'Joke horoscope' leads to student's suspension

Overreaction to Colorado shooting blamed

OHIO -- Timing is everything.

Just ask an Ohio high school student who was suspended, threatened with expulsion and criminally charged in April after he jokingly suggested in a satirical horoscope column that students blow up their houses or assassinate the president to relieve stress.

The Noronia Hills High School junior's attorney, Kenneth D. Myers, told the Akron Beacon Journal that school officials overreacted because of the shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., which took place the week before the column was published.

School officials later backed off the expulsion threat and dropped the suspension after three days.

"What he wrote was satire," Myers said. "There was no hidden message, no call to action. The district exercised very bad judgment when they decided to suspend the student."

Myers said that the column was written six weeks before the Colorado attack.

The horoscope in the April issue advised Scorpios to "practice what your reaction is to all those college applications that you sent out. We suggest starting by blowing up your house, and then moving on to bigger stress-relieving activities, such as assassnating the president or wearing hats to school."

School officials confiscated copies of the student newspaper, The Squire, soon after they were distributed.

In addition to the school punishment, police filed charges of delinquency for menacing against the student, who his attorney says has a 3.1 grade-point average and is active in school and church.

A police department spokesperson said that the student had already served community service time and the charge could be dropped following a probation period.

news, Noronia Hills High School, Ohio