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Student gets $425K settlement after he was suspended for tweet

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A former Rogers High School student who was suspended over a tweet will receive $425,000 to settle a lawsuit he filed in 2014 against the Elk River School District and the Rogers Police Chief.

The school district will pay $325,000 to Reid Sagehorn, and the city of Rogers is responsible for the other $100,000, according to the Star Tribune.

Both the school board and the city council approved the payouts last week, the Star News reports, which adds the bulk of the money will go toward paying attorneys' fees.

Sagehorn, 19, claimed in the suit 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 his response was meant to be a joke, but the school quickly took disciplinary action. 

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.

He then transferred to St. Michael-Albertville High School for the final four months of his senior year. Sagehorn is now attending college. 

No criminal charges were filed against him.

Sagehorn's lawsuit claimed school officials and the Rogers police chief linked his name with criminal activity and took away his right to privacy and free speech. It also said the defendants inflicted mental anguish and negatively impacted his future educational and occupational opportunities.

The lawsuit pointed out the activity in question took place outside of school hours, was not on school grounds and did not involve school property. 

Attorneys for both the school district and the city of Rogers said they settled the case to avoid the potentially higher costs if the case went to trial, according to the Star Tribune. They also did not admit any wrongdoing in how they handled the situation.

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