A Minnesota teen is suing his school district and the Rogers police chief after he was suspended for tweeting a sarcastic remark about a gym teacher.
Reid Sagehorn says he responded to an anonymous tweet accusing him of kissing the young teacher at Rogers High School.
“Actually yes,” he responded in jest.
A parent who saw the senior’s tweet reported it to authorities and Reid was investigated for possible defamation charges. The Hennepin County Attorney's Office declined to press charges and police confirmed there was no inappropriate relationship between Reid and the teacher.
He was suspended by the Elk River School District for five days citing a violation of school policy against "threatening, intimidating or assault of a teacher, administrator or other staff member."
The district extended the suspension to 10 days and moved towards expulsion, the suit claims. Sagehorn had to enroll in a different high school four months ahead of his graduation.
Students protested the suspension and concerned parents spoke at school board meetings, demanding he be allowed to return.
"Students have a right to free speech," Steven Aggergaard, an attorney who is not involved in the case, told Fox 9 News. "Even more outside the school site and grounds."
William McGeveran, a professor of law at the University of Minnesota Law School, told NBC News that the school overreacted.
"This two-word post was foolish and thoughtless and he said he's sorry — kids do that and they always have," McGeveran said. "If some of this same story had played out and you took the Internet out of it, I doubt there would have been this same level of concern."