Celina Student Situation Makes National Headlines

Managing Editor

A local storyline and now made national news.

Celina Middle School student Tyler Carlin and his attorney Travis Faber appeared Thursday on Fox News’ morning program Fox & Friends.

Last week, the 13-year-old eighth grader received a three-day in-school suspension of a teacher-approved art project representing a "Fallen Solider Battlefield Cross." The art project was a part of an ongoing project Carlin was doing for his history class that involved raising awareness for the sacrifices men and women in uniform have given to the country, according to a press release from Faber.

The Battlefield Cross traditionally employs a fallen solider's rifle, boots and helmet.

Carlin used a plastic helmet, a toy Nerf "Dart Blaster" and a pair of black children's boots, secured to the Nerf toy with zip ties.

The story has hit local and regional news and reached national headlines when Carlin discussed the issue on Fox & Friends.

"When I brought the project to school, I made it into the building when an administrator from the office took the monument and brought it into another room," Carlin said on air. "They said they were going to take my monument and that I could possibly get a suspension for it. They said that because I think they thought it was a gun, but this was actually a monument."

Anchor Jedediah Bila read a statement saying and that said the school's issue is that the Nerf toy resembled a gun — violating the school's policy.

"The board will not be making any statement that violates a student's general right to privacy," Huntsman said in reading a statement from Celina City School's Board of Education President Carl Huber. 

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act prohibits the Celina City School District BoE from disclosing protected personally identifiable information regarding its students.

Faber stated that he thought the situation was not so much an issue with that the school had with Carlin's project, but more of an issue for the administration.

"We think this is an administration that just frankly wasn't using common sense," Faber said on air. "When I heard about this, I got in contact with the school immediately and said, 'this must be a mistake. Can we delay the suspension so we can investigate what happened?'

"The school absolutely refused to delay the suspension. After he (Carlin) had started serving the suspension and we had some time to look into to this, we said, 'this is ridiculous, can you make the suspension go away and apologize to Tyler for what you did?'"

Faber said the school refused Faber's request.

Carlin added that his suspension resulted in him sitting in a room all day, but another administrator thought it was "stupid" that Carlin received a suspension and gave him a doughnut and played cards with him. Carlin also said that he has received community support, pointing to a protest that has been and was continuing in Celina on Thursday.

"At this point, we are going to do whatever we have to to make this right," Faber said when asked what his goal is for Carlin. "We would like the school to expunge his record so the suspension does not show up in his permanent record. We would like the school to apologize not just to him, but to the staff sergeant who showed up at the school board meeting and wasn't aloud to talk to during public comments.

"We would also like the school to do something that respects fallen soldiers."