A significant dispute arose during a vocabulary task at Central Davidson High School in Lexington, North Carolina.

Student Christian McGhee inquired his teacher whether she meant extraterrestrial beings or undocumented immigrants when using the word “alien.” As reported by the Carolina Journal, another student felt offended and confronted Christian, resulting in a visit to the assistant principal’s office.

“I didn’t make a statement directed towards anyone; I asked a question,” the teenager told the Carolina Journal. “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.”

Christian, who was innocent, received a three-day suspension from school. The school authorities alleged that he was offensive and disrespectful. Interestingly, some of his classmates happen to be Hispanic. Christian maintains that he had no intention of causing offense and strongly disagrees with those who label him as racist or xenophobic.

“Because of his question, our son was disciplined and given THREE days OUT of school suspension for ‘racism,’” Christian’s mother wrote in an email obtained by the Carolina 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.”