Reno, NV – A 16-year-old Reno High School student filed a lawsuit against his school district alleging that other students are using the state’s school violence tipline to bully and harass him.
Reno High School junior Lucas Gorelick said that people keep calling the state hotline and anonymously reporting him as a threat, the Associated Press reported.
Every time somebody reported his name to the state’s tipline, the high school junior has been searched and no weapon has been found.
In fact, Gorelick’s lawsuit claims the 16 year old’s truck and backpack were recently searched five times in two weeks, the Associated Press reported.
“I’m a student, not a threat,” Gorelick said. “I have rights. I want people to know what is happening, and I want to ensure safety for all future students.”
Gorelick has blamed the calls to the state’s tipline and other “bullying situations” on his Jewish heritage, his political activism, and his scholastic achievements, the Associated Press reported.
The overachiever, who has done extensive work for Democratic Party candidates, will be graduating in June, a year earlier than his classmates.
He’s going to college next, but opted not to reveal where.
Gorelick has been politically active for years and campaigned for President Joe Biden, the Associated Press reported.
He is a campaign finance intern for U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and is also volunteering on school board trustee Adam Mayberry’s campaign.
Gorelick has been an outspoken student who served on a school safety committee and is a member of Students Demand Action, an anti-gun group formed after the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida.
He has spoken at school board meetings several times, the Associated Press reported.
The lawsuit filed by Gorelick on May 23 asked U.S. District Court Chief Judge Miranda Du to grant an injunction that would allow the 16 year old to return to school free of police searches, the Reno Gazette Journal reported.
The complaint said Gorelick has been the target of bullies who used SafeVoice tipline system to repeatedly harass him.
“It’s a system ripe for abuse,” Gorelick’s attorney, Luke Busby, told the Reno Gazette Journal.
Busby said the school district has violated its own policies by not taking into account other factors like Gorelick never having had a discipline problem and being an active member of the school safety committee.
The lawsuit cited other examples of harassment including his home and truck being vandalized with swastikas painted on his vehicle, the Associated Press reported.
Neil Rombardo, the school district’s attorney, argued that it had no indication the tips called into SafeVoice about Gorelick were abusing the system, the Reno Gazette Journal reported.
Rombardo argued the school district had a responsibility to keep 1,600 students safe at Reno High School and in doing so, take every tip seriously.
He told the court that there had been multiple tips about Gorelick left by a variety of people who believed the 16 year old had brought a gun to school, the Reno Gazette Journal reported.
“Which one do we not believe?” Rombardo asked.
He argued that Gorelick had not been harmed by the repeated searches and could go to class without a backpack or leave it in the school office, the Reno Gazette Journal reported.
The school district’s attorney also argued that Gorelick’s work in school safety didn’t guarantee that he wasn’t a future school shooter.
“All of this stress on you, that may make you act out,” Rombardo told the judge.
The judge, who heard arguments just a few days after an 18-year-old gunman opened fire in a Texas elementary school and killed 21 people, questioned whether the school district was doing enough to protect Gorelick, but refused to grant an injunction that would prevent future searches, the Reno Gazette Journal reported.
However, Du wrote in her ruling that the school district should not stop the searches even if previous reports had been determined to be untrue.
“In the world we live in today, it is no longer unimaginable,” the judge wrote.
The Nevada Department of Education (DOE) is the entity that runs SafeVoice said every tip is taken seriously, the Reno Gazette Journal reported.
DOE said that if reports to the tipline are found to be false accusations, the Nevada Department of Public Safety (DPS) will get involved.
“If a person is found to be abusing the system that person may no longer be anonymous and there are potential consequences,” DOE told the Reno Gazette Journal.
The injunction was just one part of Gorelick’s case and his lawsuit is expected to continue moving forward.