By Terry Odenigbo
A Clayton County high school student was suspended weeks before his graduation after he posted his principal’s mugshot on the social media website Instagram, claiming she was arrested for the wrong thing. The student’s family told Channel 2′s Tom Jones nowhere in the student handbook does it say you can get suspended for passing misinformation.
But that’s what the principal said Keandre Varner did by posting her mugshot and saying he thought she had been arrested on DUI charges. “I didn’t like, really didn’t intend to defame her character,” said Varner, a senior at Riverdale High School.
Varner said his principal, Jamille Miller Brown, disagreed and suspended Varner for four days. Varner said those are days he needs to study for his final exams. “I need to be in school,” Varner said.
He said he put the mugshot on his Instagram page. And when one of his followers asked why she was arrested, Varner said he posted, “I think because of a DUI.” Varner said Miller Brown found out and called him to the office.
“And she was like, ‘You said I got arrested for DUI.’ And I was like, ‘I think you got arrested for DUI,’” he said. That’s when Varner said the principal tried to get an officer to arrest him but the officer refused, so he was suspended. The school system said Miller Brown was arrested in March after she missed a court date for a speeding ticket.
Administrators said Varner was suspended because he disrupted school by showing the picture to everyone and being belligerent to the principal when she confronted him. Varner’s mother, Nakesha Thomas, said that’s not true. She said the suspension letter the principal wrote explains the real reason. “Keandre passed around misinformation,” Thomas said.
Thomas thinks the principal went too far. Varner also said he never showed the mugshot to classmates. “I put it right on Instagram and that was it,” Varner said. The principal reduced the suspension to two days and Varner can go back to school Thursday.
Other parents told Jones their children were threatened with suspension for having the mugshot in their phones. They said it’s on the Internet and the principal can’t suspend everyone for having it.