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Student Challenges Suspension Over Writing

HUNTINGTON, Va. (CN) - A public high school in Cabell County violated a student's free-speech rights by suspending him for 10 days for writing "Free A-Train" on his hand, Anthony Brown and his father claim in Federal Court. Brown says he inked himself to show support for a friend charged with attempted robbery and attempted murder of a police officer.

"A Train" is the nickname of Anthony Jenkins, who is in the Western Regional Jail with bond set at $2 million cash.

The assistant principal told Brown to wash his hands or face suspension, the lawsuit claims. Brown complied, but later rewrote the message on his hand and was suspended for 10 days, according to the complaint. The school justified the suspension on the basis that the writing constituted a "disruption of educational process," Brown says.

The plaintiff rejects this claim, saying the inscription "was not offensively lewd or indecent, but simply a personal expression of his views."

He asks the court to order the Cabell County Board of Education, superintendent William Smith and principal Greg Webb to expunge his disciplinary record, and pay actual and nominal damages.

His attorney is Glen Conway.

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