Students Sue School District After Being Punished for ‘Racist’ Banter in Private Snapchat Group
A group of students has filed a free speech lawsuit in Saline, Mich. alleging that their civil rights were violated by school administrators who punished them for their banter in a private Snapchat group.
The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, Feb. 11, in U.S. District Court in Detroit on behalf of four anonymous students, who were punished by the school district following a hysteria regarding racism after they sent joking messages in a chat room. The lawsuit alleges that two students were suspended as a result of their out-of-school speech while two others have been recommended for expulsion.
“The school is acting outside the scope of its authority, has no legal right to impose the discipline carried out, and has violated our clients’ constitutional rights by their reckless and hasty rush to judgment,” lawyer David A. Kallman, the attorney for the children, said in a statement.
The lawsuit claims that the school district has no jurisdiction to punish the children based on messages sent from their “homes, privately owned phones, on a non-school day.”
The students want the district to admit in a declaration that their actions were an infringement upon the students’ 1st Amendment rights. They also want the school district to formalize changes to their rules so other students’ rights are not similarly violated and for the students’ records and transcripts to be completely expunged moving forward.
Saline Superintendent Scot Graden called the private Snapchat postings that were brought to his attention “an act of racism that created harm to all of our students, especially students of color.” Kallman believes that he overreacted and took the messages out of their proper context.
“African-American and Caucasian children were using inappropriate and offensive language in a joking manner and in the context of immature banter among friends,” Kallman said in his news release about the case.
“The conversation did not occur at the school, at a school event, or on any school equipment. While all the children are embarrassed by their language, it does not justify the school’s rush to judgment and overreaction,” he added.
Kallman believes that this is a matter for parents to deal with and out of the jurisdiction of public school bureaucrats who want to push their left-wing values onto students.
“If a child gets stopped for drunk driving on a Saturday night, does the school have the right to expel that student? The answer is obvious. No,” Kallman wrote. “The conversation of these children had nothing to do with the school. It has no authority to discipline students for out of school misbehavior.”
Graden, the Saline Area Schools Board of Education, Assistant Superintendent Steve Laatsch, Saline High School Principal David Raft, Saline High School Assistant Principal and football coach Joe Palka, Assistant Principal Theresa Stager, Director of Student Services Molly Garcia, and Assistant Principal Kirk Evenson are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
A Saline high school football player released a threatening video in the midst of the controversy warning all those who support free speech that they are “outnumbered.” It has since become a rallying cry for the social justice warriors in the city to impose their anti-constitutional agenda.
“From all the people that believe in change to all the people who don’t: You’re outnumbered,” the student said in his video address.
The lawsuit hopes to push back against the diversity and tolerance mob and achieve a victory for the 1st Amendment against a leftist-dominated school system that is notoriously hostile to constitutional principles.