BELPRE, Ohio (AP) – A sixth-grader started serving a three-day suspension Tuesday because he refused a lesser punishment for bringing the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue to school, the schools superintendent said.

Justin Reyes had the magazine in the gymnasium at Belpre Middle School before classes Feb. 18, and Principal Kathy Garrison cited him for violating school’s policy on nonverbal harassment and possession of lewd or suggestive material, Superintendent Tim Swarr said.

Garrison ordered the 12-year-old boy to spend two days at an alternative school where students from several area districts are sent when they get into trouble.

But Swarr said Justin and his mother, Nicole Reyes, refused to accept the alternative school punishment, so the penalty was increased to three days of out-of-school suspension.

“Last time I checked, we were in charge of running the schools,” Swarr said.

Nicole Reyes said the alternative school was too harsh a punishment.

“It’s not like it was Hustler, Playboy or Penthouse,” she said. “The punishment doesn’t fit the crime.”

Swarr said he had never seen SI’s swimsuit edition before.

“I was shocked,” he said. “It doesn’t belong in public schools.”

Belpre Middle School, about 90 miles southeast of Columbus, serves some 550 students in grades four through eight.

AP-ES-02-24-04 1451EST

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.