s group then had to stand on the sidewalk near the high school’s front door while the anti-gun violence students staged their demonstration on the football field some distance away, according to the lawsuit.

The Osters seek to bar district officials from violating the teen’s rights “by selectively banning her viewpoint about gun rights and school safety.”
Assistant Superintendent Kim Suedbeck said Thursday that the district hadn’t been served with the lawsuit and declined to comment further.

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