Missouri district asks appeals court to put suspended bloggers' return to school on hold

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is appealing a federal judge's recent decision, which allowed two student bloggers to return to school after being suspended for 180 days.

Senior U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs ruled from the bench March 22 that juniors Sean and Steven Wilson would be allowed to return to school April 9 . The judge delayed the boys’ return until April 9 to allow the district time to appeal his decision.

School district attorney Jessica Bernard said the district is appealing Sachs' ruling and has asked the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to put the students' return on hold during the appeal. Bernard filed a motion for stay under seal Thursday, meaning it is not publicly available.

The Wilsons have been attending an alternative school since January. If the appeals court issues a stay, they will remain there. Otherwise, the students can return to Lee's Summit North High School on April 9.

The students’ attorney, Aaron Schwartz, declined to comment.

The Wilsons were suspended after creating a blog, called North Press, which featured several crude posts about another student and a post with a racial epithet. The boys claimed they created the posts at home, on their personal computers, and that the epithet was posted by a third student. The school claims the boys used district computers to make the offensive blog. According to court documents, the blog was meant to be satirical commentary about life at Lee’s Summit North. The students, through their parents, filed a free speech lawsuit against the school in early March.

Tagged: First Amendment, Off-campus Student Internet Speech, Student Rights