Student expelled for listening to rock music

23 March 2004
The following is from an incident report received by The First Amendment Project of Oakland, California and forwarded to Mass Mic ( 

“On Feb 18, 2004 my son,12-year-old Neil Kirkpatrick was expelled from St. Pius X school in Portland Oregon for admitting he listened to rock music at home. Furthermore, Neil was charged with sending the names of certain rock bands to fellow classmates at school by way of e-mail.

The bands that were considered vulgar, profane and violent were, Rage Against The Machine and Korn. My son did not use any profanity in his e-mails and school officials admitted this. Principal Mary Thompson insulted parents Sherry and Dan Kirkpatrick repeatedly by saying “I don’t know WHAT kind of parents would allow their child to listen to that kind of music.”

My son is a 3.3GPA student with and recent award winner (local speech tournament) for that school. Neil was allowed no due process, no were we, the parents ever informed in any way that Neil was a candidate for expulsion. In fact, no staff member ever interviewed Neil before or after that expulsion meeting he himself wasn’t even allowed to attend.

Principal Mary Thompson wrote, in a letter to us attempting to explain this outrageous act, that our son is “a moral and spiritual detriment” to the student body of St. Pius X school.

Our son Neil is a valuable and respected member of his community. He is a library volunteer, TAG student (talented and gifted program in schools) participant in extracurricular activities, (speech team, local football team), employee of small business owner and a kid who likes to rock out.

Who would’ve thought he’d get kicked out of school for just writing a word.(He never played in music on campus.) We are sickened and outraged that a school can get away with something like this. Since this was a private school we’re running into troubles getting clarification on protections/laws that may help us.

We are seeking legal help and welcome any suggestions, comments, anything! As Neil’s 41 year old mom I can certainly relate now to the band name, Rage Against The Machine. I guess that says it all.
If anyone can help, please do. Parents: Daniel and Sherry Kirkpatrick, 275 N.W. Torreyview Dr., Portland Oregon. Student: Neil Kirkpatrick. School: St. Pius X, 1260 N.W. Saltzman Rd., Portland, Oregon, 97229, (503) 646-3244.”



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