The families of two Richland County high school students kicked out of school for kissing on a school bus are challenging a decision to expel the pair, an attorney said Tuesday.

Dominique Goyner and his girlfriend were expelled by the school board in October for the rest of the academic year, after they sat next to each other on the bus and kissed a few times, said Russell Brown, the boy's attorney.

School officials told Jody Free her son was being removed from school for "sexual misconduct."

"I saw the tape. They kissed maybe two minutes and the rest of bus ride home they leaned back on seat and that was it," Free said. "Had it been anything different, I would have said 'OK you two have to suffer the consequences."'

The district won't comment about the case, but stands by the decisions made by its officials and school board, spokeswoman Theresa Riley said.

A message left for the girl's attorney was not immediately returned Tuesday.

Goyner, who has received awards from Bythewood High School's ROTC, said he knows he was breaking a rule, but was shocked by the response from school officials. He is being home-schooled and hopes the expulsion won't stop him from attending a military academy after graduation.

"It hurt me deeply," he told Columbia television station WOLO. "I was shocked. I didn't think it would go this far, to the point that I would be expelled from the district."

The school board refused to overturn its decision, but the families plan to appeal in circuit court, Brown said.

"What we have here, in my opinion, is an overzealous enforcement of a rule," he said.