Students connected to racist blog allowed to return to school - KCTV5

Lee's Summit students connected to racist blog allowed to return to school

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

In December, two students were suspended for 180 days from Lee's Summit North High School. It all stemmed from a blog that made racially charged comments about other students. Thursday a judge ordered their suspension be postponed as he gave a stay of suspension ruling.

The twin brothers who set up that blog will be back in school April 9 unless an appeal orders otherwise.

"They are extremely pleased with the courts order allowing them to return to school on April 9," said the students' attorney, Kevin Weakly.

During Thursday's ruling, the judge said he didn't see any evidence that the bloggers return to school would do harm to the school or the students. The two week delay is intended to give the school time to prepare for their return and allow time for appeals.

"We think it's appropriate under the circumstances. We are pleased with the court's ruling today however there are other issues that remain pending at this time," said Weakly.

Thursday's ruling only delayed the punishment. Additional court decisions could affect what happens to the remaining 69 suspension days.

"No decisions have been made. We are in the process of updating the district and letting our folks know what is going on. If a higher court gets involved, we anticipate that would happen before April," said Jessica Bernard, the attorney for Lee's Summit School District.

The twins' lawyer said this case is about free speech and the district is violating their First Amendment rights. The students said they vented their frustrations about their school and classmates while in the privacy of their homes on their personal computers.

One of the boys testified in court Monday. He said the blog, North Press, was satirical and was only intended to be seen by a handful of friends who have the same sense of humor.

In their lawsuit against the Lee's Summit School District, the boys said they were honor students who had participated in band and theater programs. They said they had no history of serious disciplinary issues and shouldn't have been suspended.

The school district said there was some access to the blog from school computers and the words in the posts disrupted school. Their attorney said the website contained highly explicit sexual material and racially insensitive remarks. She urged the judge to uphold the suspension, saying it was issued to send a message that their behavior was inappropriate.

The judge said all these issues made this a difficult ruling.

"I think it has potential long reaching implications. There is very little law out there that is on this exact point," said Weakly.

The boys had been attending Summit Ridge Academy during their suspension, a school in the district that doesn't have the music and theater programs of a traditional high school.

The boys said the suspension would have destroyed their chances to get scholarships and jeopardize their college and career aspirations. Their attorney argued their futures would have been irreparably damaged if they weren't allowed back into school and the music and theater programs

The students sued the school district to get back in a school that had those available programs.

The boys initially had been told they would be suspended just 10 days, according to the lawsuit. They believe because of the publicity over North Press that the superintendent drastically increased the suspensions to 180 days.

The website's 40 pages of racially insensitive and sexist rants was taken down shortly after KCTV5 began investigating in December.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

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