Salem school thinks about lifting re-tweet suspensions

McKay High School, in Salem, Ore., as pictured on the school's website.
McKay High School, in Salem, Ore., as pictured on the school's website.

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — The Salem-Keizer school district will decide soon whether to rescind the suspensions of 20 McKay High School students who re-tweeted a post about an allegedly flirty teacher.

The district is re-thinking their decision after the ACLU of Oregon sent them a letter stating the suspensions violate both the First Amendment to the US Constitution and Article 1 Section 8 of the Oregon Constitution.

Jay Remy with the Salem-Keizer Public Schools initially said the decision to suspend the students stemmed from their position that students “could be held accountable for things that you do at your home computer.”

David Fidanque with the ACLU of Oregon, March 17, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
David Fidanque with the ACLU of Oregon, March 17, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

But David Fidanque with the ACLU refuted that.

“The courts have been clear, so far.  Even though technology is moving very fast that school officials only have jurisdiction over what happens in school,” Fidanque said.

There are exceptions, especially if the message poses a credible threat to students or staff.

But the ACLU said that’s not the case in this instance and wants the students suspensions removed.

“It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be talked to about it, by their parents, possibly by school officials, so they can learn about the impacts of speech,” he said.

The district said battling cyberbullying is a challenge and this is a learning experience.

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