Student suspended for tweeting two words will get to sue his school, police chief


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2015/08/14/student-suspended-for-tweeting.html


#2

He then extended the suspension for five more days, and told Sagehorn’s parents he’d done it because they were “questioning his authority” resulting in his “getting angry.”

So much ammunition here! The student is punished because the parents questioned the principal’s authority? And he had no choice but to “get angry,” because those magical parents have complete control over his emotions.


#3

The implication here seems to be that you can’t possibly harass, threat, or intimidate if you limit yourself to two words…? That’s an interesting precedent.

Also, curious how [name of female teacher]'s thoughts on the matter seem to be absent.


#4

This sounds remarkably consistent with my experience with school ‘authority’ figures, though in my case the end result was my dad becoming the president of the PTA for the rest of the time me and my sister were at the school, rather than a lawsuit. He did this so he could be a pain in the administration’s posterior for as long as the principal was there.


#5

Let’s get to the heart of the matter: did @R_Sagehorn3 actually make out with [name of female teacher at Rogers High School]? Or what?

♫♪"Tell me morrrre, tell me morrrre…"♫♪


#6

there’s merit to both these points of view. on the one hand the officials seem to be going out of their way to make the student look ill-used but at the same time the student did trash the reputaion of the teacher. someone needs to be looking out for her interests in a forum that upholds the student’s rights as well. to be bad that neither seem to be happening.


#7

Further, although Beahen asserts that the complaint is too vague to enable him to identify the news reports Sagehorn quotes, during oral argument on Beahen’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, Beahen’s counsel offered to play for the Court the exact Fox 9 news video containing the alleged defamatory statements identified in the complaint.

Whoops. That’s gotta be a little embarrassing for the lawyer to be called out that flatly on that one.


#8

Actually Yes.


#9

Yes, teachers are powerless when it comes to students and students have all the advantages and rights in a school setting. Also, this is the first teacher to be made fun of after class. And there is no forum in which the teacher could make the argument that she was harmed by the statements in a formal proceeding. And this is the exact same thing as threats or harassment. And none of the response from the school is overblown by half.


#10

No, the implication is that you can’t harass, threaten, or intimidate with two words if those words don’t constitute harassment, threats, or intimidation. Jokingly confirming an anonymous rumor without providing details to substantiate the claim is hardly any of those three.

I agree that the teacher’s perspective should be considered, but unless the administration took action against her because they believed the claim or there was some kind of demonstrable effect on the teacher elsewhere, the most that should have happened is that the student should have been made to apologize to the teacher and issue a formal denial/“JK LOL” of the rumor.


#11

Was definitely on Mr. Sagehorn’s side in this matter until I took a look at his Twitter profile pictures. Have switched allegiances.


#12

Sounds like an awesome dad. Not sarcasm, but to have a dad that’s willing to do that for his kids, yea.


#13

Hmm, publicly calling Sagehorn a felon sounds to me like libel…
Oops, oral…slander, not libel. Though if it did get written down…


#14

I know you were being sarcastic, @ActionAbe, but this is actually true. Suppose a student is using a mobile phone in class and I am the teacher. I tell the student to put the phone away and the student doesn’t comply. What are my options?

-Take the phone? I end up getting called into a meeting with administrators and parents angry that I stole the student’s property and prevented them from being able to get in touch with the student or vice versa.

-Send the student to the office? The administrators send them right back to class, mobile phone in hand, on the grounds that they have more important things to do than their job.

-Penalize the student’s grade, say through a class participation element to the grade? Another meeting with administrators and angry parents.

And perhaps I should mention that in any meeting with a teacher, administrators, and angry parents the administrators will usually be on the parents’ side since the administrators have no leverage over the parents to get them to be reasonable, but do have leverage over the teachers to force them to bend backwards to do whatever it takes to shut the parents up.

It is absolutely fucked up for a student to allege improper conduct between him- or herself and a teacher. The teacher could easily get suspended or fired just on the basis of the student’s say-so even if there is not a shred of truth to the allegations.


#15

If it’s televised then it’s usually prosecuted as libel rather than slander as it is essentially published.


#16

The obvious rejoinder is: it’s okay if you harass, threaten, or intimidate as long as you’re only joking ?


#17

What if they did “make out”? A teacher having an inappropriate relationship with a student, and there isn’t any mention of an investigation into that?!


#18

I object to the student’s inclusion of the criminally overused word “actually” in his tweet.

Despite that, I hope the principal and cop get their asses handed to them in court.


#19

I’d argue that if he was the one to actually make the (undisputedly baseless) allegation, then he deserves punishment. But since he didn’t actually make the claim and just went with it and tweeted “actually, yes” he deserves a different sort of punishment.
But I don’t see how the school is in a position to be the ones to dish out the punishment in any case.
That it then gets taken to ridiculous extremes just makes this bizarre.


#20

He doesn’t deserve to have the book thrown at him for this.

But things could be threwnded nonetheless.