Grundy Co. student jailed after he says he spoke up about valedictorian selection
GRUNDY COUNTY, Tenn. —
Speaks up, gets arrested. That’s what one Grundy County High School senior says happened to him this week.
Trevor Sanders tried speaking up after a controversial selection for this year's valedictorian. When he wouldn't be quiet, he ended up in jail.
On Monday, Sanders and the rest of the school found out this year’s graduation would be a little different.
The school announced the valedictorian for the class of 2018 would be a senior graduating in just three years, not four.
When Trevor began to ask why, he was told he needed to meet with school administrators to talk about him speaking out.
In that meeting Wednesday, he asked to record the conversation.
Soon after, he posted it on his public Facebook page and told us we could air it.
"I’ve made no remarks about her as a person," Sanders said in the recording.
School administrators can be heard telling Trevor that he’s harassing the newly-chosen valedictorian.
He says he’s not doing that, but does go on to tell administrators they’re infringing on his rights.
"What rights are we infringing," the principal questioned him?
"My first amendment rights to speak my opinion," Trevor responded.
Wednesday night, the sheriff's office arrested Sanders for what they say was a second harassment incident at the school.
Several students tell us they’re being threatened by the district if they choose to speak publicly about this.
Senior Drew Cornwell says that won’t stop him.
"I think it’s the right thing to do to speak up," he said.
Lindsay Layne feels the same way.
She's the legal guardian of the girl who would have been the valedictorian, but has now been demoted to salutatorian.
Layne says she's proud of the way Trevor handled himself in this situation.
"I thought it was pretty brilliant of him to record that honestly. I thought that was brilliant because some of the things that he said and were said to him - just wasn’t right," she said.
In the recording, Trevor tried also suggesting to administrators that there be two valedictorians this year. They didn't seem to want to consider that idea.
We tried to get Grundy County administrators to talk to us about the valedictorian policy. The superintendent emailed us back and told us to check the website.