The American Civil Liberties Union has sued Minnewaska Area Schools and Pope County officials saying that they had violated a middle school student’s constitutional rights twice over her Facebook page.
According to the Star Tribune the school disciplined a 12-year-old after she posted “a typical young girl’s comment” that she hated a school hall monitor who had been mean to her.
School principal Pat Falk insisted the comment was bullying, and the girl was given detention and told to apologise. The Facebook comment was on her own computer and nothing to do with the school, the ACLU of Minnesota said.
The same girl got into trouble again when she posted another comment, in which she cursed because someone reported her
After a second incident, school administrators forced the girl to give them login information to her Facebook and email accounts. Apparently a boy’s mum complained that her precious snowflake and the girl were using computers to talk about sex.
During the disciplinary hearing, a sheriff’s deputy was present even if there was no warrant. The ACLU claimed this violated the girl’s right to privacy and right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.
Attorney Wally Hilke said in a statement that the girl was intimidated, frightened, humiliated and sobbing while school administrators were scouring her private communications. Adults allegedly traumatised her without any regard for her rights.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and an order that would restrain school officials from attempts to regulate or discipline students based on speech made outside of school hours and off school property.