Student Jokes That He Kissed A Teacher On Twitter And Is Promptly Put Under Police Investigation And Forced Out Of School Months Before Graduation

ZLRlETvpeRqjPlS-556x313-noPadWe have been discussing the trend toward suspending and expelling students (and teachers) for comments that they make on social media (here and here and here and here and here and here) Minnesota high school student Reid Sagehorn has the added problem of not just suspension but a police investigation after posting two words in a tweet. He is now suing both the Elk River District and the local police.

Sagehorn was engaging in the usual mindless banter with his friends when an anonymous tweet suggested the he had kissed a young gym teacher at Rogers High School. Sagehorn thought it was a joke and responded “Actually yes.” That was all that it took. A parent ran to authorities who opened a full fledge investigation of “possible criminal defamation charges.” The very notion of “criminal defamation” is a bit odd since defamation is meant to be a tort, a civil matter.

There was never any evidence of an actual improper relationship. Police investigated the teenager but the local prosecutor decided not to press charges. However, the school deemed the two words as violating school policy against “threatening, intimidating or assault of a teacher, administrator or other staff member.” He joked that he kissed his teacher. School officials suspended him for five days and then extended it to ten days and then moved toward expulsion. He was forced to enroll in a different high school just four months before graduation. Again, he joked that he kissed his teacher.

Students have rallied to the side of Sagehorn and demanded that he be allowed to graduate with the rest of his class. For me, it is the perfect storm of idiocy in our school system: a combination of the criminalization of bad conduct and then the blind punishment of students under zero tolerance rationales. Students have free speech rights, particularly outside of school. However, it is part of a growing line of cases granting sweeping deference to school officials and curtailing the free speech rights of students. I have long disagreed with that trend. In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969), the Supreme Court supported the first amendment rights of Iowa residents John F. Tinker (15 years old), John’s younger sister Mary Beth Tinker (13 years old), and their friend Christopher Eckhardt (16 years old) in wearing black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War. In his majority decision, Justice Abe Fortas held that “undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression.” In a statement would would seem to fit this case, Fortas found that “the record does not demonstrate any facts which might reasonably lead school authorities to forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities, and no disturbances or disorders on the school premises in fact occurred.” Since Tinker, the Supreme Court has steadily limited the speech rights of students as in the ruling in the “Bong Hits For Jesus” case.

Here a student is being punished for sarcasm outside of school. It is a troubling lesson for these students who will be the next generation of voters. Our schools are teaching this generation to yield to arbitrary and unchallengeable authority. The reason is that, even when such draconian decisions are rescinded, no teacher or administrator is ever punished for abusing students in this fashion.

Source: Fox

35 thoughts on “Student Jokes That He Kissed A Teacher On Twitter And Is Promptly Put Under Police Investigation And Forced Out Of School Months Before Graduation”

  1. issac

    “Johnny kissed the teacher.”
    “He’s a dog”
    “He tiptoed out to reach her.”
    “What a dog”

    Everly Brothers, icons of what it means to be American youth.

    Back in the ’60s America was the armpit of the western world, lynchings, slaughter of millions of innocent Vietnamese, limited to no women’s rights, liberals losing jobs accused of being Communists, and so on.

    We have fixed a lot of faults and are continuing to evolve into an understanding and common sense based country. However, it seems that the perpetrators of mindless intolerance have simply moved over to other targets.
    A competent historian went to the national archives and was the first to sign in to read official document that show:

    Americans have long been taught that events such as the notorious My Lai massacre were isolated incidents in the Vietnam War, carried out by “a few bad apples.” But as award‑winning journalist and historian Nick Turse demonstrates in this groundbreaking investigation, violence against Vietnamese noncombatants was not at all exceptional during the conflict. Rather, it was pervasive and systematic, the predictable consequence of orders to “kill anything that moves.”

    Drawing on more than a decade of research in secret Pentagon files and extensive interviews with American veterans and Vietnamese survivors, Turse reveals for the first time how official policies resulted in millions of innocent civilians killed and wounded. In shocking detail, he lays out the workings of a military machine that made crimes in almost every major American combat unit all but inevitable.

    (The Virgin MOMCOM – 6). Incompetent wannabe “historians” quote themselves and their fifth grade romper room paper about bicycles.

    It is being repeated by the same Luddites about Iraq now.


    1. Dredd – let us start with the fact that Turse is a journalist not a “competent historian.” And you quote a blurb from something to prove your point.

      (The Virgin MOMCOM – 6). Incompetent wannabe “historians” quote themselves and their fifth grade romper room paper about bicycles.

      Is this a Freudian slip?

  2. Paul C. Schulte:

    “anon – absolutely not personal for a hang up. I am not alone.”

    No, you’re probably not. A bunch of folks with personal hang-ups.

  3. Disgusting behavior by the school. Time for the witch hunters to be investigated.

  4. The US is simply not that great of a place to be a teenager. Saying stupid things and having a crush on a student teacher are part of growing up. Poor kid couldn´t do that without some Stasi-mom reporting him to the “authorities”. Makes me sick.

    1. Riesling – not sure there is an indication he had a crush on the teacher. As boys and men are wont to do he went with a comment from somebody else and he ends up being kicked out of school. Personally, if they are going to go after the one boy for responding, they should have gone after the other for starting a rumor. Fair is fair.

  5. The “slingshots” remark is extreme bad form.

    And how can we expect kids to unite against abuse of power;
    when most here won’t do the same?

  6. The other kids ought to show up at graduation wearing black arm bands. Tinker, tailor, soldier spy. If kids dont stand up for other kids then teachers and principals rule the day. Those kids ought to get some rulers. And slingshots.

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