School expels 8th grader for bomb drawing

ACLU vows to sue district over student's punishment

MASSACHUSETTS -- An eighth-grade student was suspended and subsequently expelled in May for drawing a picture of his school surrounded by explosives.

Michael Demers, a special needs student at Northwest School in Worcester, was asked by a teacher to draw a picture of how he felt after being reprimanded for talking in class. Court documents said Demers drew a picture of his school surrounded by explosives and his superintendent with a gun to his head.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts filed a suit in May seeking a preliminary injunction to allow Demers to finish the eighth grade, but was denied because his attorneys must first appeal to the state Department of Education's Bureau of Special Education Appeals, U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton ruled.

The ACLU is alleging Demers' First Amendment rights were violated and that he was denied a hearing prior to his expulsion.

Because of the ruling, Demers did not finish eighth grade. He is hoping to make up work over the summer and return to school in the fall for ninth grade.

Fall 2000, reports