Judge OKs lawsuit by teen suspended from school over a tweet

Author:
Updated:
Original:

A former Rogers High School student who was suspended last year for sending a two-word tweet can move forward with his lawsuit against school officials and the police chief.

Federal Judge John Tunheim Tuesday rejected a request from the defendants to dismiss the lawsuit which was filed by Reid Sagehorn, according to the Star Tribune.

Tunheim ruled there were grounds for Sagehorn's complaints that the school district may have violated his First Amendment rights and defamed him.

Sagehorn received a seven-week suspension from Rogers High School for the tweet, which he sent in January 2014. When asked online about a rumor that he “made out” with a 28-year-old teacher, Sagehorn responded “actually, yeah,” and the message was posted to Twitter.

Sagehorn said the response was sarcasm, but the school quickly 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, who was a senior at the time and the captain of the football and basketball teams.

Police also investigated the tweet, but the Hennepin County attorney’s office declined to file criminal charges due to insufficient evidence.

What the lawsuit claims

In the lawsuit, which was filed in June 2014, Sagehorn claims the defendants linked his name with criminal activity and took away his right to privacy and free speech.

The lawsuit also claims the defendants forced Sagehorn to withdraw from Rogers High School and negatively impacted his future educational and occupational opportunities.

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

Named in the suit were Rogers Schools Superintendent Mark Bezek; Assistant Superintendent Jana Hennen-Burr, Rogers Police Chief Jeffrey Beahen and police officer Stephen Sarazin.

Tunheim ruled the suit can continue against all of them except Sarazin.

The police investigation confirmed that Sagehorn and the teacher did not have a relationship, according to KSTP.

Sagehorn enrolled in a different high school and graduated from there in 2014.

Next Up

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2

Minnesota confirms America's 1st case of Brazil P.1 COVID strain

The strain was found in a Twin Cities metro resident who recently traveled to Brazil.

classroom

Gov. Walz announces education plan aimed at eliminating disparities

The plan covers seven categories, including closing the racial education gap and improving opportunities in rural Minnesota

Tax forms

Charges: Otsego cleaning business underreported sales

An Otsego woman is accused of owing more than $20,500 in sales tax, penalties and interest.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 2.58.26 PM

Walz gives vaccine providers 3-day, 7-day deadlines to use doses

Those that don't use their allocation will be given less in the future.

purse

Border officers seize more than $550K in counterfeit designer goods

The shipments of fake goods were seized on Jan. 22.

Landfill plastic bags

4 Twin Cities landfills seek to expand capacity

This comes as the area's waste-to-energy facilities are operating at capacity.

Marcus Carr

3 of 10 finalists for NCAA's top point guard award have MN ties

Not a bad way to represent the State of... Basketball?

Justice, court

Minnesota grants unconditional pardon to grandmother facing deportation

Gov. Tim Walz says it's the first full pardon granted by the state in 35 years.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota changes vaccine appointment process, here's what to know

Walz also announced plans for a mass vaccination event at Xcel Energy Center.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, Jan. 25

The latest figures from MDH have been released.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota health leaders say state's vaccine progress better than figures suggest

Minnesota is lagging behind national vaccination rates, but MDH leaders say this is because it's holding 2nd doses in reserve.

Related