School, Police Chief Must Face Lawsuit Brought By Student Suspended For 10 Days For Tweeting 'Actually, Yes'

from the farcical-behavior-could-result-in-real-damages dept

Two words, delivered in jest, are now the focus of a civil rights lawsuit filed by a suspended student against his former school and, incredibly, the local police chief. There were a million ways this debacle could have been avoided, but the school district has decided doubling-down on its stupidity was the only way out of the mess it chose to create. After all, it won't lose much more than a bit of its reputation. If the plaintiff wins, it's taxpayers who will be footing the bill for the school's self-destructive, massively stupid overreaction.

Here's where it all began:

In February 2014, [Reid] Sagehorn was an honor student at Rogers High School, a member of the National Honor Society, and a four-time recipient of the Scholastic Achievement Award. He was a varsity letterman in football, basketball, and baseball, as well as the named captain of the basketball team in 2012 and both the football and basketball teams in 2013. Prior to February 2014, Sagehorn had never been subject to any disciplinary actions by Rogers High School, aside from a single parking ticket. On October 11, 2013, he was admitted to North Dakota State University (“NDSU”), pending completion of all work for any remaining courses taken prior to his enrollment.
Stellar student, but he went two words too far.
On January 26, 2014, someone anonymously posted on a website titled “Roger confessions” the following: “did @R_Sagehorn3 actually make out with [name of female teacher at Rogers High School]?” Sagehorn did not create or maintain the “Roger confessions” website. In response, Sagehorn posted “actually yes,” which he intended to be taken in jest. The post was made the same day, outside of school hours and not on school grounds. Sagehorn was not at a school-sponsored event at the time he made his post, nor did he use any school property to make the post.
A non-event. Teens will be teens. Not school-related in any way but the use of a teacher's name. No one's business but the jokesters amusing themselves with a little off-color banter. But, if any rational behavior had followed this non-incident, we wouldn't be quoting parts of a legal filing.

Roughly a week later, some "helpful" parent started the stupid ball rolling by contacting the school. It wasn't until February 3 that Sagehorn was summoned to the principal's office. It quickly became clear anything resembling a proportionate response wasn't in the works.

The principal (Roman Pierskalla) called Sagehorn to the office and brought with him a fully-uniformed school police officer (Stephen Sarazin). Pierskalla told Sagehorn he was suspending him for five days for "damaging a teacher's reputation." To support his decision, he pulled a page out of the school policy manual that referred to "threatening, intimidating or assaulting a teacher, administrator or staff member." Clearly, Sagehorn's two-word tweet had performed none of these infractions.

A week later, Pierskalla talked to Sagehorn and his parents and told them he was extending the suspension another five days, giving them no reason for doing so. He further defended his unilateral extension by "getting angry" at Sagehorn's parents for "questioning his authority."

Sagehorn's parents went over Pierskalla's head and requested an open-ended hearing with the school board to determine whether the principal's actions were justified. They received two responses, both equally asinine, but one carrying potential consequences far more damaging than a blighted academic record.
About an hour later, [Officer] Sarazin called Lori Sagehorn and left her a voicemail telling her that he had forwarded police reports from the postings to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office for their review and decision as to whether to charge Sagehorn with any crimes.

[...]

[Superintendent Mark] Bezek and [Asst. Superintendent Jana] Hennen-Burr represented to the Sagehorns that they could have a hearing in front of a hearing officer to contest the expulsion. Sagehorn alleges that Bezek and Hennen-Burr also informed the Sagehorns, however, that a hearing would be meaningless and the outcome was pre-ordained. In addition, Bezek and Hennen-Burr warned the Sagehorns that the school would consider increasing the expulsion punishment through the remainder of the school year if they requested a hearing. Bezek and Hennen-Burr told the Sagehorns that an expulsion of any duration would likely cause NDSU to withdraw its early acceptance of Reid Sagehorn and therefore the only real option was to withdraw Sagehorn from school. They then presented the Sagehorns with a pre-drafted withdrawal agreement.
Everything about this chain of events indicates the district employs too many people who cannot abide with having their decisions challenged. There's nothing in this that doesn't stink of retaliation. In addition to the school's actions, Sagehorn also had to deal with public statements made by Rogers' Chief of Police Jeffrey Beahen, who publicly called Sagehorn a felon.

Here's one of Beahen's statement's:
We sent the case down for review by the county attorney,” Beahen said. “The case would be potentially criminal defamation. The student said something about a teacher that could have cost her career.”

He said a teacher having a relationship with a student is a felony, so implying such was not taken lightly.

“The teacher is a victim, she’s being harassed,” he said.
Here's another, but with additional stupid.
“That’s a crime. It just wasn’t a tweet that went from Jimmy to John. It got up on this anonymous website where people weren’t supposed to use names.” Beahen said, also adding:

“It’s like screaming ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater or ‘I have a bomb’ on an airplane,” Beahen said, “If you say something on a very public forum, there are consequences. This young, innocent teacher is the victim here.”
All of the parties named in Sagehorn's suit have asked for a dismissal or, failing that, immunity. The only one walking away from the suit alleging First and Fourteenth Amendment violations is Officer Sarazin, who the judge has determined was little more than a passive bystander through most of this.

The school attempted to claim Sagehorn's two-word reply wasn't protected by the First Amendment because it was "obscene." It brought a variety of dictionaries with it to allege that "making out" actually could be taken to mean "had sexual intercourse with," thus making his two-word affirmation akin to say he had performed a sexual act with a teacher. The court doesn't find this argument persuasive and brings something actually obscene to buttress its rebuttal.
Even if the Court were to find that Sagehorn’s post unambiguously referred to sexual intercourse, the content actually attributable to Sagehorn – a response of “actually yes” – is not nearly as graphic as the content courts have found obscene as a matter of law. [...]

The stark contrast between Sagehorn’s speech and speech that would now be considered obscene is particularly evident when this case is compared to other recent obscenity cases. Sagehorn’s post, for example, markedly differs from a student tweet deemed obscene in Rosario v. Clark County School District, 2013, cited by the School Defendants. In Rosario, the court concluded that a tweet, which was sent off-campus after a basketball game, was obscene when it expressed a hope that the basketball coach “gets fucked in tha ass by 10 black dicks.” [...]

“[G]ets fucked” is an unambiguous appeal to prurient interest. Unlike “make out,” there is no ambiguity as to whether the Rosario tweet referred to sexual intercourse.
The school also tried the "lewd and vulgar" argument -- in the context of a school environment -- as being sufficient to shield it against First Amendment claims. Again, the court uses the school's citations against it.
While Fraser offers school officials significant discretion to define “vulgar” speech delivered on school grounds, Fraser is clearly limited to on-campus speech. The Supreme Court stated that such discipline is restricted to “[t]he determination of what manner of speech in the classroom or in school assembly is appropriate.”
The school similarly had no luck with its plea for qualified immunity.
The law is sufficiently clear that on facts such as the complaint alleges in this case – a student using personal property to make non-threatening speech off-campus, that in no way impacts or disrupts the school environment – a student would have a clearly established right to free speech. The Court further concludes that a reasonable officer or school official would understand that punishing such speech would violate the student’s clearly-established right. Therefore, the Court finds that the School Defendants are not entitled to qualified immunity on Sagehorn’s First Amendment claim. The Court will accordingly deny the School Defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings as to Sagehorn’s First Amendment claim.
While Police Chief Beahen won't be facing civil rights claims, he's won't be able to walk away from Sagehorn's defamation allegations.
The Court concludes that Sagehorn’s complaint adequately pleads a defamation claim against Beahen. Sagehorn’s complaint identifies specific quotations by Beahen – for example, that Sagehorn’s post was like “crying or yelling ‘Fire!’ in a movie theater or saying ‘I got a bomb!’ on a plane” – and at least one specific media outlet to which allegedly defamatory statements were made – the Star Tribune. Sagehorn’s complaint does not include lengthy quotations or full context for the statements, but they are much more specific than, for example, in Magee, where the plaintiff alleged that the defamatory statements were “those found in the Hearing Committee determination,” with no further specificity.

[...]

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. Therefore, the Court finds that the complaint gave Beahen sufficient information to identify the relevant statements and news reports.
Sagehorn's lawsuit is allowed to proceed and both the school and Police Chief Beahen will potentially be ordered to hand over damages for their participation in a debacle that combined a complete lack of better judgment with retaliatory behavior. And all over two small words that would have gone largely unnoticed if the school's principal hadn't been so intent on overstepping the boundaries of his authority.


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 4:07am

    The worst crime possible in the eyes of the petty

    Questioning authority.

    That, I imagine, was the real drive behind such insane overreactions, the fact that the student and his parents dared to question the authority of the high and mighty idiots in charge.

    This bit in particular...

    'In addition, Bezek and Hennen-Burr warned the Sagehorns that the school would consider increasing the expulsion punishment through the remainder of the school year if they requested a hearing.'

    Is nothing less than blatantly threatening the student and his parents if they dared to try and challenge the decision already decided on. 'Sure you can appeal the punishment, but doing so is just going to make it worse'.

    Everyone involved on the school and police sides acted like petty bullies, lashing out at those that had the utter gall to stand up to them and question their authority, and every last one of them need to be fired and/or held personally responsible for their actions.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:38am

      Re: The worst crime possible in the eyes of the petty

      Clearly amounts to an abuse of authority.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:40am

      Re: The worst crime possible in the eyes of the petty

      This bit in particular...

      'In addition, Bezek and Hennen-Burr warned the Sagehorns that the school would consider increasing the expulsion punishment through the remainder of the school year if they requested a hearing.'

      Is nothing less than blatantly threatening the student and his parents if they dared to try and challenge the decision already decided on. 'Sure you can appeal the punishment, but doing so is just going to make it worse'.


      This is down to the fact that plea bargaining has become such a standard practice in the US that people don't realise how morally indefensible it is. This is the same tactic that cost the life of Aaron Swartz.

      We need to clean out this practice wherever it occurs - it has nothing to do with justice.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      andy, 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:17am

      Re: The worst crime possible in the eyes of the petty

      Just another example of someone who has let the tiny little bit of power they have go to their heads, and the police chief, well this is just an example of power crazy and lack of ability to identify real problems, more than likely he is the type of cop that will end up shooting an unarmed kid for running away from him for no reason other than they are afraid of him because he went crazy when they did not reply to him when he called them or something just as insignificant.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 5:59pm

      Re: The worst crime possible in the eyes of the petty

      what sort of sick society allows such petty thugs to rise to positions of authority like school principal and police chief

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:09pm

        Re: Re: The worst crime possible in the eyes of the petty

        One with people that aren't perfect.

        Unfortunately the sleazy and corrupt tend to rise to positions of authority and/or power more often than not, because they're willing to do things that the more honest aren't, and once a few of them make it they tend to rig the system to keep themselves in power and make it difficult if not impossible to oust them or take away their power.

        There's also a bit of 'those in power are in power because they know better' going on, where people assume that just because someone's in a position of authority it means that they know better what should happen, since clearly they know what they're doing/talking about, after all, they're in a position of authority.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2015 @ 9:13am

      Re: The worst crime possible in the eyes of the petty

      its too bad these people wont be finacially liable - but with any luck they will lose their jobs! They clearly dont have the publics interests in mind.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Vladilyich, 15 Aug 2015 @ 8:33pm

      Re: The worst crime possible in the eyes of the petty

      Question authority and the authorities will question you...

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    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 17 Aug 2015 @ 1:17am

      Re: The worst crime possible in the eyes of the petty

      That threat about expulsion if the parents demand their legal right to a hearing meets the test for Extortion under Minnesota statutes.

      It's a threat that would harm the boy's future prospects by making him ineligible for the university, and therefore his future career. Statute 609.27(1)(3) seems to fit.


      https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?year=2006&id=609.27

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 5:13am

    and every last one of them need to be fired and/or held personally responsible for their actions

    This should cost their jobs. If such kind of abuses don't start putting people out of their positions and possibly into unemployment such things won't stop happening.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 5:50am

      Response to: Ninja on Aug 14th, 2015 @ 5:13am

      Exactly. Too often individuals majorly fuck up (vulgar!!) and they personally don't recieve punishment. Especially those in senior leadership positions that are the actionees need to face punishment

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Tater, 26 Jul 2016 @ 2:18pm

      Re:

      It looks like Dr. Mark Bezek just did. He resigned his postion in Rogers and took a new one in Somerset WI. Of course he positioned this as career move but who willingly goes from a $195K/yr job to a $140K/yr one?

      By the way, don't you love educators who just have to let people know they have a PhD or Ed.D? My father-in-law, a recently retired professor of anthropolgy (undergrad Notre Dame, PhD Ohio State) never referred to himself as doctor or even professor. Most top level academics and educators don't, but these guys who get their Ed.Ds from institutions like "St. Bidmus of the Swamp" cant help themselves.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 5:53am

    >“It’s like screaming ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater

    No, no, no, nope, nononononono no! Absolutely nothing like that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:14am

      Re:

      >“It’s like screaming ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater

      No, no, no, nope, nononononono no! Absolutely nothing like that.


      I don't know about that. When you consider that the original that the original "can't shout fire in a crowded theater" statement was in a 1919 Supreme Court decision ruling that yes, a guy could be imprisoned for protesting WWI conscription, some similarities do come to mind.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:25am

        Re: Re:

        Unfortunately the First Amendment seems to be a magnet for absurd special pleading.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Richard (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:34am

        Re: Re:

        “It’s like screaming ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater

        No, no, no, nope, nononononono no! Absolutely nothing like that.


        And actually - if you think about it hard enough, shouting Fire in a crowded theatre isn't that bad.

        If there is a panic/stampede that causes injury then it is clear that the authorities haven't lived up to their responsibilities in providing suitable evacuation routes and clearly informing their customers about them. So any problem is really their responsiobility.

        If on the other hand they have provided good evacuation procedures then everyone will elave the building calmy and in order and no great harm will have been done.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          JP Jones (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:08am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Or, the most likely result is that everyone would look around, notice that there isn't actually a fire, and tell the idiot to shut the hell up and watch the movie.

          Seriously, people double check even after hearing actual gunshots to see what's going on, do you honestly believe anyone is going to jump up and run out of a theater in blind panic just because one person claimed there was a fire that no one can see or hear?

          The biggest myth in the "fire in a crowded theater" piece isn't the law, it's that apparently people think everyone else instantly reacts to baseless exclamations of danger in sufficient levels to cause injury to others. Yeah, right.

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      • identicon
        Anon, 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:38am

        Re: Re:

        Re:


        >“It’s like screaming ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater

        >>No, no, no, nope, nononononono no! Absolutely nothing like that.


        >I don't know about that. When you consider that the original that the original "can't shout fire in a crowded theater" statement was in a 1919 Supreme Court decision ruling that yes, a guy could be imprisoned for protesting WWI conscription, some similarities do come to mind.

        Yes, IIRC the original decision was much later described by Justice Holmes as one of his worst, and was subsequently overturned by later SCOTUS decisions. Everyone who hears this expression should learn the whole history.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:02am

    In the past..

    ..school was where you went to get smarter.

    Now, it seems to be where you go to get Stupid. Lots and Lots of heaping helpings of Stupid.

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:56am

      No, school is still where you go to get smarter...

      ...just a different kind of smarter. Street smarter.

      Such as the harsh lesson that people in power will abuse that power, especially if they are insecure about their position.

      Not literature, composition or mathematics, but still, a pertinent lesson in the contemporary era.

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  • identicon
    David of Ex-Pataland, 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:13am

    The crazy is getting crazier

    The US is going seriously off the rails. This sort of over-reaction to a non-event (is that okay? 2 hyphens close enough to be neighbors?) is what happens when a people become shrill, scared and obsessed with authority. These days you're either the giver or the receiver of authority, with no questioning permitted. The pettiness of the school officials is on full display, although I'm sure they don't see it that way. Ya, rules must be followed, your majesty.... I'm glad I skipped town.

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    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:39am

      Re: The crazy is getting crazier

      You could go back 50 years and find this same kind of petty authority, and it probably happens in other countries too. The only difference is now these idiots get worldwide attention.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:20am

    Let me fix this for you

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:21am

    Let me fix this for you

    And all over two small words that would have gone largely unnoticed if the school's principal hadn't been so intent on o̶v̶e̶r̶s̶t̶e̶p̶p̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶o̶u̶n̶d̶a̶r̶i̶e̶s̶ the establishing of his authority.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Richard (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:28am

    Harm to her career?

    The student said something about a teacher that could have cost her career.
    Or made her well qualified to be chief inspector of schools like Chris Woodhead in the UK.

    When he was a teacher he had a relationship with a 17 year old pupil (he claims it only started after she left school but his then wife says that this claim is untrue)

    In 1999, he ..[said that] pupil/teacher relationships could be 'experiential and educative on both sides'.

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  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:39am

    WILL YOU PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN! THE SCHOOL IS ONLY TRYING TO PROTECT...oh wait...

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  • icon
    FITZ! (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:45am

    "Felon"

    I just want to address one minor part of this atrocious story. You said, "...Chief of Police Jeffrey Beahen... publicly called Sagehorn a felon." And follow it up with this quote: "He said a teacher having a relationship with a student is a felony, so implying such was not taken lightly." This quote asserts that sexual contact between teacher and student is a felony on the part of the teacher. This does not imply that Sagehorn is a felon. But, if this quote is not meant as evidence of your claim, then I rescind my comment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:54am

      Re: "Felon"

      You'd better withdraw it then because Beahen is on record in the court proceedings as : "intentionally commented to the news media about Sagehorn’s conduct, stating “that’s a crime” and adding that Sagehorn “could face felony charges” for the post."

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      • icon
        ltlw0lf (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:56am

        Re: Re: "Felon"

        "intentionally commented to the news media about Sagehorn’s conduct, stating “that’s a crime” and adding that Sagehorn “could face felony charges” for the post."

        I'd love to see what crime Beahen is referring to when he talks about Sagehorn being charged with felony charges. False reporting of a crime (MN PC 609.505) is a misdemeanor charge, and it is very specific in the fact requirements (materially and known false statement made to a uniformed police officer.) Even a false report of child abuse (MN PC 509.507) is a misdemeanor. Of course, MN PC 609.77 makes it a misdemeanor to provide false information to the news media:

        609.77 FALSE INFORMATION TO NEWS MEDIA.

        Whoever, with intent that it be published or disseminated and that it defame another person, communicates to any newspaper, magazine or other news media, any statement, knowing it to be false, is guilty of a misdemeanor.


        Seems at the least to be exaggeration and at the worse to be defamation of character. Wonder if they can prove that Beahen knew that what he was saying to the media was false.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:46am

    The Tax Payers

    If the plaintiff wins, it's taxpayers who will be footing the bill for the school's self-destructive, massively stupid overreaction.

    SO SICK OF SEEING THIS!

    The tax payers ARE AND SHOULD BE THE ONES FOOTING THE BILL. We are responsible for who runs the show, when we give just exactly such a minuscule amount of shit that we do, then this is what we get!

    The Tax Payer, SHOULD ALWAYS FOOT THE BILL! It is literally what we voted for!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      metalliqaz (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:24am

      Re: The Tax Payers

      That principal wasn't voted into office.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re: The Tax Payers

        Please, retire the stupid, you are carrying far to much of it around.

        At the end of the day, someone that WAS elected is in fact in charge, and is able to do something about this. This is why the taxpayers SHOULD ALWAYS foot the bill.

        You, like most other worthless citizens, cannot seem to connected the dots and just blindly accepts the idea that 'blaming others' for what is in fact YOUR OWN PROBLEM... is a great way to go through life.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          CK20XX (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:20am

          Re: Re: Re: The Tax Payers

          I kinda agree with you. Apathy seems strong among people nowadays and people don't seem to pay as much attention to their communities as they should. Even things that seem out of our hands, like controlling who becomes the principal of a school, could probably be influenced if people just acted more. In fact, I'd go so far as to assert that most people have a lot more control over their lives than they think they do.

          But you made your points in the worst way possible, so, reported. That's what happens when you work hard to be wrong even when you're right.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 9:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The Tax Payers

            I think this is a larger part of the problem.

            You just said that the way I delivered the message is more important than the message. This is directly associate with that apathy you spoke of. As long as you keep asking to be treated like a child with kid gloves and gentle speech you get treated like one!!! and even worse... you will continue to act like one!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              CK20XX (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 1:19pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Tax Payers

              I'm afraid that's incorrect. If the way you delivered the message was more important than the message itself, then I wouldn't have acknowledged the points that you were trying to make, but failed to.

              If you continue to talk like that, you'll just become an old man shouting at the hills. What good is it to be right when you're also ineffective? Fight smarter, not harder.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 1:52pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Tax Payers

                Because people have a penchant for listening to quite and wise old men?

                People will not even read or look at history to avoid making its mistakes.

                The squeaky wheel gets the grease, there is an entire industry of Media that like to report on shock value more than the story that says I am right.

                Politics in his nation have been very soft compared to history and we are on the decline, history clearly rests on my side. Sure it is horrible, that is just how humans are. If you don't jolt them awake, they stay asleep!

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  CK20XX (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 2:58pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Tax Payers

                  People won't give you their confidence if you're dour or overbearing, even if you think it's for their own good. And if the people aren't behind you, then you have no power or influence.

                  You're not going to jolt anyone awake. To be brutally honest, that idea is a delusion. Instead you're just going to make people dismiss you because it takes too much effort to sort through your noise and see if there's anything useful in it.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          OldMugwump (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:21am

          Re: Re: Re: The Tax Payers

          "Worthless citizens" is needless hyperbole and provocation.

          But, I agree with your point - voters chose the idiot politicians who hired the idiot school officials.

          If you support our current form of democracy, then the voters who elected these people are clearly to blame, and deserve to pay the damages via taxes.

          I look at it as illustrating the flaws in our democracy - voters don't vary that much, they are what they are. The point of a political system is to arrange things such that reasonable outcomes happen.

          Our democracy needs major reform.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:43am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The Tax Payers

            This reform is only possible if people want it, and based on this article alone, its pretty clear people don't want it, or have given up, or in the case of the person I got angry with just flat out ignorant of it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              OldMugwump (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Tax Payers

              Reform is possible within a democratic system if the people don't oppose it.

              That's hard to get, but not as hard as getting the people to "want it".

              Look at how Donald Trump is doing in the polls. If that's not an indication that people want a change - *ANY* *CHANGE* *AT* *ALL* (even if obviously idiotic), I don't know what would be.

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              • icon
                Mason Wheeler (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 1:51pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Tax Payers

                Oh, that's just the current cycle in motion.

                Bush Sr. was a disappointing president, going back on his "Read my lips: no new taxes" promise and alienating the voters, so they threw him out and brought in the opposite, a President from the opposite party who was (relatively) young, suave, and hip.

                We all know what happened then: he turned out to be a thoroughly corrupt leader and a sexual predator to boot, and was worse than Bush Sr. After years of constant scandal, the people got sick of Clinton and threw him out and brought in the opposite, a President form the opposite party who ran on a platform of "restoring dignity to the White House."

                That didn't turn out so well either. Bush Jr. would most likely have made a decent, if unexceptional, peacetime president, but he got in way over his head after 9/11 and ended up being a worse president than Clinton had. So then what happened? This should be easy enough to explain by now: the voters threw him out and brought in a new president from the opposite party who ironically enough campaigned on the same basic premise as Bush Jr. There's not much difference between "Hope and Change" and "restore dignity to the White House" when the thing you're changing is the supremely undignified inhabitant of the White House.

                And so far, it hasn't worked out. We haven't seen much change except in a negative direction, and Obama's doubled down on a lot of the worst Bush-era policies that he promised to reform. Again, he's been an even worse president than Bush, and people are getting sick of it.

                So what's going to happen in the next election? That should be obvious: we're almost certainly going to end up with whichever Republican candidate most successfully manages to portray himself as the anti-Obama... and he's probably going to somehow be even worse. I really hope that's not what happens, but we've got a very clear pattern established over the past few decades, and no signs of anything fundamental changing that would break us out of it.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 2:00pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Tax Payers

                  If people are smart they would be less concerned with restoring dignity to the White House and restoring dignity to the Constitution.

                  How many people running are even giving a care to that?

                  At the end of the day, not even Trump and his rumpus will change much, at most he might be able to pull the strings necessary to resolve the illegals straining the system, but I am not so sure he really gives a damn about any of the citizens other than being the head honcho.

                  As long as we keep taking candidate from either party we will not be seeing any change. People just do not realize that the party system was designed to Silence 'The People' because once you get someone up there that speaks for 'The People' the party will just tell them to shut up and follow leadership instead OR ELSE!

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                  • icon
                    Mason Wheeler (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 2:31pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Tax Payers

                    ...or they're just not interested in all the effort and stress it would require, as appears to be the case with Elizabeth Warren. (One of the few people in today's political scene who I'd consider a truly good candidate for President.)

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                • icon
                  OldMugwump (profile), 15 Aug 2015 @ 8:25am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Tax Payers

                  I read history the same way you do.

                  That's why I think we need major reform to the system - the voters are not going to change, so the system has to.

                  Altho I'm not at all a fan of Elisabeth Warren, despite being one of her constituents here in Massachusetts. But I will say she's a lot more honest than 90% of Congress. I think she's honestly wrong about a lot of things, but not corrupt.

                  I'll say the same for Rand Paul, who is actually running.

                  Actually, I'd love to see a Warren vs. Paul election - it would be fascinating. But without reform, probably not a successful administration for whoever wins.

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      • icon
        minijedimaster (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:22am

        Re: Re: The Tax Payers

        The school board is elected by the voting community. The board hires the principle of their choice to run the school.

        Also, in the case of this particular story, it sounds like the school board backed up the over reaction of the principle, so they are just a culpable as anyone else involved.

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:23am

      When state agents mess up, the taxpayers pay

      That creates something of a moral hazard since those who transgressed on others are not the ones being penalized for their misdeeds.

      As a result, there is no motivation for them to behave responsibly and conduct themselves as would a leader.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 2:15pm

        Re: When state agents mess up, the taxpayers pay

        Exactly so, and that's the main reason I think such arguments are so incredibly stupid.

        Beyond punishing the public for not being able to see the future(seriously, how many people run for office by saying that they will abuse their authority as soon as they can or appoint others who will?) if the ones responsible never face punishment for the actions, if the 'punishment' is always shifted to someone else, then they have absolutely zero reason not to abuse their authority and position. What do they care, they're not the ones paying or losing their job if a lawsuit is filed.

        Punish the ones actually responsible, and they and those in similar positions will have motivation not to abuse their position and authority. Punish someone else, and there is no motivation for them to act properly at all.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:03am

    I don't blame the school or the police chief in this matter. While they did keep escalating the issue, it was Sagehorn who created this SNAFU in the first place. Did Sagehorn's parents have any what their son did? Maligning a teacher's reputation by claiming he had sex with her? Just what the hell did he think would happen?

    Sagehorn isn't innocent in this matter and he should have been disciplined, which he was. His parents should have let the matter drop. But, they didn't.

    Sagehorn's tweet suggested that he had sex with the teacher. If he did not, then eh should not have made the tweet. I don't think either party is going to come out of this one if this lawsuit proceeds. The Sagehorns, the school and the police chief are all going to end up with egg on their face because this is an absolute embarrassment for all parties involved.

    Sagehorn falsely lied about having sex with a teacher, he made allusions to it to someone else's post, and that is a crime, even lying about it is a crime.

    I think the teacher should file a lawsuit against the Sagehorn family for the tweet. The female teacher does have a case for defamation and libel.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:18am

      Re:

      Judging by this article, at no point did Sagehorn claim to have sex. The phrase "make out" means "kissed on the mouth" in all but the most prudish minds, and only even a handful of those.

      So, are you a troll, Roman Pierskalla, or just proving Poe's Law?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:36am

        Re: Re:

        The phrase "make out" means "kissed on the mouth" in all but the most prudish minds
        Oh, sweet mercy, teenagers kissing? [Fans self.] Why, I do declare, this must be stopped at once!

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:27am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Might lead to dancing!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          OldMugwump (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          What freaked the officials out in this case was the idea of a high school student kissing a teacher.

          Who, if she has a college degree, would be at least FOUR YEARS OLDER than the student.

          It was that four years that caused the freakout.

          But it's hard to control biology. Heinlein said "when they're big enough, they're old enough".

          Juliet was 13 years old. And as her mom said, "Younger than you, here in Verona, ladies of esteem are made already mothers."

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          • icon
            JoeCool (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 3:04pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's not the four years that makes the difference, it's the 17 that makes it. The US is kinda anal about these age restrictions... if a 19 year-old "makes out" with a 17 year-old, they're a predator and their lives are destroyed, but if an 18 year-old shacks up with a 90 year-old, it's either "true love" or "gold digger", either of which is acceptable to society. Idiots argue that a 17 year-old doesn't know what they're doing; well, I'd argue the the majority of 30 year-olds don't know what they're doing. If you're going to argue the mental state, you cannot attach an age to it, but that makes the law "messy", and we prefer bright lines in the law. So 18 it is, no matter the stupidity of particular cases.

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            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 3:33pm

              Improvement: Romeo and Juliet laws

              Romeo and Juliet laws are provisions for underaged adolescents to consent to sex with people within their age range to eliminate the problem of 19-year-olds boffing 17-year-olds and getting ten years of hard time for it.

              I think in 2015 all states have some kind of R&J statute, through the age ranges that qualify vary (usually 14 is the minimum age, and five years difference is the allowable threshold). It also varies between gay sexual acts and straight ones.

              My awareness of savvy family judges is that if a responsible adult behaves appropriately with a partner, they have sex and afterwords she / he turns out to be underaged, but could be convincingly mistaken for being adult (e.g. looks and acts like a twenty-something) the adult has a good chance of acquittal or at worst, a commuted sentence. But that varies from judge to judge and county to county, and how rich and angry the parents are. So do not count on this.

              We still have the issue that underaged kids experimenting can wind up in juvie for experimenting. If a nine-year-old and a twelve-year-old play doctor, and it becomes a legal incident, they both can end up doing time.

              That's our Puritan nation for you.

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            • icon
              BernardoVerda (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 9:41pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              As someone who,in my college days, had a job chauffeuring children between the university daycare and the local elementary school every weekday, I am in a position to positively affirm from personal observation over an extended period, that some 11-year old kids are noticeably more mature than some 30-something year old parents.

              (I'm sure that many an elementary-school teacher could say the same -- but they need to be more careful about actually saying so in public.)

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    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      icon
      Ed (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:35am

      Re:

      You should be ashamed for being so goddamn stupid. No wonder you're an Anonymous Coward. People like you should be rounded up and quarantined to save the rest of us from your profound ignorance.

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    • icon
      Sorceress (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:44am

      Re:

      Excuse me, but did you actually read the article? Sagehorn jested that "yes, actually" he Made out with the teacher. Do you know what "made out" means? For many decades, it has meant merely something akin to kissing. In fact, the tweet was made in jest in response to a silly tweet in the first place. The parent who decided to make an issue of this ought to be brought in to explain why she thought it was necessary to comb the boards looking for possible offensive tweets. She bears a good deal of responsibility in this debacle. The teacher was never "harmed" or "defamed". Anyone who knows this student is aware of his accomplishments and would understand the nature of the exchange. The school acted in the worst fascist way it could and brought down a hammer before even investigating the circumstances of something that did not even occur on campus. The thought police were out in force here.

      PS Get your mind out of the gutter.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:49am

      Re:

      While they did keep escalating the issue,


      You said it yourself.

      Those that escalate also have the discretion not to. Yet they did anyway.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:31am

      Re:

      I agree! In fact, I think we should outlaw sarcasm. Slow folks like me have to think too hard to figure out if people are being serious, that's discriminatory.

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    • identicon
      kog999, 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:11am

      Re:

      he never suggested he had sex with his teacher. only that they made out. the common understanding of made out is kissing. perhaps passionate kissing but nothing more. still bad though

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Howard, Cowering, 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:32am

      Re: AC#19

      Wow, so many kinds of wrong in a single post.

      I'm short on time, so I will ask for clarification on only a few of them:
      How could Sagehorn have truthfully lied, and would it have made any difference in the pattern of the cement between your ears?
      Based on the other statements and conclusions in the post, were the first two words of your last paragraph a truthful or false lie?

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    • identicon
      Bryce, 15 Aug 2015 @ 6:35pm

      Re:

      Mr Pierskalla... You forgot to sign your post.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      kiddykat (profile), 29 Oct 2015 @ 10:30pm

      Re:

      Sagehorn's reply of "Yes actually" was a response to the prior tweet saying "are you making out with _______?" Making out has never implied having sex in my 55 year old life.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:08am

    so, as the subject of the response, 'Actually, yes', has the teacher concerned got to appear in this whole mess? it seems rather a shame if she gets away with remaining incognito. it also seems a shame that there is no delving into things to find out whether any other persons/teachers at the school have been in any sort of relationship with her. after all, perhaps the Principal was in a relationship with the teacher and didn't like anyone else having a taste?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:12am

    I blame the parents for escalating this problem and for allowing their son to allude to the fact that he had sex with a teacher. WTF is wrong with Sagehorn's parents? There are certain things you don't do and making a comment about having sex with a teacher is something you DO NOT DO!

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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:13am

    I don't see what all the fuss is about.

    The word "actually" has a very specific and clearly-understood meaning: "even though this might sound hard to believe, it is literally true and not a joke." So to try to claim afterwards that saying something that clearly and unambiguously accuses a teacher of actually committing a crime that could (and should) cost her her job if the accusation is true was "just a prank" is disingenuous in the extreme.

    It's the act of a spoiled, entitled kid who makes life hell for everyone around him on a daily basis and thinks he's above the rules. You know, the sort who ends up becoming captain of the football and basketball teams and never seems to get in real trouble (ie disciplinary actions) because he's good at attacking his victims when there are no witnesses and/or knowing how to do things that aren't technically in violation of the rules, no matter how much anguish they cause his fellow students, not to mention a couple influential (usually wealthy) parents who always seem to have his back no matter what he does wrong. (And you know exactly the type I'm talking about. If reading this paragraph doesn't bring to mind at least one specific person from your high school days, you don't remember high school well enough.)

    And now he slipped up and tormented someone in full view of the public, about as clear-cut an act of libel as you can possibly commit... and he seems to think he's still special and the rules don't apply, so when the consequences of his actions begin to become apparent, he and his family immediately play the victim card.

    It makes me sick, and even worse is the way so many people fall for it! Even the court, which really should have known better, made the absurd statement that his libel of the teacher, in a public forum where any of her students could have seen it and many of them doubtless did, "in no way impacts or disrupts the school environment"! I mean, come on! I've been out of high school for plenty of years now but I can still clearly imagine exactly the disruptive impact that that would have on her ability to effectively teach and keep order in her classroom; can't you?

    No, the only ridiculous thing here is the reactions of a bunch of people who seem to have forgotten all about what high school life is like.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:22am

      Re:

      Newsfalsh: The specific meaning of "actually" carries about as much weight as the specific meaning of "literally" these days.

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    • icon
      metalliqaz (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:33am

      Re:

      First, you need to brush up on what is and is not defamation. You know, like those undisclosed facts and whatnot? This kid didn't file a complaint accusing a teacher of anything. Joking and boasting with friends is something entirely different. "Bush and Obama are actually war criminals." See how easy that was. An assertion that isn't defamation.

      Second, this kid acted completely out of the school. The administrators are retaliating for thoughts and speech that don't fall within their jurisdiction. They stepped way over the line, no matter what he said.

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:31am

        Not a good example.

        George W. Bush and Barak Obama both authorized actions that would be regarded as war crimes in the international community, specifically according to the Geneva and Hague conventions.

        They haven't been tried in an international tribunal, but in Bush's case, because he's specifically evaded extradition (e.g. changing his lecture-circuit plans to avoid leaving the United States).

        But the records are there. Enough evidence is public to note the actions were taken and were endorsed by the presidents. They could try to justify it as righteous action in context of the circumstances, but that is doubtful.

        So Bush and Obama are actually as war-criminal as one can get without being yet tried or convicted.

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    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      icon
      Ed (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:39am

      Re:

      So you were bullied in school, and now you want to get back at all of them by excoriating someone you don't even know. GTFO you pansy-assed cancer upon society.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:14am

      Re:

      And the word "literally" has a very specific meaning: "this is actually true and not a joke." Except in almost all cases of use by teenagers, in which case it means "not literally, this is no way actually happened but we think it would have been hilarious if it did."

      You have clearly been out of high school for long enough that you forgot how little teenagers care for the definitions of words.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 9:09am

      Re:

      Even the court, which really should have known better, made the absurd statement that his libel of the teacher, in a public forum where any of her students could have seen it and many of them doubtless did, "in no way impacts or disrupts the school environment"! I mean, come on! I've been out of high school for plenty of years now but I can still clearly imagine exactly the disruptive impact that that would have on her ability to effectively teach and keep order in her classroom; can't you?


      I can imagine a possible disruption, and I can imagine no disruption. But the administration didn't have to imagine. It was brought to their attention after the fact; they could see whether or not disruption was occurring. Furthermore, since this is a motion to dismiss, the court doesn't have to imagine, either. It must view all disputed facts in the plaintiff's favor. If the plaintiff alleges that there was no disruption - which he did - then unless that is an obvious lie, the court must assume (for the purposes of this motion) that there was no disruption. And the bar for finding disruption is high, as the court noted:

      In Layshock, a high school senior created a fake profile of his principal, where he posted that the principal used steroids, smoked marijuana, and was an alcoholic. The joke “spread like wildfire,” leading to more students making similar profiles and school disciplinary action against those students. Despite this substantial social impact on the student body, the court ruled that the school district was “not empowered to punish [the student’s] out of school expressive conduct” because that conduct did not “result[] in foreseeable and substantial disruption of the school."

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    • identicon
      Anon, 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:57am

      Re: "Don't see what fuss is about"

      Yes, actually, that is the only thing wrong that the kid did - he may have not realized his offense, or he may be the spoiled bully asshole as assumed in MW's thread. But certainly and amazingly, the teacher appears to have emerged unscathed from this allegation, which in this age of paranoia, is amazing. One assumes this is because the principal has the hots for her too. (and no word on why the allegation was even made in the first place).

      "He slipped up and tormented someone in full view f the public" - yes and no. Since it took quite a while for one parent to see this and make a stink, it might be more akin to someone overhearing locker room banter than wide public broadcast.

      But beyond that - the resulting actions of the school administration and police are reprehensible and verge on criminal. The constitutional amendments are there for a reason. The guarantees of due process are there to prevent just to sort of intimidation that occurred. Threatening reprisals for insisting on your rights is an action that the government cannot allow to happen.

      As for the police chief - either a crime happened - charge the young man - or it did not. (Or, the ambiguity is such that there's no point in pursuing it, which is essentially no crime). To threaten prosecution to coerce certain other behaviour is reprehensible and a violation of constitutional rights. To do so to collude in forcing someone to drop their objections to a school board action is even worse. To slander someone to coerce a certain behaviour is an abuse of position.

      you may feel the student is wrong - I agree - but the petty authoritarianism of the school administration, the intimidation and denial of due process, the ignoring of constitutional rights by the principal and the police chief - that is much much worse since they should know better and should understand the limitations of their position.

      The USA is a society where neo-nazis are allowed to parade through a Jewsih suburb, not because they are right and not because this is a kosher thing to do - but because even pig-headed wrong-thinking morons are entitled to say and demonstrated what they want, without fear of retaliation. the right to free speech is not reserved for those who agree with you and are polite and respectful to authority.

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      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:32pm

        Re: Re: "Don't see what fuss is about"

        The right to free speech is not reserved for those who agree with you and are polite and respectful to authority.

        Oh, definitely. But as has been noted elsewhere, the right to free speech does not cover defamation. Libel is not protected by the First Amendment. You can't do it and get away with it by invoking the Bill of Rights. Does not work. Period.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:38pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Although as has been noted before, hyperbole is covered by the first admentment. And as has has been covered before, the student has yet to be sued/charged for his presumably protected speech.

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        • icon
          Gwiz (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 1:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: "Don't see what fuss is about"

          But as has been noted elsewhere, the right to free speech does not cover defamation.


          You keep saying this and I know that it's correct, but my question to you is this: When does libelous speech become unprotected?

          I'm not a lawyer, but my guess would be when that speech was declared libelous by a court of law. Prior to that moment occurring that speech would remain protected by the First Amendment. (Any lawyers out there please correct me if I'm wrong here).

          So, if I am correct in this, the tweet in question would still be protected speech since a defamation ruling hasn't happened yet.

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    • identicon
      Zonker, 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:50pm

      Re:

      I literally cannot believe that you are actually incapable of recognizing hyperbole.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 1:36pm

        Re: Re:

        I'm quite capable of recognizing it, and this isn't it. This looks a lot more like a classic after-the-fact Just Joking Justification than genuine hyperbole.

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 1:54pm

          Well, you're certainly demonstrating that it isn't clearly NOT hyperbole...

          Which I'm pretty sure it would need to be if one were to try to pin the kid with libel.

          Still not seeing it as the fiction trope, though.

          I think you just have it out for the kid and want to see his life ruined. That is the one thing your arguments are consistently saying: this kids life should be ruined over a forum post of two words.

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          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 2:29pm

            Re: Well, you're certainly demonstrating that it isn't clearly NOT hyperbole...

            If by "ruin his life" you mean "strip away the shield of privilege that protects top athletes and make him just as responsible for his actions as any ordinary person," then yes, I absolutely do want to see him brought down to the same level of "ruin" that everyone else experiences as "normal."

            Or is your use of the term "ruin" hyperbole here? :P

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            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 2:39pm

              Is this about his athleticism, then?

              So you think that normal people, say those who are not under the iron rule of a academic administration, are held to liability for affirming in a forum someone's claim that they fraternized with a coworker or colleague?

              Speaking of ruined lives, in the rest of the blogosphere, untold amounts of online abuse goes unpunished and disregarded by authorities even when the abuse forces relocations or identity changes.

              So, no, not only does such persecution not happen to normal people, it doesn't happen to normal people when such action would actually be justified.

              And Sagehorn is not such a case.

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              • icon
                Mason Wheeler (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 5:15pm

                Re: Is this about his athleticism, then?

                So you think that normal people, say those who are not under the iron rule of a academic administration, are held to liability for affirming in a forum someone's claim that they fraternized with a coworker or colleague?

                That's hardly a fair question, since for people outside of school, such "fraternization" does not constitute a felony.

                My first job out of high school, as is so commonly the case for kids not born with a silver spoon in their mouths, was working in fast food. Two of my coworkers were dating. They made no secret of it, and the boss was just fine with it as long as they didn't let it become disruptive, which they didn't. At least, until one of them started training to become a shift manager. That would have changed their relationship to "fraternizing with the chain of command," as it were, and apparently that was a big no-no. But even then it wasn't that big a deal; they just transferred her to work at another branch a few miles away and everyone was fine.

                Speaking of ruined lives, in the rest of the blogosphere, untold amounts of online abuse goes unpunished and disregarded by authorities even when the abuse forces relocations or identity changes.

                Oh, I know. Some lawmakers are trying to fix that by enacting much-needed cyberbullying legislation, and it's a bit distressing to see Techdirt come out against it over and over.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 2:41pm

              Re: Re: Well, you're certainly demonstrating that it isn't clearly NOT hyperbole...

              Dude, I don't know what happened to you in school by one of these 'privilege[d] ... top athletes', but I feel sorry for you. This anger against privileged athletes seems to be eating at you and you may want to talk to someone about it cause it really doesn't seem normal.

              For context:

              This kid was a top athlete in a small, almost rural Minnesota town (been there... best thing coming out of it is I-94). He was good enough to get a scholarship to a D1 school that is best known for... hockey... and he isn't a hockey player. NDSU is not known for a strong football, basketball, or baseball team AFAIK, so he probably isn't really a top-tier athlete, just 'good enough' to get a scholarship.

              He may be an athlete, but not all athletes are assholes and bullies, and some are just doing athletics because they love sports and/or so they can go to school and get a degree without putting their parents in the poor house.

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              • icon
                Mason Wheeler (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 5:29pm

                Re: Re: Re: Well, you're certainly demonstrating that it isn't clearly NOT hyperbole...

                I don't know what happened to you in school by one of these 'privilege[d] ... top athletes',

                What makes you think it was only one?

                And what happened to me was what happened to everyone: they went strutting around like kings of the school and all the rest of us were beneath them. Thing is, I come from a long line of Americans. I've got generations of "all men are created equal" running through my blood and I don't believe in kings, so it was kind of inevitable that confrontations would occur when I didn't let them push me around, and I got singled out for extra helpings of abuse.

                It's kinda funny how these things turn out, though. There were plenty of these guys, but the one I really remember, the worst of them... he was a thug, pure and simple. Big tough football player who bragged openly about putting things in his body that he shouldn't have, and doing things with girls that he really shouldn't have, and the rules never seemed to apply to him.

                Eventually I graduated and got out of there. Spent a few years at college and out seeing the world, and when I finally came home and started getting caught up, I heard that he had really turned his life around. In the span of a few short years, something had caused him to clean himself up, find God, and really start to become a force for good in the community... and then he started learning to fly private planes and died in a crash. To this day I really don't know what to think about him.

                He may be an athlete, but not all athletes are assholes and bullies,

                Technically true. In my entire K-12 experience, I knew a grand total of one football and/or basketball player who was not.

                Those aren't good odds, though, especially since my family moved around a lot during those years so I got to know a whole lot of different athletes from a lot of different schools.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 1:57pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You seem to be missing the section of comedy called the 'straight line'. It's quite often used by guys joking around with each other when they want to 'mess' with their friends and often comes out of someone asking a ridiculous question, especially in public.

          Fictional but possible back and forth with my friends:

          friend 1: Hey, I heard you were caught messing around with Mason's mom last week.
          [pause]
          me: Actually, yes [and try to sell the deadpan and seriousness... something the internet helps do]
          [in slight disbelief but still excited]
          friend 2 & 3: Really? Whoa, man, I knew it. You really did it didn't you, you sly dog.
          [waiting for a few moments then cracking a smile]
          me: Naw, I'd never do that... but I can't believe you assholes think I did or would.


          I grew up in Minnesota, I know the culture even if I'm almost 1 generation removed from this kid. I'm betting this kid thought he was funny sending back a straight line so he could bust his friends for even asking if he did such a thing. The fact that you don't think he did this is because you can't see yourself doing this. Different culture, different context, different upbringing: doesn't mean you have to be right and he is just covering his 'defamation'.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 2:15pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I agree. Such a strict interpretation could make deadpan humor, and as was mentioned before, sarcasm, waaaayy to actionable.

            Let's at least consider if the statement makes any sense in context, or if there was an attempt to spread the statement as true with ill intent.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 2:44pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          First of all, "hyperbole" isn't quite the word we're looking for. Hyperbole requires there to be something in the first place to exaggerate. Hyperbole would be, for example, if the teacher pecked him on the cheek once and the student claimed that was "making out". But nobody is claiming anything like that.

          Beyond that nitpick, you know what? I don't think we can really know without the full context of that website, which is down. Did the site contain a lot of obviously false information such that nobody would believe what was on it, or did it contain a lot of material that was true? If the Onion and the New York Times published similar otherwise-defamatory articles, the Times would get sued and the Onion would not, because regular readers of the Onion know not to expect the truth, and it doesn't matter that some people might not know that.

          The tweet is two words long. I don't know how you can say it "looks like" *anything*, without that wider context.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 1:50pm

      Re:

      See my response above about making sarcasm illegal. Unless this whole post is sarcasm, in which case I stand by my statement that I'm too slow to tell the difference.

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      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 2:51pm

        Re: Re:

        I think it was Mad TV that did the sketch - Use Sarcasm, Get The Death Penalty. Can't find a clip on utube. :( That was a great sketch and did a great job of hiliting one of the biggest problems with "stuffy" people today.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:31am

    The school, its officials and the police were clearly out of line here. Since the officials involved in effect had ultimate policy-making authority over the matter here, their departments should be held liable as well. Further, those officials need to be held responsible in their individual capacities (as pleaded in the complaint), and suffer the loss of their own personal property in satisfaction of whatever money judgement is rendered. Lack of accountability is the source of too much evil in today's world. In particular, those in charge of government operations have for too long been permitted to act with impunity on their own flawed personal prejudices, essentially acting like lawless thugs.

    Unfortunately I doubt that any of the individual defendants have the intellectual capacity to understand the court's reasoning in its opinion denying their motion to dismiss. But then their ignorance was already established by their actions, wasn't it? Unless a settlement is reached this case will probably go to trial in 4 or 5 years, at which point the kid will hopefully get a substantial sum awarded to get his life back on track. What would be best for the kid, and society as a whole, is if all those involved in depriving him of his rights were dismissed from public service and their agencies stepped up to make things right before even more damage is done.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:36am

    Seriously? Did you just say that 'making out' and 'kissing' is in the same context? Even if that's so, it's clearly against established school policy and still a crime. To even claim that you were just making out with a teacher is still a felony and considered inappropriate conduct by a teacher.

    Additionally, in the 80's, 'making out' was just considered light petting or kissing or necking. Here in these times, 'making out' has evolved into sex.

    The tweets clearly indicate that inappropriate conduct happened between a teacher and a student and it turned out to be untrue, a lie.

    Sagehorn clearly leaves the impression that he did something inappropriate with a female teacher. I would like to know just what kind of values Sagehorn's parents are teaching him.

    Neither the school nor the police chief did anything wrong. The person who did something wrong was Sagehorn. Just what did he think would happen when he replied with his tweet? Clearly there's a lack of parental supervision because I doubt his parents were even aware of the tweet until after he was suspended and the school informed his parents of what had happened.

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    • icon
      Ed (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:42am

      Re:

      No, Anonymous COWARD, no matter how many times you try to claim this stupidity and ignorance is justified, it isn't. People like you need to be put away so you can't harm the rest of society any longer.

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    • icon
      Richard (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:48am

      Re:

      Sagehorn clearly leaves the impression that he did something inappropriate with a female teacher.

      NO - he doesn't if he had actually actually done something he would have kept quiet about it!

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      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:00am

        Re: Re:

        Seriously?

        Between all the instances of criminals getting busted for posting evidence online in the form of bragging on social networks, and the well-known tendency for guys (particularly jocks) to brag about their "conquests," (whether or not any "conquering" truly happened, to the severe detriment of many an innocent girl's reputation,) what in the world makes you think that that's a realistic scenario?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:48am

      Re:

      So, either a troll, Roman Pierskalla, or perhaps one of the other defendants. Got it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        mcinsand, 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:48am

        we also know who the troll is *not*

        In addition to possibly being someone associated with Pierskalla, we can say with certainty that the poster is not someone that read the article.

        Possible insight: Pierskalla is a name that would have to be maddening. No-one has to spell Jones, Smith, or Robertson. Do you think that a lifetime of a last name like that drove him over the edge?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:37am

      Re:

      Additionally, in the 80's, 'making out' was just considered light petting or kissing or necking. Here in these times, 'making out' has evolved into sex.

      Evolved into sex? [citation needed]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dan (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 9:44am

      Re:

      I've never heard "making out" equated with "having sex"--though the one can obviously lead to the other, I've never heard, or read of, their being used interchangeably. But really, it doesn't matter.

      Whether "making out" means kissing/fondling/groping, or whether it means having sex, it's highly inappropriate (and in many cases, illegal) for a teacher to be doing it with a student. The teacher in question could, if she chose, sue for libel. It wouldn't be a slam dunk case, but neither would it be a completely stupid case. It wouldn't be a completely stupid case because the statement, on its face, was obviously defamatory. It wouldn't be a slam dunk because the context in which the comment was made makes it pretty unlikely that the student was making a serious claim of truth, that readers would interpret his post as being true, or that they'd be reasonable in doing so.

      But contrary to your postings, libel is not a crime in the United States. And contrary to your apparent belief, schools do not have plenary authority over anything a student does. The school (and district) simply lacked any authority over the student's remarks, so their attempt to impose discipline over them was their first major error. Their second major error was in making a mockery of due process by threatening to make things worse if the student tried to appeal. Their third major error was involving law enforcement, when there was no conceivable way, under any possible interpretation of any relevant statute, that the kid's actions constituted any sort of crime.

      The most favorable possible interpretation of the student's post was that it was a tasteless joke. There's a reasonable argument that it was defamatory. If the teacher in question believes so, she can sue for that (I don't think she'll win, but she at least has a reasonable argument). But it did not violate any laws, nor did it violate any (constitutional) school or district policies.

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    • identicon
      Steve L, 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:20am

      Re:

      Okay, Anonymous Coward from post 29, can you point out the specific section of the United States Code, the code of the state of Minnesota, or the code for the town of Rogers, Minnesota that makes saying that you were making out with a teacher a felony? Or to put it more concisely, [citation needed.]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:07pm

      "To even claim that you were just making out with a teacher is still a felony and considered inappropriate conduct by a teacher."

      Is that any incident? If a group of boys are chatting among themselves and a teacher comes up in context and one of the boys says "Yeah, I totally did her" (which he said about the last twelve women talked about in the same dialogue, including Emma Watson and Hillary Clinton) that is a felony?

      Just checking.

      If so. It sounds like a pretty extreme crime, like something I'd expect in Saudi Arabia or somewhere else that doesn't have freedom-of-speech protections.

      In fact, a crime for saying something sounds exactly diametrically opposite to freedom of speech.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2015 @ 9:17am

      Re:

      I am sorry, did you just say joking about kissing a teacher is a crime?

      Please pray tell what backwards part of the US a joke is considered a crime so I can avoid visiting such a place.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:45am

    What do people in power want and always assume they have more ? MORE POWER!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    spacy (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:47am

    Authority over children - use iron fist

    My experience with one school principal was a little insane. He could not believe someone had questioned his powers from on high. Fortunately for him he played golf with all the right people, literally/politically, so very few others could see him for what he is. Needless to say my issue with him was turned inside out and my child suffered some retribution later on when everybody else had forgotten about it. Also fortunately for him he will never suffer the pain of hemorrhoids because he is a perfect asshole.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:49am

    Everyone here needs to stop blaming the school and the police chief. It's Reid Sagehorn who created this debacle in the first place. If anyone is to blame, place the blame where it truly belongs. Reid Sagehorn alluded to the fact that he 'made out', 'kissed', 'had sex with' the unnamed teacher in question. When the allusions were discovered to have been false, the school handed down a suspension to the student.

    An appropriate response. Apparently, the school didn't think a one week suspension was warranted, possibly due to the teacher requesting a longer suspension due to what was tweeted. So the suspension was extended. Then, Sagehorn's parents flew into overdrive.

    The school wanted to keep this quiet, to spare the teacher and the student any public embarrassment but the parent's demands for a meeting threw this into disarray and they were forced to refer this matter to the District Attorney's office for possible criminal charges.

    The Sagehorn's should have left this alone. Because, I suspect that after this civil court trial is over, that the teacher could file a lawsuit against Reid Sagehorn not to mention that there could be criminal charges coming for Reid Sagehorn after his tweet about having an inappropriate relationship with a teacher.

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    • icon
      Richard (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:03am

      Re:

      The school wanted to keep this quiet, to spare the teacher and the student any public embarrassment but the parent's demands for a meeting threw this into disarray and they were forced to refer this matter to the District Attorney's office for possible criminal charges.

      Rubbish!
      If the school had really wanted to keep this quiet it would have gone no further than a 10 minute dressing down in the principal's office, followed by an apology to the teacher.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:19am

        Re: Re:

        This. The school obviously determined very quickly, without even needing to question the student, that no inappropriate contact had taken place between the student and the teacher. As such it should take no more than a single conversation cast as questioning the student about the statement to impress upon him the potential severity of what he said and obtain an apology.

        Failing that, the parents demanding a meeting with higher school authorities over the subject of their son's punishment in no way "forces" the pursuit of criminal charges. Especially as the apparent cause of their seeking a review of the principal's actions was the unexplained doubling of their son's punishment.

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      • identicon
        PRMan, 14 Aug 2015 @ 1:31pm

        Re: Re:

        Exactly. This is the appropriate response. If he fails to write a written apology, then suspend him for a week (and make sure he doesn't play his sport that weekend).

        It doesn't need to go farther than that no matter what.

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        • icon
          Gwiz (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 1:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          If he fails to write a written apology...


          According to this report he did attempt to apologize in person and ended up writing an apology a couple of days after the school first brought the issue up with him.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:05am

      Re:

      No, it's definitely the fault of the school, and the police chief. Even if Mr. Sagehorn's remark indicating that he had kissed the teacher could be construed as defamation, it took place entirely outside of the school's jurisdiction. The only appropriate response would be for the teacher to file a defamation lawsuit.

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    • icon
      dakre (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:15am

      Re:

      It sounds like you work for the school or the police chief, otherwise I think you need to revisit the facts. No where did he claim to have sex with the teacher, but just said yes to making out with her. At the very least, the school should have done an investigation to make sure it wasn't true, then dropped the whole thing.

      Would you want to be potentially jailed and considered a felon for jokingly, or not, admitting to kissing someone older than you? The worst that should happen is someone takes you to court for defamation. At least then you can prove whether it was meant to be harmful or not. It's called Due Process, not throw them under the bus.

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    • icon
      themonkeyking145 (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 9:46am

      Re:

      No. Just no. You're incorrect. That's okay, because everyone is incorrect at some point in their lives.

      The reason you're incorrect is that this was a 17 year old child making a joke with his friends, completely outside the bounds and rules of his school. Had this happened even 10 years ago, it would never have made the news because it would not have been a public thing. The CHILD (and I cannot emphasize enough that a 17 year is still very much a child) made a joke with other children. It might have become a rumor, but it would have been one any right thinking ADULT (the thing I am and you should be) would have ignored it. There's no cause of action here, because there is no connection to the school. Just being a part of an organization or group does not give that organization or group the right to step beyond their authority and take action for perceived wrongs that took place outside their sphere.

      The fact that it was a semi public joke that people other than the jokesters could view does not change the fact that school have no authority to police the private lives of the children they oversee for a few hours during weekdays. The fact that a child was punished for actions thousands if not millions of children have undertaken over the years is only made possible by the seemingly unending desire for control our society has these days. This wasn't said or done at school. The principal had no place to act here. The fact that you seem to believe he was right tells me one of two things: you're either in some position of authority yourself and do not want to be questioned, or you've never found yourself in the remarkably unpleasant position this child's parents found themselves in. Either way, please stop speaking from a place of incorrectness. It makes you look foolish and forces me to respond.

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      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:18am

        Re: Re:

        The fact that it was a semi public joke that people other than the jokesters could view does not change the fact that school have no authority to police the private lives of the children they oversee for a few hours during weekdays.

        There's nothing "semi" about it. It was posted on a public site, and as Techdirt frequently points out, you have no expectation of privacy on things you do in public, pretty much by definition.

        The fact that a child was punished for actions thousands if not millions of children have undertaken over the years is only made possible by the seemingly unending desire for control our society has these days.

        [citation needed] If even a single kid at my high school had publicly claimed he was having inappropriate relations with one of the female teachers, even as a "joke", the rumors would have been flying and it would be all over the school in no time flat, but that never happened, because (among other reasons) we all knew that that was over the line.

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        • icon
          Gwiz (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:12am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If even a single kid at my high school had publicly claimed he was having inappropriate relations with one of the female teachers, even as a "joke", the rumors would have been flying and it would be all over the school in no time flat, but that never happened, because (among other reasons) we all knew that that was over the line.


          Really? At my high school, jokes about "doing" the new, young, pretty English teacher were everywhere.

          Heck, it was such prevalent theme at the time that Van Halen wrote a song about a year or so after I graduated, complete with a bikini-clad teacher in the music video.

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          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Hmm... OK, I have to admit I'm a bit hazy on the chronology of music that came out before I was born. Was this before or after the Mary Kay Letourneau scandal brought the reality of the problems that this can cause to the nation's attention?

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            • icon
              Gwiz (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:36am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It was well after the Mary Kay Letourneau scandal. Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" came out in 1984.

              As an adult, I'm not saying that teacher-student romantic/sexual relationships are acceptable whatsoever. I'm saying that teenagers of both sexes, with their raging hormones do think about, talk about and joke about such things all the time.

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          • identicon
            PRMan, 14 Aug 2015 @ 1:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Kids still make jokes in my daughter's math class about the pretty young 24 year old math teacher. Nobody takes it seriously because they are jokes and everyone knows they are jokes.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2015 @ 9:19am

      Re:

      I am beginning to think you are the principal in question of this story

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    • identicon
      Definitely not Roman Pierskalla, 15 Aug 2015 @ 6:51pm

      Re:

      Exactly! The little punk lacks discipline and respect for authority.

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  • icon
    Richard (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:01am

    The interesting point here

    What made this case happen is the collision between the public internet - in which the author of a comment is clearly identifiable and the culture of lavatory wall graffitti.

    Had the two posts in question been written on a wall somewhere in the school the (unless the culprits were caught in the act) all that the school could have done is to clean them off. Even if caught in the act it would mostly have been the damage to school premises that was punished - rather than whe textual content. In my experience exchanges as bad (or worse) than this have been written on school walls worldwide since forever. (I believe that examples can be found in Pompeii and even ancient Egypt!)

    The internet version is really no more damaging to the teacher than the old, physical version

    Sagehorn clearly didn't take into account that his tweet was easily traceable back to him - and the school treated it like is was a far more formal thing than it actually was.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:21am

    Talk about the stupidity here. Reid Sagehorn clearly violated the Code for Student Conduct. Every student receives a copy of this guide when they attend a new school. It's not rocket science. Sagehorn clearly knew what he had done was wrong.

    [quote]If the school had really wanted to keep this quiet it would have gone no further than a 10 minute dressing down in the principal's office, followed by an apology to the teacher.[/quote]

    Seriously? Dressing down a student? That's like giving the student a slap on the wrist and he doesn't learn a damn thing other than he can do it again and he won't learn his lesson. The suspension he received was appropriate. It's his parents who decided to escalate this rather than punish their son, meet with the school, and apologize on behalf of their son.

    This didn't happen. The lawsuit that the Sagehorn's filed isn't going to end well for his family. I just don't see the Sagehorn's winning. If anything, the only thing this will accomplish is that any sworn testimony can be used in Sagehorn's criminal trial as well as in a defamation lawsuit against the Sagehorn's.

    If the District Attorney is smart, as well as the teacher, they would wait until after the Sagehorn's lawsuit before pursuing their own criminal trial and defamation lawsuits.

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    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:38am

      Re:

      Reid Sagehorn clearly violated the Code for Student Conduct. Every student receives a copy of this guide when they attend a new school.


      Student Conduct Codes do not apply outside of school hours while not on school grounds when you are not using any school property.

      That's not rocket science.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 9:15am

        Re: Re:

        ...Student Conduct Codes do not apply outside of school hours while not on school grounds when you are not using any school property...

        Regret to inform you that is not absolute. Damn near every school - public and private - and every college in my neighborhood has policies established with due process that the school can discipline a student for misconduct:

        1) off campus but wearing a school uniform or any clothing with the school's name, including commuting to and from school;

        2) representing the school in any activity, including nights and weekends;

        3) invoking the school's name in any context, similar to the court cases holding employers liable for off duty conduct of their employees simply because the employer's name was invoked.


        This article reminds me of years ago when a college had a on-campus forcible rape complaint, and the news media jumped all over it. A few days later the police reported that the complaint was false and the complainant was now being charged with filing a false police report. Did the news media give that the same amount of coverage? NOPE!

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:18am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Damn near every school - public and private - and every college in my neighborhood has policies established with due process


          Whether or not they were established with due process has nothing to do with it - many of those codes violate the First Amendment if enforced by a public school. Go to FIRE's website and see how many public universities have red-light codes. Heck, at least one had been directly found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and the school still hadn't changed it 20 years later.

          2) representing the school in any activity, including nights and weekends;


          If you're playing in the school football game, then you're subject to the school's rules. And playing football does involve some level of using school property - the field, the uniforms, the equipment, etc. Of course, this doesn't apply at all to the student in this case.

          3) invoking the school's name in any context, similar to the court cases holding employers liable for off duty conduct of their employees simply because the employer's name was invoked.


          In any context? Bull. "The general rule is that off-campus statements are “protected under the First Amendment and not punishable by school authorities unless they are true threats or are reasonably calculated to reach the school environment and are so egregious as to pose a serious safety risk or other substantial disruption in that environment.”" (page 20 of the ruling.)

          Merely mentioning the school might make it more likely that the speech reaches the school environment, but that alone cannot trigger this.

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        • icon
          Gwiz (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:23am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Regret to inform you that is not absolute. Damn near every school - public and private - and every college in my neighborhood has policies established with due process that the school can discipline a student for misconduct


          It's pretty well established, by SCOTUS no less, that schools receiving public tax dollars cannot discipline students for exercising their free speech rights while off-campus unless it somehow causes a "substantial disruption" of the school environment. I do not believe this tweet caused any sort of disruption, except for that manufactured by the school administrators themselves.

          Students DO NOT give up their First Amendment rights just because they were forced to sign a Conduct Code in order to attend a school.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-j-solove/school-discipline-free-speech_b_877203.html

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    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:43am

      Re:

      If anything, the only thing this will accomplish is that any sworn testimony can be used in Sagehorn's criminal trial...

      What criminal trial? What exactly do you think Sagehorn could be charged with? Nothing Sagehorn tweeted could even be remotely considered a threat here. All I see is the possibility of a defamation suit brought by the teacher and defamation is a civil issue, not criminal.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 9:01am

        Re: Re:

        Well, this whole debacle takes place in Minnesota, and Minnesota is one of 17 states with criminal defamation statutes on the books.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_defamation_law#Criminal_defamation

        Though considering this paragraph:

        "Between 1992 and August 2004, 41 criminal defamation cases were brought to court in the United States, among which six defendants were convicted. From 1965 to 2004, 16 cases ended in final conviction, among which nine resulted in jail sentences (average sentence, 173 days). Other criminal cases resulted in fines (average fine, $1,700), probation (average of 547 days), community service (on average 120 hours), or writing a letter of apology.[16]"

        the odds of criminal defamation charges being successful are low. My guess would be that any attempt at criminal charges against Mr. Sagehorn would fail on the "with knowledge of its defamatory character" part of Minnesota's statute(609.765 Subd. 2). Given the context, it's highly doubtful Mr. Sagehorn realized the potentially defamatory nature of his remark.

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        • icon
          Gwiz (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 9:05am

          Re: Re: Re:

          ...Minnesota is one of 17 states with criminal defamation statutes on the books.

          Interesting. I wasn't aware that "criminal defamation" existed.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 9:09am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Don't worry, I had to look it up myself after reading this article/comments. And looking over that list again, it's actually 16 states, Washington repealed their statute back in '09.

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Aug 2015 @ 1:07pm

          ...Unless he gets a politically ambitious PA

          As has been discussed elsewhere on Techdirt, state attorneys could convict Bodhidharma's shoes, or scare him int a plea bargain that secured prison time. Only selective persecution and the mercy of disinterested attorneys keep him from the cells.

          I'm so glad for sake of this kid that actual prosecution is still hypothetical.

          For the moment.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:47am

      Re:

      I hope you are preparing for disappointment, because the 1st and 14th amendment are on the students side. (Public schools are bound by this, by the way)

      If they were smart, they wouldn't wait, because the statute of limitations may have run out by then. So, no, it wouldn't be smart for them to wait.

      And further, notice how the defamation case against the police chief is being allowed to go forward? There might be something to that. Specific statements were referenced. If you aren't aware: "vagueness in legal threats is the hallmark of meritless thuggery". This has been said repeatedly by a well respected former federal prosecutor who has his own firm. You may want to read up on Popehat.com.

      And why do your charges keep changing? First it was a felony and now its a code of conduct violation? (That the school has no hope of defending if its speech because they are a public institution?) Can you cite a reference to making statements specifically about a teacher being a felony? (as opposed to a defamation charge?)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 9:02am

      Re:

      It's his parents who decided to escalate this rather than punish their son, meet with the school, and apologize on behalf of their son.


      Wait, helping your child defend himself against a perceived injustice by the school is "escalating" the issue? In what world?

      Also, I'm curious as to why to think the parents should apologize for the actions of their son? In most instances parents are not legally responsible for the actions of their children. I've never seen any case in which a court found parents negligent for failing to supervise their kids’ computer use.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:51am

    This is True has a bunch of these school idiocy articles. 1 solid call to action is their salary rate since they rather choose to go by the book of bs than do what they are paid to, use their judgement on tough calls. Using a book to issue discipline that any of the office workers can do. Drop their overpaid salary to the secretaries. That changes a lot of minds mighty gas and smarten up at the same time.

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  • identicon
    John Taylor Gatto, 14 Aug 2015 @ 9:11am

    education system

    This guy clearly is a leader, just check his sport records.
    Education 6 goals (check link above) include selecting and preparing the leaders, and also the obey function.
    BUT this guys clearly failed by trying to punish a leader instead of pampering him up to the top.
    AND they got caught.
    They should be fired for stupid missunterstanding of the 6 education goals.

    6) The propaedeutic function. The societal system implied by these rules will require an elite group of caretakers. To that end, a small fraction of the kids will quietly be taught how to manage this continuing project, how to watch over and control a population deliberately dumbed down and declawed in order that government might proceed unchallenged and corporations might never want for obedient labor.
    1) The adjustive or adaptive function. Schools are to establish fixed habits of reaction to authority. This, of course, precludes critical judgment completely. It also pretty much destroys the idea that useful or interesting material should be taught, because you can't test for reflexive obedience until you know whether you can make kids learn, and do, foolish and boring things.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 9:33am

    You people are forgetting a key fact here. Reid Sagehorn alluded to a posted message that he made out with a teacher. Since it wasn't true, not only what he did was criminal (making a false allegation) but that he cast dispersions on a teacher as well.

    The District Attorney's office is obliged to investigate whenever there is an inpropriety of conduct between a minor child and an adult. Reid Sagehorn's comment alluded to improper conduct. Once that was discovered to be a lie, the District Attorney can bring forth criminal charges for the false allegation of sexual conduct.

    Next, since the Sagehorn's have filed a lawsuit, all they have to do is wait for the lawsuit to conclude. Then, the District Attorney can use the court records, Sagehorn's testimony, in his own criminal trial. Not only that, but if the teacher files a defamation lawsuit, discovery allows her to also present that sworn testimony in a civil lawsuit.

    Even if the Sagehorn's win by some miracle, any sworn testimony can be used against them by the teacher in a defamation lawsuit.

    This lawsuit that the Sagehorn's have filed is only going to backfire against them because it's going to open up a whole new level of embarrassment for the family.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:13am

      Re:

      The guy already admitted to posting the message. I'm not sure what else you think he's going to say that will further any criminal or civil case against him. The DA already decided not to charge.

      The guy is not guilty of falsely alleging a crime. He did not file a complaint with the police alleging the teacher acted inappropriately.

      "discovery allows her to also present that sworn testimony in a civil lawsuit." Um, no. She would be able to use any testimony, but discovery has nothing to do with it, because those would be public records.

      But if the teacher actually waits until the conclusion of this case, she will almost certainly find the statute of limitations has expired. In Minnesota it's 2 years from when she reasonably should have discovered it, and the student was brought before the principal on February 3, 2014, so the clock has been running for over 18 months already. And we're just now getting a ruling on the motion to dismiss. You think this case, involving multiple defendants, multiple causes of action, and 4 different law firms, will go to trial and finish before February 3, 2016? That would be almost impossible.

      And how much would she be awarded, even assuming she sues and wins? You don't get money based on what could have happened. She needs to prove actual damages.

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    • identicon
      Geegaw2, 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:47pm

      Re:

      Reid Sagehorn alluded to a posted message that he made out with a teacher. Since it wasn't true, not only what he did was criminal (making a false allegation)
      Don't be silly. If making a false allegation was a crime, our entire government would be in jail.
      but that he cast dispersions on a teacher as well.
      This makes absolutely no sense. You shouldn't use words that you don't know what they mean.
      Next, since the Sagehorn's have filed a lawsuit, all they have to do is wait for the lawsuit to conclude. Then, the District Attorney can use the court records, Sagehorn's testimony, in his own criminal trial. Not only that, but if the teacher files a defamation lawsuit, discovery allows her to also present that sworn testimony in a civil lawsuit.
      I think I can assure you that the Hennepin County Attorney (whose district includes the City of Minneapolis) is not going to waste his (and the taxpayer's) time on this. He'd be laughed out of office.

      It's interesting that Anonymous Cowards (hard to tell if they're all the same one, but I'm guessing) claim to have knowledge of the school's motivations in this matter. Principal Pierskalla, you're not doing these posts from the school and during work hours, are you? Now that would be a crime.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 2:54pm

      Re:

      I've seen some bad pretend-lawyering around here over the years, but this takes the cake. Is this parody?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bryce, 15 Aug 2015 @ 7:00pm

      Re:

      Dude...did this kid kill your parents? You have an unnatural amount of malice toward him.

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  • icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 9:36am

    Someone Doesn't Know How Gravatars Work

    I like how the Anonymous Troll on this thread doesn't seem to realize that we can tell that all of his/her posts defending the school are from the same IP address.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 9:48am

    I'm not a troll. I'm just pointing out that the Sagehorn's are not innocent in this matter. You guys are something else. Some teenaged boy posts a comment that alludes to his making out with a teacher, which was a lie, and you guys are blaming the school for his suspension and blaming the police chief for investigating the incident?

    The stupidity in here is really something else. It's like a bank robber blaming the police for his arrest after he gets caught.

    WHAT THE F?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:00am

      Re:

      troll

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      mcinsand, 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:03am

      let Chris give you a break!

      Look, Chris Rhodes was giving you a break by calling you a troll. Your posts show you to either be a troll or an idiot. The student's comments were poor taste and the teacher could have contemplated legal action. However, the administration's disproportionate response speaks of gross incompetence and stupidity. No skilled administrator would have handled the matter with such an abuse of authority. No matter what the context of 'actually, yes,' the officer and principle deserve to have the student's family clean their clocks in a court of law.

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      • icon
        BernardoVerda (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 9:07pm

        Re: let Chris give you a break!

        The schools proper response would have been a dressing-down, requiring a (convincing) apology to the teacher concern, and perhaps a retraction/clarification in the same venue as the problematic comment (but it might be better to "let sleeping dogs lie" rather than revivify the matter).

        In addition, all this should have included an explanation to the student why this was a potentially serious matter -- and that repeating such behaviour would carry more serious consequences.

        A Five Day suspension was almost certainly massive over-kill, but the over-reaction _could_ have been excused as merely due to concern that a potentially serious matter, brought to the school's attention by a member of the community, be seen to be treated seriously -- IF it had not been followed by the official strategy of outrageous escalation as its knee-jerk response to any objection.

        The Sagehorn parents were likely motivated by some quite reasonable concern as to the likely effects of a relatively major suspension (especially over a matter of alleged "sexual misconduct") would have on their son's admissibility to a good college (and even more so, if any scholarships would be involved). So they wouldn't have felt they could afford to let the matter lie. And actually, this possibility should have been of some concern to a responsible school administration as well.

        The issue isn't whether the student, Sagehorn, merited some sort of discipline -- that's a red herring; the issues are (i) how severe that discipline should reasonably be, and (ii) the draconian, abusively authoritarian response of the local officialdom to any question being raised over whether they were applying their authority appropriately.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2015 @ 8:45am

          Re: Re: let Chris give you a break!

          The thing is, when you read the background section of the ruling, the kids parents do not appear to have raised any substantial objection to the 5 day suspension. The objections began when the principal informed them he was increasing it to ten days, and additionally recommending a ten week expulsion to the school board, all without giving any real reason as to why the sudden increase in punishment.

          So the kid and his parents seem to have accepted the five day suspension as taking his lumps for saying stupid shit. Then objection when the principal wanted to beat the kid up a hell of a lot more.

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    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:08am

      Re:

      Some teenaged boy posts a comment that alludes to his making out with a teacher, which was a lie, and you guys are blaming the school for his suspension and blaming the police chief for investigating the incident?


      I'm not blaming anyone other than Sagehorn for the contents of the tweet, which could possibly (remotely possible, IMHO) raise to defamation.

      I am however blaming the school and the police chief for exacerbating an issue which really has nothing to do with them at all.

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:19am

      Re:

      Some teenaged boy posts a comment that alludes to his making out with a teacher, which was a lie, and you guys are blaming the school for his suspension and blaming the police chief for investigating the incident?


      You do understand that (1) a mere lie (if that was what happened) is not a criminal offense, right? The First Amendment allows you to lie. (2) It was a JOKE. Defamation law does not apply to mere hyperbole, which this clearly was.

      You seem very confused about the law (not to mention not understanding statute of limitation issues with your argument about when the teacher should file a defamation claim -- which she'd also lose).

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      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:59am

        Re: Re:

        (2) It was a JOKE.

        The use of the word "actually" suggests otherwise. You do realize that using "it was just a joke" to weasel out of the consequences of your hurtful deeds is one of the oldest lame excuses in the book, and is so widely recognized as such that TVTropes has its own page dedicated to it? (The "Real Life section at the bottom is worth checking out.)

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:12am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The use of the word "actually" is literally meaningless as to whether or not his comment was intended to be a serious statement.

          As for "hurtful deeds" it's highly difficult to believe their was any malicious intent given the context. This is just a stupid kid making a stupid joke, and happening to do it on the internet. The potential ramifications of the joke were likely never considered by the kid until he was summoned to the principal's office to be questioned about it.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 2:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          this is what the law is for.

          Once the kid said it was a joke everyone needs to walk away and put down the torches and pitch forks.

          It is getting insane up in where with all of the guilty until proven innocent people running around.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:18pm

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 14th, 2015 @ 9:48am

      Except for the bank robber didn't rob a bank, he merely joked about robbing a bank at a nearby coffee shop with some friends and then got fired from his government job because of his joke.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 9:55am

    Not only that, but you guys are acting like your frat brother just got some girl drunk, fed her some roofies, and had sex with her and then you congratulate your frat brother for bragging about it and getting away with it.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:02am

      Re:

      yet, absolutely none of what you described happened here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:17am

      Re:

      Well, if you weren't trolling before, you definitely are now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      The Groove Tiger (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:02pm

      Re:

      You guys are literally acting like the kid killed a cop, shat on his helmet, gave the helmet to his widow, stole the helmet back from the widow, and then shat on it again, and you're all just high-five'ing the murderer-helmet-shitter all over! I'm literally not saying this as hyperbole, it's literally what you guys are doing, yeah!

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      • icon
        Gwiz (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:25pm

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, our esteemed AC seems to think that this kid should be sent to the Group W Bench to sit with the mother-rapers, the father-stabbers and the father-rapers, all for what's most likely a stupid joke tweet about a teacher.

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  • icon
    Geno0wl (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:05am

    Off the cliff

    Making out is making out with your face, petting, ect.
    Hooking up is sex.
    I don't know what weird lingo you use, but what is what pretty much everybody in the world uses here.
    The kid may have "Started the car" the but it is the Administration that drove the car off the cliff.

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  • identicon
    Ragnarrebeard, 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:09am

    Lawyer up

    This is why, if you are a parent, you bring the lawyer to the fight from the beginning. Had the Sagehorn's showed up to the first meeting with lawyer in tow, the principal would have dropped everything. Show people you're serious from the start.

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    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:35pm

      Re: Lawyer up

      What a wonderful idea! Your kid got caught performing acts of illegal thuggery, so you double down on him with legal thuggery.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:39pm

        Re: Re: Lawyer up

        Or the government violated your sons rights so you legally defend them.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:47pm

        Re: Re: Lawyer up

        You really ought to actually read the ruling. The evidence was all forwarded to Hennepin County Attorney's Office, which proceeded to determine that there was insufficient evidence to charge Mr. Sagehorn with a crime. Which rather suggests that Mr. Sagehorn performed no illegal acts, much less ones of thuggery. Even Police Chief Beahen apparently admitted he erred in condemning Mr. Sagehorn's remark as criminal.

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  • icon
    Mattmon (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:25am

    Roman Pierskalla should be expelled from his job for posting as Anonymous Troll in these comments. This reaction seems appropriate considering his reaction to the tweet.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:26am

    I'm blaming the Sagehorn's for the actions of their son. If you look at how this happened, their son started this whole shooting match by posting an innocuous tweet in response to a comment by someone else asking if he scored with a teacher.

    “Did @R_Sagehorn3 actually make out with [name of female teacher at Rogers High School]?” Sagehorn posted "actually, yes" in response to the comment.

    It doesn't matter how you look at the comment, Sagehorn lied and cast dispersions on the character of the teacher that the post and comment were referring to.

    Instead of Sagehorn's parents punishing their son for what he had done, and instead of making reparations with the teacher, the parents became upset over their son's suspension and decided that they wanted a hearing.

    When I did something wrong, my parents would go to my school and find out what happened. Some of the time, I got punished for it, because I was in the wrong. Reid thought he was going to get away from it and probably told his parents a different story.

    Chances are, like I said before, the teacher complained about the one week suspension and wanted something stronger, so they increased his suspension to two weeks, instead of one week. That was the end of it, until the parents started to whine about the suspension.

    But, no matter how you look at it, and no matter how many of us take our stand on this issue, the Sagehorn's are going to get reamed over this. Their son's actions is going to have some serious negative repercussions for the family and their name is going to be spread all over this like Tanya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan.

    Plus, the Sagehorn's lawsuit isn't going to do any good if they actually get to court. Any sworn testimony can be used in a criminal trial or civil trial against the Sagehorn's or their son. It's not going to be good for them.

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    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:41am

      Re:

      Instead of Sagehorn's parents punishing their son for what he had done...

      How do you know he wasn't punished by his parents?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:03am

      Re:

      Plus, the Sagehorn's lawsuit isn't going to do any good if they actually get to court.

      If they get to court? The whole point of this order was to say what could and couldn't go to court. Short of the defendants offering a settlement the plaintiff finds acceptable, it's not a matter of if, but of when.

      As for the parents complaining about the suspension, the parents apparently offered no complaint about the initial five days of suspension. They objected when Pierskalla called to tell them that he was arbitrarily doubling the suspension to the maximum about of ten days, and recommending that Mr. Sagehorn be expelled for two months. I'd certainly call that a reasonable response on the parents part.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      MarcAnthony (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:04am

      Re:

      It doesn't matter how you look at the comment, Sagehorn lied and cast dispersions on the character of the teacher that the post and comment were referring to.


      Agreeing sarcastically to a sophomoric question is in no way an attack on someone's character. Just FYI: The word you are looking for is "aspersions." Troll better next time.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:33am

      Re:

      You're wrong on the facts, the law, and the definitions of the words you use. You really think the tweet is "innocuous" and defamatory at the same time?

      Someone asking for a hearing to which they are legally entitled is not grounds to increase the punishment or refer the matter for criminal charges. What's so hard about just giving them the hearing?

      and their name is going to be spread all over


      But this happened before the lawsuit. I do believe that's one of the reasons for the lawsuit. Since when do police give press statements about minors facing school disciplinary actions but who haven't been charged with a crime?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      The Groove Tiger (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:04pm

      Re:

      Hm, repeat posts from this single individual are looking more and more like incompetent attempts at astroturfing anonymously.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2015 @ 9:35am

      Re:

      criminal charges for lying. That's why people think you are trolling. Why I suspect you are involved in this mess.

      You honestly cannot see those in power doing anything wrong so you are frantically searching for anything that could excuse their outrageous actions. Even if your reasoning makes zero sense.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Aaron (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:51am

    Fire in a crowded theater

    “It’s like screaming ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater or ‘I have a bomb’ on an airplane,” Beahen said,

    Popehat can help you here.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:26am

    If the tweet was so damaging, why didn't the teacher bring civil action with her own counsel? Perhaps she thought to herself that her legal action couldn't withstand the discovery process. Perhaps she "made out" with other students and feared that it would be found out.

    Why hasn't she filed an action against the original tweet? Is it that discovery process again?

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    • identicon
      kog999, 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:38am

      Re:

      maybe she is a halfway reasonable person and realized that a kid made a stupid joke at her expense and instead of getting all bent out of shape and going lawsuit crazy she decided to just let it go because its really not a big deal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:34am

    The teacher hasn't brought about a civil defamation lawsuit yet. There is no law that requires you to file a lawsuit immediately. Fact is, I seriously doubt the school district is going to drop the lawsuit. Especially if they believe they did nothing wrong.

    The next step is that you'll see parents suing school districts if their child is even suspended from school for ANY reason.

    It's akin to filing a lawsuit if a student is given 3 days in detention. Sagehorn's family seems to believe that it has a sense of entitlement to say whatever they want without any fear of consequences.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:47am

      Re:

      There is no law that requires you to file a lawsuit immediately.

      Umm...yes there is. It's called the statute of limitations. This comment explains it to you very succulently:

      https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150812/10170331924/school-police-chief-must-face-law suit-brought-student-suspended-10-days-tweeting-actually-yes.shtml#c1449


      The next step is that you'll see parents suing school districts if their child is even suspended from school for ANY reason.

      Are you saying that we should give schools absolute authority over our children? Either you work for a school district or you are a complete idiot, I can't figured out which, yet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:57am

      Re:

      The teacher hasn't brought about a civil defamation lawsuit yet. There is no law that requires you to file a lawsuit immediately. Fact is, I seriously doubt the school district is going to drop the lawsuit. Especially if they believe they did nothing wrong.


      There's a 2 year statute of limitations in defamation cases in Minnesota, of which a little over 1.5 years has passed, and waiting until the last minute is frowned upon. I don't think she will, because she wouldn't be able to recover much and it might be difficult to prove his intent was not joking.

      The school district cannot "drop" the lawsuit; they aren't the ones who filed it. I guess they could settle, but that probably won't happen, especially since some important people like the superintendent are named individually and the court did not find that they have qualified immunity.

      It's akin to filing a lawsuit if a student is given 3 days in detention.


      No, it's akin to filing a lawsuit if a student is expelled. Detention and expulsion are not similar.

      Sagehorn's family seems to believe that it has a sense of entitlement to say whatever they want without any fear of consequences.


      Actually, they DO have a right to say whatever they want without consequences from the school district. That's the First Amendment for you. They could face consequences in the form of a lawsuit from the teacher, or public disapproval, but not in the form of expulsion.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:13pm

      Re:

      There is no law that requires you to file a lawsuit immediately. There is however statue of limitations that requires you to file a lawsuit within a certain amount of time. In this case, that time is apparently two years. If the teacher wishes to file, they have at most, half a year left in which to do so.

      Furthermore, this is not over a suspension. The student's parents merely asked for a hearing with the principal's boss at their son being threatened with a 10 week expulsion. The lawsuit is over them and their son being delivered an ultimatum of withdraw or be expelled from school completely forcing their son to withdraw from his highschool mere months from graduation, and the police chief calling their son - who was a minor at the time - a criminal in the news without their son being charged with a crime, before it was determined that there was insufficient evidence to press any charges.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:24pm

      Re:

      3 days in detention, 5 days suspension, hell even 10 days of suspension would be okay if there was anything like a reason attached to it.

      It appears the reason the parents started to raise a stink was because the terms of punishment were being changed at the whim of the principal and when they asked for due process, they were threatened with the kid having his college plans and future put in jeopardy (his acceptance letter probably came with a full or at least partial ride that an expulsion or withdrawal would negate).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 11:42am

    Wrong Target

    Has there ever been a case of sex between a minor and an adult where the minor is charged with a crime? I keep wondering why all the attention for the alleged incident is on the minor, and not the adult? Oh...right...the minor made a sarcastic response to someone who might have defamed someone and then the Principles head exploded with power.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:13pm

      Seduced by the Dark Side.

      He's more machine now, than man. Twisted and evil.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 10:26pm

      Re: Wrong Target

      Don't know, but I've certainly heard of a case where once the minor became an adult and had an inheritance, the adult women who had sexual congress with him (when he was a minor) sued him for child support. Don't even know what the outcome was.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:11pm

    It does seem to be a consistent running theme lately:

    Persons with authority feel disrespected and get mad and make an extreme example of someone who didn't show them enough due reverence.

    ...and in so doing, persons with authority demonstrate that they deserve neither, and cannot be trusted to conduct themselves as one should in their position.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 12:42pm

    Dear Defendants

    You just got SCHOOLED!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 1:25pm

    The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles were on TV last night. If John Hughes were making movies today, all of his movies would end with every single character winding up homeless, unemployable, and listed on the Sex Offenders Registry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 2:01pm

    Page 16 of the embedded document provides an educational discussion about why the students tweet is not obscene with an entertaining look at recent rulings and describes in detail why in that case where a student tweeted that they hoped a basketball "gets fucked in the ass by 10 black dicks" was ruled obscene and "actually, yes" is not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2015 @ 2:01pm

    Page 16 of the embedded document provides an educational discussion about why the students tweet is not obscene with an entertaining look at recent rulings and describes in detail why in that case where a student tweeted that they hoped a basketball "gets fucked in the ass by 10 black dicks" was ruled obscene and "actually, yes" is not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Robert (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 2:43pm

    Dumb and dumber

    This is why we need smarter teachers and way smarter cops

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2015 @ 9:42am

      Re: Dumb and dumber

      That's pretty hard when intelligent police officers are refused to opportunity to become police because they are too smart of the job.

      They like them dumb when they hire people as police officers

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 14 Aug 2015 @ 2:50pm

    "Making out" actually means "I fucked her until she gave me an A+" in my deviant dictionary.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 14 Aug 2015 @ 4:33pm

    If true, the kid should have his car taken away for the summer and the teacher should probably go find another profession not involving authority over young people. That's it. That's how things used to get handled before the world went crazy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:54pm

    The people in power are the people who seek it. The people who seek it are usually self-serving assholes. And if they don't start that way, they end up that way after holding power.

    Once in power, they give all their asshole friends jobs, until the very atmosphere is super-saturated with assholes. The stench becomes tremendous.

    That's why I've always said that public service should be no different than jury duty. "Dear mister Jones, you are a city councilman now, and it pays whatever you are making now at your current job..." And next year he's replaced before it goes to his head.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 6:54pm

    Something something causes a form of brain damage.
    Now the citizens should prove they aren't brain damaged and removed these power drunk morons from their positions.
    Sadly it will cost them even more, because one can be sure that there are requirements in the contracts trying to get rid of them early.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Username (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 8:25pm

    Sounds like they already had it in for this kid. I wonder if the principal himself was actually "making out" with this teacher... Don't repost this on twitter lol!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2015 @ 3:29am

    The authority has been questioned, and it has failed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GEMont, 15 Aug 2015 @ 10:23am

    A chief principal scorned...

    Sounds to me like the chief and the principal have the hots for "teacher" and got their feathers ruffled when Star Student sort of implied he had the kind of relationship with "teacher", that they only dreamed about.

    While I hope nobody does such a nasty thing, a picture of "teacher" might go a long way towards understanding the reactions of the chief and the principal, because the reactions truly do sound like those of a secret admirer discovering that his hotty of choice has been "unfaithful".

    Here's hoping that a few "officials" receive their due - official forced resignations - and that the Star Student's professional-to-be reputation is not permanently damaged by the childish actions of his so-called elders.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2015 @ 6:59pm

    Respect my authority, boy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stoatwblr (profile), 16 Aug 2015 @ 11:05am

    Thanks to the Internet

    The School principal and the police officers will _never_ manager to have their names disassociated from this mess.

    Welcome to the 21st century.

    You can't go around screaming "repect my authorita" when you have none - and when you're exposed as a bully in a senior position that stigma will _never_ be undone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 17 Aug 2015 @ 2:33am

    Principal without principles?

    Seems pretty clear: the principal in question has the hots for the teacher in question and resents the thought that this "kid" might be gettin' some. (This guy is nobody's "pal".) He's really, really frustrated... and it's only gonna get worse thanks to his own stupidity.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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