Education Law

Teen wrestler sues after he is suspended for tweet saying he will 'drill' his teammates

A high-school wrestler in Minnesota has filed a suit claiming his school violated his constitutional rights when it suspended him over a tweet.

The 16-year-old youth from Shakopee High School says he was indefinitely suspended for a tweet he sent in August some time before a football scrimmage, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. It read: “Im boutta drill my ‘teammates’ on Monday.” He says drilling means a hard tackle; his school interpreted the tweet as a terroristic threat.

During a federal court hearing in St. Paul on Tuesday, school lawyer Carla White said the indefinite suspension was only for the football season and the teen will be able to wrestle. The suit had contended a wrestling suspension would harm the youth’s bid for a sports scholarship. Defendants include the school district and the State High School League.

White said school officials want the wrestler to sign an agreement saying he understands school and league rules. U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson told White to prepare the agreement before a settlement conference scheduled for Wednesday.

The teen has had three previous suspensions. One is for a verbal altercation with a teacher, another is for a fight away from the school, and the third is for “chemical use” at a party, the story says.

The youth is represented by lawyer Meg Kane. She contends playing sports is a property right, and says the school improperly accessed her client’s social media accounts.

“They’re trampling [students’] constitutional rights,” Kane told the Star Tribune after the hearing. “It’s a widespread problem with lots of families complaining about it. Nobody wants to go on the record because they’re afraid their children will be retaliated against.”

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