Court refuses to intervene on emergency basis to let honor roll student walk in grad ceremony
Kansas City, Mo. – Today a court declined to intervene on an emergency basis on behalf of a high school senior who was banned from graduation ceremonies after he placed a satirical ad on Craigslist posting his high school for sale.
On Thursday, the ACLU of Missouri filed a lawsuit on behalf of Truman High senior Kylan Scheele. The district’s three-day suspension and ban from graduation violated the senior’s First Amendment and due process rights.
"We are disappointed in the judge will not to block Independence School District from denying Truman High senior Kylan Scheele his graduation day,” said Tony Rothert, legal director, ACLU of Missouri. “The district can still make things right, be an example for students that mistaken fear should not be used as an excuse to strip away a person’s constitutional rights, and let the class of 2018 celebrate their accomplishments together.”
Despite today’s order, the lawsuit will move forward.
Scheele engaged in entirely non-threatening activity when he expressed his free speech by posting a satirical, fake ad to Craigslist in which he listed his school, Truman High, for sale. He described it as a 20+ room facility with newly built athletic fields, plenty of parking and a “bigger than normal dining room.” The posting was done with the email address of email@example.com.
The Independence School District said it considered Scheele’s ad an implied threat: Scheele wrote the school was for sale because of the “loss of students coming up.” Scheele was referring to the upcoming graduation of his senior class.
The district has yet to change its unnecessary and unconstitutional punishment of Scheele, a graduating senior with a 3.9 GPA.