6th grader who had her Facebook raided by school for sex chats to receive settlement

Categories: Law
rileystratton.jpg
Riley Stratton
Two years ago, Riley Stratton, then a 6th grader at a school in the Minnewaska School District in western Minnesota, was punished by administrators for posting after school on her Facebook page that she "hated" a teacher who had been "mean" to her. In a separate incident, administrators forced Stratton to hand over her Facebook login information and searched her page amid allegations she had an online conversation (also after school) with a boy about sex. (Read the backstory here.)

The ACLU filed suit against the school, arguing the first incident violated Stratton's First Amendment rights, while the second violated her Fourth Amendment rights. Yesterday, they announced victory: The school district has agreed to a $70,000 settlement, which will be split between the Strattons and the ACLU.

See also:
MN ACLU explains why Duck Dynasty dude's anti-gay comments aren't protected speech

As part of the settlement, the school district also "agreed to change its policies to better protect students' privacy and train its staff on the new policy to ensure it is correctly followed," the ACLU announced in a statement.

"I am so happy that my case is finally over, and that my school changed its rules so what happened to me doesn't happen to other students," Stratton says. "It was so embarrassing and hard on me to go through, but I hope that schools all over see what happened and don't punish other students the way I was punished."

ACLU-MN director Chuck Samuelson acknowledges there are times when it might be appropriate for a school to compel a student to give administrators access to their Facebook, but says Stratton's case isn't one of them.

"We are pleased with the settlement and hope this sends a clear message to other schools that it is bad policy to police students' behavior on social media," Samuelson says. "There may be times when it is appropriate for schools to intervene, but only in extreme circumstances where there are true threats or safety risks."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.



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31 comments
BillyBobSmith
BillyBobSmith

I blame the parents.  They are the ones who allowed her to have a FB account when she was only 12.  That is in violation of Facebook policy that you must be 13 and above.

Sabrina Caprioli
Sabrina Caprioli

"Liked" because I'm happy to hear this, however: The title is misleading and irresponsible. The "sex chats" were just an allegation by the school. Did the title get edited for clicks? Using a 6th grade girl? Really?

laxx1559
laxx1559

First employers want your Facebook password, now schools?! 

Matthew Martin
Matthew Martin

Tell us how you really feel Buddy. Don't hold back

Tasha Rose
Tasha Rose

We have 4 children and are roughly 5weeks from number 5. Our first is 11 and has been begging for two years now for a FB and a Twitter and an Instagram. We make her read the tos of everything she wants to sign up for. If it says she needs to be 1è she doesn't get to sign up. Her email is through yahoo since a parent can register the email address. Parents need to just grow a spine and enforce boundaries. that said, the school had zero business doing what it did. Period.

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

I am Marc. I have a 5 year old daughter and am working on #2 with my wife. Between family and running a business I am very lucky.

Buddy Helms
Buddy Helms

A perfect case of socialism and liberalism colliding. The socialist side of the liberal wants to control the people by taking away rights ( NSA, Nationalized Healthcare), but the liberal side of the socialist wants anyone to be able to do anything at any time. Talk about internal conflict! What's a left winger to do!? At least justice was done in that the constitution and the rights of the plaintiff were upheld and those trying to infringe on those rights were taught a $70,000 lesson...which the socialist liberals in that school district are going to have to pay, LOL

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

You think parents aren't accountable for minors?

Jan Silloway
Jan Silloway

I'm happy about this. Our freedoms are quickly being eroded, and parents can take a stand for their children easier than for themselves. That girl was bullied.

nickwarhead
nickwarhead

The school should never have access to any students personal information. It is none of their god damn business. If there is a problem, let the parents deal with it. These schools are over stepping their boundaries.

Matthew Martin
Matthew Martin

Or raising property taxes? But I like your candy idea better

Jason Spencer
Jason Spencer

By having an army of students sell candy to each other :)

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

You seem upset at me personally, Frank. Insinuating that I am a sex predator because you disagree with me is a total loss.

Nic Butcher
Nic Butcher

and then show her picture to all of mn, right?

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

Nobody is forced to use social media. Nobody.

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

That is what I said. Verbatim. Not one disagreement.

Thaddeus Gulden
Thaddeus Gulden

She should have gotten more. Those school officials are constitutionally illiterate, thin-skinned bullies. NEWSFLASH: pre-teen kids talk shit about their teachers sometimes and are curious about sex. You cannot change that, you should not want to. You should guide them on the right path, not take punitive, highly invasive actions for minor offenses.

Sara Benson
Sara Benson

Hopefully the parents will be able to put it in a trust for college and she can move past this.

Frank White
Frank White

"forced the girl to give the school her Facebook login information amid allegations she had online conversations with another student about sex." The key word is 'allegations'. You seem to know a lot about kids and sex, maybe someone should look at your private Facebook messages.

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

Her parents watched as she chatted about sex online with boys, Frank? You gotta be kidding me. Kids need supervision.

Matthew Martin
Matthew Martin

I wonder where the school district is going to get the $70,000 to pay this girl and the ACLU?

Dave Young
Dave Young

Point is, Daren L. MN, it's the PARENTS responsibility to check,their kids Facebook, NOT the schools.

Frank White
Frank White

Who the hell said she didn't have parental supervision? You're reading way too much into this story, Daren.

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

Disagree completely. Kids that young should not be using social media period let alone without supervision from parents.

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

What decent parent lets kids under 13 use social media?

DarkerMarker
DarkerMarker

You do realize that the ACLU is about as Liberal as a group can be, right? Not to mention that the district is as "conservative" as it gets in MN.... break it down for you. the Conservatives infringed on her rights and the liberals sued.

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