A North Carolina teen was suspended for three days and labeled a racist for using the term “illegal alien” during a vocabulary assignment for his English class last week.

Christian McGhee, 16, was assigned vocabulary words for his English class at Lexington’s Central Davidson High School last Tuesday that included the word “alien,” prompting the student to ask for clarification from his teacher.

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“Like space aliens or illegal aliens without green cards?” McGhee questioned, according to The Carolina Journal.

Another student in McGhee’s class took offense and threatened to fight him. McGhee’s teacher contacted administration, and an assistant principal who deemed the comments offensive and disrespectful to Hispanics suspended McGhee for three days, according to the New York Post.

“I didn’t make a statement directed towards anyone – I asked a question,” McGhee said. “I wasn’t speaking of Hispanics because everyone from other countries needs green cards, and the term ‘illegal alien’ is an actual term that I hear on the news and can find in the dictionary.”

“Because of his question, our son was disciplined and given THREE days OUT of school suspension for ‘racism,’” Leah McGhee, Christian’s mother, wrote in an email shared with the Journal. “He is devastated and concerned that the racism label on his school record will harm his future goal of receiving a track scholarship. We are concerned that he will fall behind in his classes due to being absent for three consecutive days.”

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The family is now working with an attorney to clear the teen’s record after school officials refused to do so.

The issue also gained the attention of state Sen. Steve Jarvis, R-Davidson, who contacted the district superintendent to urge the “best outcome.”

Jarvis told the Journal he did not demand specific action because he was not involved in the incident.

“I do not see that that would be an offensive statement, just in getting clarification,” Jarvis said. “But there again, I don’t know. I don’t know the situation of this particular incident.”

Leah McGhee told “The Pete Kaliner Show” on WBT the family previously lived in England and Christian noted that Britons also need green cards to live in the U.S., according to Newsweek.

“It is a term used as federal code, and it is a term that is heard frequently on many news broadcasts,” she said. “I feel that if this was handled properly in the classroom, it could have easily been used as a teachable moment for everyone.”

Officials at Central Davidson High School declined Newsweek’s request to discuss the situation.

“Please know that Davidson County Schools administrators take all discipline incidents seriously and investigate each one thoroughly,” a staffer wrote in an email. “Any violation of the code of conduct is handled appropriately by administrators.”

The incident was highlighted on X by Libs of TikTok, garnering the attention of millions, including X owner Elon Musk, conservative personality Ian Miles Chong, and others who weighed in.

“This is absurd,” Musk posted.

“Insane,” Chong added. “How does one get suspended for using the term illegal alien?”

According to Wikipedia, illegal alien is “the statutory and legal term used in some countries for an illegal immigrant or other unauthorized resident,”

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines illegal alien as “a foreign person who lives in a country without having official permission to live there.”

The Cambridge Dictionary defines the term as “someone who lives or works in another country when they do not have the legal right to do this.”

None cite Hispanics or reference any derogatory connotations.

Davidson County Schools’ official student handbook states “schools may place restrictions on a student’s right to free speech when the speech is obscene, abusive, promoting illegal drug use, or is reasonably expected to cause a substantial disruption to the school day.”

The Journal notes a record-breaking 72,000 families flooded the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program with applications in February after Republicans expanded the program last year. The scholarships allows North Carolina families to use state education funding to send their children to schools outside of the traditional public education system.