Lunch detention victim sues for child abuse


Cael Baumgarten, Copy Editor

Mother of sophomore Joe Cnardigan filed a lawsuit against the school on April 19th when her child was subjected to a single lunch detention after showing up to school two minutes late five times. The case was filed through the Johnson County District Court and contends that lunch detention within the school is both abusive and a human rights violation.
“My baby boy came home shaking, crying, pale…” Mrs. Cnardigan said. “And I asked him ‘what happened, Joey?’ And he pulled out a cigarette – and he hadn’t touched nicotine since he was kicked out of youth group – and he lit it and he just looked at me with so much fear in his eyes, like his innocence had been ripped away from him, and then he just said to me, ‘they didn’t let me watch Hannah Montana.’”
Cnardigan’s attorney, Jennifer Targus, has worked on cases involving the Olathe School District before, most recently in 2018 when an anonymous then-senior got three of his Fig Newtons taken away when he named himself “Big Chungus 420” in a game of Kahoot. Despite the district’s higher budget and number of lawyers, both Cnardigan and Targus are confident moving forward with the case.
“I’ve seen solitary confinement, I’ve seen corporal punishment, I’ve seen a teacher sit on a kid; none of that compares to the cruelty that Mrs. Cnardigan’s poor son experienced,” Targus said. “We could be looking at a violation of the 8th amendment here.”
Cnardigan’s story has inspired parents across the district to protest the barbarian punishment administered within the school. Whether or not the court sides with Cnardigan, her son will not come out of the experience empty-handed; the case’s media coverage alone has called social workers and famous personalities alike to Cnardigan’s aid. Celebrity O.J. Simpson, famous for playing Nordberg in The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear, denounced the school’s actions on his personal twitter.
“I think it’s disgusting what Olathe thinks they can do to those kids,” Simpson tweeted. “Even in prison they kept a VHS of The Incredibles on loop in each of our cells, and nobody tried to take that away from us. Joe, stand strong against your oppressors, just like how I stood strong against that tyrannical Hexagon Oil company in The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear.”
In the face of both a legal case and pressure from the media, the school has released no official apology for the incident. Vice Principal Gary Gaius believes the punishment is fit for the crime and intends to employ lunch detentions as a staple disciplinary action for years to come.
“It makes me sick that students think they can show up two minutes late just because school starts 15 minutes earlier this year and teenagers need at least eight hours of sleep to function and many of them are forced to subsist off of seven hours at most because of the combination of their low wage jobs, and the hours of homework they are given every evening, and their pathetic attempts to maintain a social life in an unprecedented time of declining mental health,” Gaius said. “What’s next, are they going to spend more than the minimum amount of time required to urinate in the bathroom?”