A Minnesota high school student has filed a lawsuit against his school district and his hometown's police chief, claiming that his First Amendment rights were violated when he was suspended over a message he posted on Twitter.
Reid Sagehorn was suspended by the Elk River School District after he responded to an anonymous tweet claiming he had kissed a young gym teacher at Rogers High School. Thinking it was a joke, Sagehorn said he sarcastically replied, "Actually yes." A parent who saw the tweet reported the matter to authorities.
The case was investigated by local police for possible criminal defamation charges; however, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office declined to press charges due to insufficient evidence. Authorities also confirmed there was never an inappropriate relationship between the two.
While prosecutors dropped the case, the lawsuit says the school district suspended Sagehorn for five days for violating school policy against "threatening, intimidating or assault of a teacher, administrator or other staff member." The suit claims that the district extended the suspension to ten days and moved toward expelling Sagehorn, forcing him to enroll in a different high school just four months before graduation.
His suspension sparked student protests and emotional comments from concerned parents at school board meetings, and it even inspired a social media campaign to bring him back to Rogers High School, located in a suburb approximately 25 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
Now, the controversy has hit the courtroom.
"Students have a right to free speech," attorney Steven Aggergaard, who is not connected to the case, told Fox 9 News. "Even more outside the school site and grounds."
But even though the speech in question occurred in the online realm, Aggergaard says the school still may have been justified because educators ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Jun 16 2014
A professional singer said on Monday she sang through a throat surgery carried out under hypnosis in France to ensure that doctors did not harm her vocal cords.
Singer Alama Kante, 31, who is from Guinea and specializes in traditional African songs, revealed the operation more than two months after it took place in April, saying she was now fully healed.
"I remember (during surgery) this voice singing all the time, my voice going around in my head because I said to myself it is out of the question that I lose my voice," Kante, who lives in France and is the niece of Guinean singer Mory Kante, told Reuters.
The procedure to remove her thyroid gland - whose cells had become enlarged and thus a cancer risk - was unorthodox. The operation is usually conducted under anaesthetic, with a tube inserted down the throat.
Recognizing that any damage to vocal cords and important nerves by the tube, and during the tumor extraction itself could truncate Kante's singing range, Dr. Gilles Dhonneur opted for medical hypnosis to allow the patient to remain awake and able to respond during the procedure.
Dhonneur, head of anaesthesiology at the Henri-Mondor de Cretail Hospital outside Paris, has been perfecting the technique of medical hypnosis for two years.
"The pain of such an operation is unbearable if you're conscious," Dhonneur told Le Parisian daily. "Only medical hypnosis would allow someone to tolerate such an ordeal."
Kante remembers the hypnotist telling her that the pain she felt was that of childbirth, and remembers the song lyrics she sang to help control it: "Fight, never give up..."
"There was a moment where I really felt pain ... and it passed, the pain passed and afterwards it was normal, as ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
DETROIT, June 16 (UPI) --A Detroit man who was shot in the face while waiting for a bus early Monday morning walked home so his wife could take him to the hospital.
The unidentified victim is in critical condition at St. John Hospital after being shot at a bus stop at Morang and Harper.
"The victim was standing at the bus stop when an individual walked up and just shot him in the face," Officer Adam Madera told the Detroit News. "According to the victim, he didn't know the shooter and no words were exchanged."
Due to the victim's condition, police have not been able to interview the 44-year-old or get a description of the suspect.
"Unfortunately, we don't have a description. There's not a whole lot that we have to go on right now," Madera told the Detroit Free Press.
Police are investigating this incident and are hoping to find a motive or suspect.
JACKSON, Miss. – KFC Corp. says it's investigating allegations that a restaurant employee in Jackson, Mississippi, asked a 3-year-old to leave because her facial injuries disturbed other patrons. The company is also giving $30,000 toward Victoria Wilcher's medical bills, a spokesman said Sunday.
The allegation about KFC was made Thursday on "Victoria's Victories," a Facebook page following Victoria Wilcher's recovery from a pit bull attack in April. The administrator posted a photo showing Victoria smiling shyly in spite of her facial scars and cartoon-decorated eye patch, and wrote, "Does this look scary to you? Last week at KFC in Jackson MS this precious face was asked to leave because her face scared the other diners."
KFC posted an apology the next morning, requesting details.
"As soon as we were notified of this report on Friday, we immediately began an investigation, as this kind of hurtful and disrespectful action would not be tolerated by KFC," spokesman Rick Maynard wrote Sunday in an email to The Associated Press. "Regardless of the outcome of our investigation, we have apologized to Victoria's family and are committed to assisting them. The company is making a $30,000 donation to assist with her medical bills. The entire KFC family is behind Victoria."
Her grandmother Kelly Mullins said Victoria had just been to a doctor's when they stopped at the restaurant. She ordered mashed potatoes for Victoria because she thought the hungry child could swallow the soft food without chewing.
She says she was then approached by an employee. "They just told us, they said, 'We have to ask you to leave because her face is disrupting our customers,'" she told WAPT-TV.
Victoria wept all the way home and now is embarrassed by her appearance — something that wasn't the case ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Jun 14 2014
A fireman has been sacked China after going for a drunken joy ride in a brand new £500,000 fire engine - and wrecking it.
Sozzled Chen Huangxin, 32, got behind the wheel of the state-of-the-art machine after a night of heavy boozing in Yunlin county in south-eastern China.
He ended up crashing the vehicle and causing extensive damage. When he was pulled from the wreckage he was found to be three times over the drink-drive limit and said: "I am sorry. I just wanted to see green fields and trees."
In his one man destruction derby, Chen managed to smash into a lorry, knock down a pole carrying overhead electrical wires, hit several parked cars and then overturn the vehicle, smashing in the cab and injuring himself in the process.
The Finnish-made fire engine is now out of service until parts can be shipped from Europe.
A spokesman for the fire service where Chen was employed said: "It is hard to think of anything worse he could have done. This engine was our pride and joy, the best in our fleet. And he managed to almost destroy it. He will never work again for us."
Chen is facing a plethora of charges that could see him jailed for up to two years.
After his monster hangover left him he told local media: "I don't know what got into me. Normally I would never want to go driving when I have had so much to drink. But the urge was upon me and I couldn't stop myself.
"I realised I have brought disgrace upon me and the service I loved. I am truly sorry."
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A Washington teenager was on the phone with her mother as she hiked alone on a mountain in Alaska, saying she was nervous about the slippery terrain before her mother heard a scream, and then silence. The 18-year-old had fallen 30 feet from a cliff.
The mother, Shelly LaGrou, said Tuesday that she waited, roughly 1,500 miles away in Omak, Washington, to hear her daughter's voice again.
"I'm still living it," she told The Associated Press in a phone interview.
Daughter Cherelle LaGrou, who is working in Alaska this summer, came back on the phone after a while, saying she had slipped down the slope and couldn't climb back up. She was hysterical and crying, telling her mother she wasn't ready to die.
Shelly LaGrou tried to keep her daughter calm Sunday while her husband frantically called the teen's employer, Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge, which alerted Alaska State Troopers. That call set in motion a dramatic 45-minute rescue near Denali National Park that was captured by the National Geographic Channel reality show "Alaska State Troopers." It's expected to air this fall.
The teen said that before her rescue, she believed she was staring death in the face and thought about everything she would miss in her life.
Instead, she sustained only minor scratches.
"It feels like it was something out of a movie," she said, laughing when reminded that in a way, it was. "It was all just so unreal that it was actually happening."
Shelly and Cherelle LaGrou were talking for about 15 minutes before the teen fell from a ridge atop Fox Creek. The mother suggested Cherelle switch the phone to the hands-free option, which she did.
She told her mother she had reached the ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
A father is blasting his young son's school after a cafeteria worker at Kent, Washington's Mill Creek Middle School threw away the kid's lunch because he was 26 cents short.
"He gets up to the front and they say there's not enough in his account, so they take his food, and in front of him, throw it away," Jimmie Keys, the boy's father, told Komo News.
Keys's son told him this had happened twice in the past week, prompting his irate dad to confront school administrators. Lunches at the school cost 40 cents, and are paid for using a meal account system similar to a debit card. Parents are supposed to be alerted when meal funds are running low, but Keys said he was never notified.
"My first instinct was to get a huge jar of pennies, and get it ready," Keys said. "I was going to take it down to the school and throw it on 'em."
He didn't do that, but school district spokesperson Chris Loftis was quick to describe the incident as a terrible mistake. He also said that cafeteria workers, far from throwing out a child's food, are actually required to give students a free yogurt or cereal when they're short on funds.
"I just have to say sorry to this student, sorry to the parents," he said. "We made a mistake, we need to fix it, we're sorry."
Apparently, this is tied into the school's end-of-year effort to encourage parents to pay outstanding debts on meal accounts; the cafeteria worker, Loftis said, simply took the dictum too far. He added that in the future, parents will be given more time to add funds to their kids' meal accounts.
"We forgot the humanity of it," Loftis said. "We've learned ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Jun 11 2014
PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – An Arizona man arrested for unlawfully discharging a firearm told authorities that he was trying to shoot the moon.
Prescott Valley police say 39-year-old Cameron Read also admitted to smoking marijuana before the incident last Friday night.
Police responded to the home after a woman reported that her boyfriend had fired several shots from a handgun and still was armed.
The woman and her teenage son told police that Read was talking about seeing Halley's Comet and fired a round out of the window.
They heard several more shots before fleeing.
Police say Read has been booked into the Yavapai County Jail on suspicion of felony counts of unlawful discharge of a firearm, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and endangerment plus misdemeanor criminal damage.
He doesn't have an attorney yet.
Jun 10 2014
A New York man has lost his girlfriend after converting his one-bedroom apartment into a 1980's-style amusement arcade.
Chris Kooluris, 37, says it happened after his apartment failed to sell and he got obsessed with a book on 1980's arcade gaming culture.
He told the New York Daily News: "The book just blew me away. It awakened something in me and I started thinking that I can't believe I'm not surrounded by all these things that I grew up loving."
After initially supporting this new obsession Mr Kooluris' fiancee refused to attend the arcade's opening party and returned her engagement ring soon after.
Jun 10 2014
MOSTAR, Bosnia-Herzegovina, June 10 (UPI) --A man from Bosnia-Herzegovina has filed a lawsuit claiming that he was forced to live in pain for nine years after doctors left a pair of scissors in his stomach during 2003 ulcer surgery.
Alen Papac claims that doctors at Mostar Hospital accidentally left a 4.7-inch-long pair of scissors in his stomach during the routine operation.
After nine years of living in discomfort, Papac got himself checked out and the scissors showed up on an x-ray of his stomach.
"I would suffer from agonizing pains in my stomach for years after that and I have also had other health problems which I now realize were related to the fact that I had a pair of scissors in my stomach," Papac told the Croatian Times.
Papac had emergency surgery to remove the misplaced shears and contacted the hospital about receiving compensation for his uncomfortable ordeal.
"I told them that they might have been shocked, but they weren't as shocked as I was after seeing the reason for my 'health problems' over all these years," Papac said.
The hospital refused to discuss compensation, so Papac filed his lawsuit.