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Veteran is prevented from speaking at Celina Board of Education meeting

For his art project, Tyler Carlin used a pair of boots, a NERF toy gun and a plastic combat helmet depicting a cross as a way to honor fallen soldiers.
Fallen soldier tribute, helmet, gun, boots and flag, 3d render

Author: Renata Cló | Published: 4:10 PM EDT March 20, 2019 | Updated: 5:00 PM EDT March 20, 2019

A U.S. veteran was prevented from speaking out on behalf of a 13-year old student that was suspended over an art project that portrayed the battlefield cross at the Celina City Schools board of education meeting Monday night.

For his art project, Tyler Carlin used a pair of boots, a NERF toy gun and a plastic combat helmet depicting a cross as a way to honor fallen soldiers.

Even though he had discussed the details of his project with his teacher days before his presentation and had been given permission, the school took a disciplinary action against the teen and suspended him for three days, Carlin’s family lawyer, Travis Faber, said.

Tyler Carlin's art project portraying the battlefield cross as a way to honor fallen soldiers.

According to Faber, the school chose to take disciplinary action “claiming that the NERF dart toy was a firearm prohibited from school.”

Celina City Schools board president, Carl Huber, said he is not able to discuss a student and disciplinary actions taken without the permission of a parent or guardian.

When Iraq war veteran Janice Holdheide learned about what had happened with Carlin, she went to the Celina School Board meeting to express her disappointment with the school’s decision.

As soon as she started to speak, the board interrupted her and said they would not hear what she had to say.

Holdheide decided to publish what she was planning to say on Facebook in a post gone viral with more than 5,000 shares.

“I fought for this great country, and I fought for this young man to exercise his First Amendment right. I have buried friends and comrades and survived the horrors of war only to come home and find such a disrespectful action taken by this school system in my hometown,” she wrote.

Tonight I am breaking my Facebook lent hiatus. I want to share with everyone what happened tonight. I went to the...

Posted by Janice Holdheide on Monday, March 18, 2019

In a statement, Huber said Holdheide was informed that the “board is not allowed to publicly discuss this matter,” and asked her to leave the stage.

“We are greatly concerned about the message the actions of the Celina School District will send to our community’s youth," Faber said in a prepared statement. "He [Tyler] should be thanked for his hard work and dedication to our veterans and to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”

Huber also said he asked the Carlin family to sign an authorization allowing the board “to make a truthful and accurate statement about the situation.”

Faber said the “family will consider all their options to protect Tyler’s academic and disciplinary record.”