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Federal Judge Rules Gbbss Civil Rights Lawsuit In The Reid Sagehorn Matter Is To Go Forward

Robert Bennett and Paul Dworak filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Reid Sagehorn, the former honor student who was suspended, expelled, and forced to withdraw from Rogers High School for a two-word sarcastic tweet he posted on the internet outside of school hours, off school grounds, not at a school-sponsored event, and without using any school property.  On Tuesday, a federal judge rejected the school defendants motion to dismiss the case.  U.S. District Chief Judge John Tunheim issued a 45-page memorandum and order (available here) holding that Sagehorn’s constitutional claims against the school defendants and his defamation claim against the police chief are to go forward.  In the Order, Chief Judge Tunheim stated: “The law is sufficiently clear that on the 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.”

News outlets from around the country have been following this case closely.  Here are links to what a few news sources had to say about the recent order: Star TribuneStudent Press Law Center; and the Fargo Forum.