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Virginia student suspended after riding horse into high school


It was a senior prank that officials at Gloucester High School in Virginia apparently didn’t find funny. Austin McGill ended up with a 10-day suspension, all because he rode his horse into school. And there was even talk of expelling him outright.

“Nobody’s ridden a horse into this school. Everybody rides a horse to the school,” the 18-year-old told TV station 13NewsNow.

He was saddled upon his mom’s horse, Sonny, in the largely rural Gloucester County that borders the Chesapeake Bay. His mom, Melissa McGill, has been posting regularly in the week since the incident, using the hashtag #freeharmlessaustin.

According to 13NewsNow, the student said that the cause of his suspension was formally listed as “causing a demonstration or disruption,” but also that his slip recommended a punishment of long-term suspension up to expulsion. He is expected to meet with school leaders in a few days and notes that the school rule book doesn’t explicitly forbid riding a horse into school.

Social media users have generally sided with the student, with some calling it harmless fun, while others say a punishment is warranted, but more along the lines of a slap on the wrist rather than suspension or expulsion.

“10 days seems kinda much isn’t it? Don’t students get less for fighting? Correct me if I’m wrong. It just seems on the hierarchy of bad stuff a student can do, bringing a horse to school is annoying and disruptive. But it would rank well below brawling or vandalism which does real damage,” one Reddit user said.

Another user celebrated the risk the young man took. “People will tell his story for a decade. He made himself a legend,” the Redditor said.

Other supporters have said that they have bombarded the school with emails decrying the suspension.

There has not yet been any public comment from the school or the school system.

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