High school student suspended over tweet sues district, police chief

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Reid Sagehorn, the high school student who was suspended for a tweet earlier this year, has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Elk River School District, the superintendent and principal of Rogers High School, and the Rogers police chief, among others, according to reports.

Sagehorn claims his constitutional rights were violated when he received a seven-week suspension from Rogers High School for the two-word tweet. When asked online about a rumor that he “made out” with a 28-year-old teacher, Sagehorn responded “actually, yes,” and the message was posted to Twitter.

Sagehorn said the response was sarcasm, but the school quickly suspended him.

In the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday, Sagehorn claims the people mentioned in the lawsuit have linked his name with criminal activity and took away his right to privacy and free speech, KARE 11 says. The lawsuit also says the defendants inflicted mental anguish and negatively impacted his future educational and occupational opportunities, the news station reports.

Sagehorn is seeking monetary damages and other forms of legal relief, WCCO reports.

The school initially suspended him for five days, for causing damage to the teacher's reputation. The suspension was then extended to 10 days, and then extended again to two months, which sparked an outcry of support for Sagehorn.

Police also investigated the tweet, but the Hennepin County attorney's office announced that no criminal charges would be filed due to insufficient evidence.

Sagehorn enrolled in a different high school just four months before he was set to graduate. The Star Tribune reports he recently graduated from St. Michael-Albertville High School and plans to attend North Dakota State this fall.

The lawsuit also asks that references to Sagehorn being suspended or expelled be removed from his record, and that the school district change its policies and procedures so no other student will have to go through what he did, KARE 11 reports.

Elk River schools Superintendent Mark Bezek told the Star Tribune he was stunned by the lawsuit, but had no comment Tuesday morning because he hadn't seen a copy of it.

Click here to see the full lawsuit in .pdf form.

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