School expels 8th grader for bomb drawing

MASSACHUSETTS — An eighth-grade student was suspended and subsequentlyexpelled 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 reprimandedfor talking in class. Court documents said Demers drew a picture of hisschool surrounded by explosives and his superintendent with a gun to hishead.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts filed a suit inMay seeking a preliminary injunction to allow Demers to finish the eighthgrade, but was denied because his attorneys must first appeal to the stateDepartment of Education’s Bureau of Special Education Appeals, U.S. DistrictCourt Judge Nathaniel Gorton ruled.

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

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