Principal suspends student for starting rumors with photo





\nTEXAS -- The Midland Independent School District has become\nembroiled in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by a student\nwho was suspended, placed in an alternative school and barred\nfrom attending his own graduation -- all because he refused to\napologize for a picture he had in his closet at home.

The picture, taken in January, was a photograph of the married\nprincipal's car parked outside the residence of an unmarried female\nteacher.

Midland High School senior Casey Riggan did not take the picture-one\nof his friends did. But when Midland principal Neil Richmond learned\nof the photograph's existence, he suspended Riggan and ordered\nhim to apologize for starting rumors of sexual indiscretion.

Riggan refused to apologize. Instead, he filed a lawsuit against\nthe school district for violating his free speech and due process\nrights.

Richmond responded by placing Riggan in an alternative school\nfor students with behavior problems and barring him from attending\nhis high school graduation. Gail Riggan, Casey's mother, told\nthe Associated Press that her son was the first family member\nin six generations to graduate from high school.

Riggan's attorney, Brian Carney, said his client has a strong\ncase. He said the only thing Riggan can ask for in the suit is\ndamages.

"At this point, [the school district] can't rectify what\nthey've done," Carney said. "They can't let him go through\ngraduation again." \n


reports, Winter 1999-2000