Student Sues School District Over Illegal Search of Her Facebook Page


A 12-year-old Minnesota girl has joined forces with the ACLU to sue her school district. Minnewaska School officials penalized the girl, known only as "R.S.," for information she posted off of school property to her private Facebook page. At one point, she was "intimidated" into giving up her password so that administrators could see the rest of her posts.

The lawsuit claims that her First Amendment rights were violated by employees at Minnewaska Area Middle School, in west-central Minnesota, as well as her Fourth Amendment rights regarding unreasonable search and seizure.

Nothing R.S. posted on her Facebook page seems that damaging — her initial punishment was for calling one of the school's adult hall monitors "mean" — but she also used an expletive and discussed sex. (Details not provided.)

While the school district contends that no one stepped out of line, the ACLU believes R.S. had her First Amendment rights violated. In a statement released by Charles Samuelson, executive director of the ACLU in Minnesota, he notes that, "Students do not shed their First Amendment rights at the school house gate." And they're not required to shed their Facebook passwords either.

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