A Minnesota high school suspended a student from sports after he tweeted “Im boutta drill my teammates,” something that administrators believed was a violent threat.
But the student filed suit against the school for violating his First Amendment rights, prompting officials to reconsider his suspension.
Tyson Leon, an 11th grade student and athlete hoping to attend college on wrestling scholarship, was told by administrators at Shakopee High School that he couldn’t play sports for the rest of the year–endangering his college chances.
The reason? Leon tweeted, ”I’m boutta drill my teammates” before football practice, and administrators believed that the message constituted a terrorist-level threat, according to the Star Tribune.
“Every single school administrator who read [the tweet] believed that he was threatening harm,” said Carla White, an attorney for Shakopee Public Schools, in a statement.
But all Leon meant was that he intended to practice hard and “tackle” his teammates, the student maintained.
His lawyer, Meg Kane, argued that the tweet was Constitutionally-protected speech.
“They’re trampling [students’] constitutional rights,” she said in a statement.
Leon’s family concedes that the student has been in trouble in the past, and he has accepted previous punishments. The tweet, however, didn’t warrant a suspension that could keep him out of college, his lawyer said.
After meeting with the school, officials announced that Leon would be allowed to participate on the wrestling team in the winter. The lawsuit is still pending, however.
The school district did not immediately respond to a request for comment.