Reid Sagehorn, like many 18-year-olds, is a bit on the sarcastic side. But he doesn’t think that’s any reason to suspend him.
In fact, the Minnesota teenager is now suing the Elk River School District and the police chief in his hometown after he was suspended from Rogers High School for a sarcastic comment he made on Twitter.
When he saw an anonymous tweet back in January claiming that he had kissed a gym teacher, he jokingly responded with “Actually, yeah,” according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. But a parent who saw the tweet didn’t find it all too funny, and contacted police. Not only did authorities confirm that there was absolutely nothing going on between Sagehorn and the teacher, they also declined to press charges against Sagehorn, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to prove this was a case of defamation.
But Elk River School District suspended — and reportedly tried to expel — him for “threatening, intimidating or assault of a teacher, administrator or other staff member.” Supporters who wanted Reid back in school started a change.org petition, Facebook page and wore #freereid on their shirts. Sagehorn then transferred to another high school before graduating in May.
And now, in a suit filed this week, Sagehorn is not only clarifying that the tweet was meant to be sarcastic, he’s also claiming that his reputation was damaged and that his First and 14th Amendment rights were violated.
“Reid’s posting was meant to be taken in jest. This was a mistake. … He never intended for anyone to believe his post,” the suit reads, according to the Star-Tribune, clarifying that his message “in no way constituted threatening, intimidating or assault of a teacher, administrator or other staff member, and any reasonable school official or police officer would understand that to be the case.”