Why a mom is suing Horry schools after son was suspended for ‘licking his lips’ at student

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The mother of an Horry County Schools (HCS) student has sued the district, alleging her son’s constitutional rights were violated when the district denied him an appeal to a punishment he received at school.

In February 2020, the student was accused of “licking his lips at a female classmate” while he was a student at Ten Oaks Middle School. He received in-school suspension from the school’s principal, according to a lawsuit filed in Court of Common Pleas in Horry County.

The student’s mother filed a written request to appeal her son’s punishment, the lawsuit says. But the district didn’t schedule an appeal hearing, or provide evidence and witnesses requested to substantiate the claims against the student, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit claims these actions by the district violate the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, leading to mental anguish, medical expenses and loss of property interest. The 14th Amendment says U.S. citizens can’t be denied life, liberty or property “without due process of law.”

The plaintiff is requesting an unspecified amount of damages from the district.

HCS doesn’t comment on pending litigation, spokesperson Lisa Bourcier said.

The case, first filed in September, has been moved from Horry County’s Court of Common Pleas to U.S. District Court because it raises “federal questions,” according to court documents.

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