KARE

Teen Sues School District After Suspension Over Tweet

A Minnesota high school grad is suing his former school district, which suspended him after he wrote a sarcastic tweet implying he'd kissed a teacher.

By Alise Murawski | June 19, 2014

A Minnesota high school graduate is suing his former school district. It's a pretty interesting case that starts with what Reid Sagehorn is calling a sarcastic tweet taken too seriously. 

The StarTribune reports Sagehorn, a former student at Rogers High School, replied to a tweet that asked whether he made out with a 28-year-old teacher. He responded, "actually yeah."

​Sagehorn's ​Twitter profile has since been set to private, but his two-word tweet is still making headlines.

KARE reports Sagehorn was initially suspended for five days after the tweet surfaced for "causing damage to a teacher's reputation." For reasons that aren't entirely clear, that suspension was later extended, and Sagehorn says the ensuing controversy forced him to withdraw from the school just months before graduation.

"Now he's suing the district and Rogers police for violating his First Amendment rights and defamation. In the lawsuit, his attorneys write: 'Reid's post was meant to be taken in jest. This was a mistake.'" (Via KARE)

According to NBC, local authorities say Sagehorn caused real harm to the teacher. 

"She's been bullied and berated by students, and I know that this has become very difficult to even continue her teaching career." 

By the way, Fox News reports local authorities found no evidence of an actual relationship between Sagehorn and the teacher.

But The Inquisitr quotes Rogers Police Chief Jeff Behean as comparing the tweet to yelling "fire" in a crowded theater or saying there's a bomb on a plane. 

But in the same article, a law professor says: "The facts are particularly bad for the school because there's not threatening behavior here. ... The only disruption from speech came because of the school's extreme reaction to it."

An editorial by the Minnesota Daily also argues that perhaps the school made too much of the situation.

The editorial reads in part, "This episode is another case of gross overreaction to teens' social media use." 

The StarTribune reports Sagehorn's suit, filed Tuesday in a U.S. District Court, asks for a jury trial and compensation from the school district and police department. He plans to attend North Dakota State University in the fall. 

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