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. This is another in the long line of sissifying American males. -Paul C. Schulte

    Sounds like a personal hang-up.

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

  2. Issac,

    “School’s Out”

    Alice Cooper

    Well we got no choice
    All the girls and boys
    Makin’ all that noise
    ‘Cause they found new toys
    Well we can’t salute ya can’t find a flag
    If that don’t suit ya that’s a drag
    School’s out for summer
    School’s out forever
    School’s been blown to pieces

    No more pencils no more books
    No more teacher’s dirty looks yeah
    Well we got no class
    And we got no principals
    And we got no innocence
    We can’t even think of a word that rhymes
    School’s out for summer
    School’s out forever
    My school’s been blown to pieces

    No more pencils no more books
    No more teacher’s dirty looks
    Out for summer
    Out till fall
    We might not come back at all
    School’s out forever
    School’s out for summer
    School’s out with fever
    School’s out completely

  3. Zero tolerance makes zero sense.

    They could have ruled out pedophilia in a couple of minutes.

    Darren: “The school administration should suspend themselves because it was its faculty that disrupted the educational environment.” Yes!!

  4. Darren, couldn’t have said it better myself. (You almost always say it better than I could.)

  5. My guess, and it is a guess, is that this became a big deal at the school and the school felt the had to get ahead of it. Schools are not their for the students as some people think, they are there to keep administrators employed.

    This is another in the long line of sissifying American males. I will say that when I was in high school, except for a student teacher, there was no teacher worth kissing.

  6. issac –

    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.

    None of this is true.

  7. Thanks “anon”

    When I would come home from being on the road for weeks, she would come over, put her head on my knee and pet my leg for a long time.

    Her sweetness is extraordinary; and she’ll be a great vet.

  8. Cases like this make me wish I went to law school. I could become rich profiting off the stupidity of government.

  9. What in world is this country coming to?… Just when you think you’d seen it all, more blatant stupidity from mindless bureaucrats makes the news…

    It truly does seem sometimes that we American’s are in a proverbial “dumb-off”…

    You all know that game… “You think that was stupid?… Just wait ’till you see this!” or in poker parlance “I’ll see your stupid and raise…”

  10. “The world – in reality – is fickle!” -LDL

    Unfortunately, it’s much worse than fickle…

    “Today, that same child is putting herself through Pet Doctor school. She always had a sweet heart and great mind.” -LDL

    And it sounds as if she’ll be a wonderful vet. (Thanks for sharing the story.)

  11. A school tried to fail my daughter in 1st grade. All she needed to graduate was her ABC’s, 123’s to 20 and tie her shoes. This wonderful child (at age 4) took apart a Nintendo game system and drew the design of where the parts go with crayons. She came crying to me when she couldn’t figure out where two (cut) wires went. A purchase of another Nintendo (fortunately a used/damaged one) pointed out the wires were a dead line (manuf. cost cheaper to leave alone).

    My spouse was part to blame (thirst for melodrama) and the teacher and principal, whom I had to threaten with expensive litigation to give the girl a chance.

    Took away my significant other’s weekly cash and commanded a 30 day turn around. Today, that same child is putting herself through Pet Doctor school. She always had a sweet heart and great mind.

    But the real world was a teacher who had hit upon me and a wife unkind.

    The world – in reality – is fickle!

  12. This is precisely what happens when common sense and compassion are bureaucratized out of the system. It’s sclerosis of the institutional brain.

  13. PC and zero tolerance are what public schools use as the foundation of their discipline system. The education industry has wreaked havoc not only on education, but our Constitution. Time for the public to take back public education from an industry more damaging than the military/industrial complex.

  14. “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.

  15. Actually, running to the authorities wasn’t egregious and an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of a minor (I assume) is something that has to be done with a fairly broad brush.

    I’d say that the school overreacted but I’m guessing the entire tenor of the discussion would be different if it’d been a female student and a male teacher. Even Turley wouldn’t be complaining about the investigation or dissenting from the view that the statement was a de facto allegation of rape and, hence, the threatening, intimidating or assault of a teacher.

  16. What a complete sham of due process.

    1) Why did the reporting parent run to the authorities over something as mindless as this?
    2) Why did the police investigation last more than 15 seconds? It clearly is not a police matter.
    3) Did the school seem to forget that students say weird things hourly?
    4) I wonder if the punishments increased the more the student pushed back and articulted his rights.

    The school administration should suspend themselves because it was its faculty that disrupted the educational environment.

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