Six months after he was expelled from Lee High, Charlie Stephens got kicked out of school one last time, so to speak.
He watched from the bleachers Tuesday as his former classmates accepted their diplomas on the stage at LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center. But as the ceremony neared its end, Stephens was summarily shown the door.
The president of student government and the student voted “Mr. Lee High” was recently expelled from the prominent Baton Rouge public high scho…
Assaad Mawas Stephens — he’s widely known as “Charlie" — was expelled from Lee High in December after school administrators say they found a knife and evidence of marijuana in his car.
Stephens was not just your average student at this prominent Baton Rouge high school. The 18-year-old was student government president and had been voted “Mr. Lee High.”
The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board agreed to a hearing in February — the first such hearing in more than seven years — but unanimously affirmed Stephens’ expulsion. Stephens filed suit in April, hoping for a quick reversal that would allow him to walk with the Class of 2019. But that didn’t happen and the lawsuit is ongoing.
Another former Lee High student, Boston Glaser, was also in the PMAC watching Tuesday. Glaser was expelled along with Stephens in December. Glaser said he was able to watch the graduation ceremony undisturbed.
Stephens wasn’t as fortunate.
Early in the ceremony, Brian Seals, a parent liaison at Lee High, and one of the people involved in Stephens’ expulsion, saw Stephens and the two exchanged a fist bump, according to Stephens.
But an hour later, Stephens said, Seals returned and, offering no reason, directed a nearby LSU police officer to escort Stephens out immediately. Stephens said he didn’t fight it, walking out while the officer watched him leave.
But he wasn’t happy.
“I feel that the school has somewhat of a vendetta against me,” Stephens said. “I was not given permission to participate in the ceremony so I came to support my friends and class members and was escorted out while other students who were expelled at the same time remained. It's just not fair.”
Taylor Gast, a spokeswoman for the school system, said she spoke Tuesday with Lee High Principal Rob Howle and Howle said he made Stephens leave because he violated the Student Handbook.
According to the handbook, students like Stephens who are suspended or expelled “may not attend, participate, or represent the school in any school activity during the term of the suspension or expulsion.”
Howle didn’t know that Glaser was there as well, Gast said.
The president of student government who was known to his classmates as “Mr. Lee High” filed suit Tuesday seeking to reverse his ejection from …
Glaser said he’s not surprised: “(Stephens) sued them and caused them trouble, so it makes sense they don’t want him at their functions.”
Stephens for his part changed schools after his expulsion, transferring to the online University View Academy. He plans to pick up his diploma this week. This fall, he’s planning to attend LSU. As an LSU student, he should have no trouble seeing events in the PMAC.