Douglas High student sues school district over MySpace threats
A former Douglas High School student expelled and arrested after he allegedly issued threats over MySpace is suing the school district in federal court.
According to a lawsuit filed Oct. 23 in U.S. District Court by Jeffrey Blanck on behalf of Landon Wynar, the Douglas County School District violated Wynar’s First Amendment rights.
“When you’re at home at night, you have a first amendment right to communicate with your friends,” Blanck said Monday. “This was a case of young teenagers talking to each other, and whether the conversation was appropriate or inappropriate, it wasn’t a crime.”
According to the lawsuit, Wynar was 16 when arrested on Feb. 7, 2008. The lawsuit claims Wynar was incarcerated for 32 days, and interrogated without the consent of his attorney or with a parent present.
Almost a month later, he was notified of his suspension.
An expulsion hearing was held March 31 and Wynar was expelled for 90 days and not allowed to return to school for the rest of the semester.
“Landon has been deprived of a free public education as required by the Nevada Constitution, missed class time, been subjected to ridicule and lost credit entitling him to injunctive relief and monetary damages in excess of $100,000,” the lawsuit said.
“Any comments made by Landon never identified any individual or entity, and were never intended to be communicated to any other individual or entity other than his friend receiving the e-mail.”
The messages were sent through MySpace.
“From the beginning of the investigation, Landon has been saying, ‘I don’t understand what everybody’s upset about. This was joking,'” Defense Attorney Tod Young said last year.
Blanck said the incident was blown out of proportion.
“We’re waiting to hear their reply, Blanck said. “Then we’ll see what we can do to set things right.”