WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 19, 2014, 05:24 PM

Minnesota high school athlete suspended for tweet brings social media policy to the forefront

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The story of a Minnesota high school senior who was suspended because of a Tweet has people talking.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The story of a Minnesota high school senior who was suspended because of a Tweet has people talking.

Rogers, MN student Reid Sagehorn is accused of sending a Tweet confirming allegations that he did something inappropriate with a teacher. His friends say it was only a joke. Now Sagehorn could face felony charges, even though both he and the teacher deny anything happened.

So what, if any social media policies, are set in place at local school districts?

A few clicks of a mouse or strokes on a keyboard and you're on Facebook, Twitter or another social media outlet. It's a blank canvas, just waiting for you to express yourself. While technology has advanced, not every school policy has changed with the times.

Jeff Schatz - Superintendent, Fargo Public Schools: "I really have thought about that. This is something we need to do because of all the different types of communication that goes on now with all the various social media."

Fargo Public School District has yet to implement a specific social media policy - and it's not alone. West Fargo and Moorhead only address generalities of responsible use of social media.

We spoke to a few parents who say it's a tricky situation - teens don't always listen. But how can a student be cautious if the school doesn't have a specific social media policy in place.

Christine Graf - Mother: "I think there needs to be some discussion and policies set so that kids know ahead of time just like with any other disciplinary policy."

Kirsten Duval - Mother: "I was an athlete, and knowing that we had rules and regulations to go by and there was a certain expectation we had to abide by."

Social media changes everything. But what about freedom of speech? How can a school district dictate how students use their phone and what they tweet OFF campus. Those are just some of the tough questions educators are left asking themselves.

As for the felony charges, Lieutenant Vettel with Fargo Police says from the information he is aware of, if this same situation were to happen in Fargo there would be no reason to charge Sagehorn with a felony.