An honor roll student from a Nevada High School has chosen to pursue a lawsuit after making claims that an anonymous gun reporting hotline has repeatedly been abused to bully him.
16-year-old Reno High School junior Lucas Gorelick has shared that students continue to use the hotline SafeVoice to file false reports about him – which has then caused school officials to search and “harass” him.
The lawsuit makes allegations that the school officials have violated Gorelick’s constitutional rights to equal protection and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.
“I’m a student, not a threat,” Gorelick told The Associated Press. “I have rights. I want people to know what is happening, and I want to ensure safety for all future students.”
So far, Gorelick’s backpack and pickup truck have been searched five times, with no weapons turning up during any of the searches.
District Court Chief Judge Miranda Du denied granting the student an injunction to stop the searches just two days after the suit was filed.
The Reno Gazette Journal reported that Du advised the district to not stop the searches even if they had previously proven false in reports.
“In the world we live in today, it is no longer unimaginable,” Du stated.
The teenager alleges that he has been targeted by bullies because of his “Jewish heritage, his work with Democratic party candidates and his school achievements,” according to the report. He is an active member of Students Demand Action, a national group which aims to end gun violence in schools.
While speaking to local station KXXV, the student’s father, Jeff Gorelick, compared the false reports to swatting.
The father stated that believing the word of all of these anonymous calls “gives people free rein to do abusive things to other people.”
“If the purpose is to provide safe schools, which I think was the intended purpose, having a little bit of control on abuse would have been a good idea.”
The station noted, “the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1985 in a case from New Jersey that school officials need only ‘reasonable suspicion’ that a student has violated the law or school rules to initiate a search. The Fourth Amendment requires ‘probable cause’ or a warrant.”
Although Gorelick is graduating next month, a year early in fact, the lawsuit will still continue.
A Department of Education spokesperson told the Associated Press that SafeVoice can prompt a police investigation on false reports and remove the reporter’s anonymity, although they did not confirm whether this was being considered in Gorelick’s case.
“If a person is found to be abusing the system that person may no longer be anonymous and there are potential consequences,” the department spokesperson shared.
In a statement to the RGJ, the school district said that “any reports of any student carrying a deadly weapon on campus must be taken very seriously. Not only should information concerning the safety of our students be investigated, Nevada law requires it.”