#FREEREID: Lawyer discusses Twitter tussle - KMSP-TV

#FREEREID: Lawyer discusses Twitter tussle

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Rogers High School students are protesting, tweeting and pleading for their classmate to be allowed to return after a digital debacle unfolded on Twitter -- but lawyers might be getting involved soon.

Reid Sagehorn was suspended for months after he responded to an anonymous tweet claiming he had kissed an attractive gym teacher. Now, he's facing expulsion and police are considering defamation charges in the case.

Fox 9 News spoke with Steve Aggergaard, an attorney with Bassford Remele who specializes in defamation law, to learn more about the legal side of the controversy.

Watch the video for the full interview.

Q: Students say the online exchange was a joke, but district administrators are taking it seriously. When it comes to the law, does it matter if it was meant as a joke?

A: It does matter. The First Amendment does not protect false speech, but it does protect parody. The question here is really in the eye of the beholder. Would this be seen as parody or would this be seen as truth? Students might look at this as parody, and as this being a joke as the young man here did -- but at least one parent, the initial parent who reported this to the authorities, looked at it much differently, and the law might look at it much differently as well.

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