ACLU sues school district for student's social media free speech rights

The ACLU has brought suit against the Minnewaska (Minnesota) Area Schools and Pope County over invasions of students' privacy relating to a pair of incidents. In the first incident, a 12-year-old student was disciplined for complaining on Facebook that she "hated" a hall monitor who was "mean" (the school characterized this as "bullying"). In the second instance, a sheriff's deputy and school administrators required the student to turn over her Facebook password after her boyfriend's mother complained that the student and her boyfriend had been talking about sex on the social network.

In both instances, the student used her own, off-school computer to make the contentious remarks, after school hours.

The ACLU claimed a sheriff's deputy was present at the time, but there was no warrant. The group claimed this violated the girl's right to privacy and right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

"She was intimidated, frightened, humiliated and sobbing while school administrators were scouring her private communications," attorney Wally Hilke said in a statement. "These adults traumatized this minor without any regard for her rights."

The girl's mother filed the lawsuit on her daughter's behalf.

Apart from unspecified damages, the suit seeks a court order "restrain[ing] school officials from attempts to regulate or discipline students based on speech made outside of school hours and off school property."

ACLU sues Minnewaska schools, Pope Co. Sheriff's Office over student Facebook incidents (via /.)