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Head coach Jody Stone and Janke met the boy in a conference room, closed the door and began interrogating him, according to Kane and Leon’s family.
“Neither … Janke nor Stone informed T.L.’s parents of their intent to interrogate T.L.,” the lawsuit said. “T.L. did not feel free to leave because of … Janke and Stone’s position as school officials.”
Stone and Janke initially told Leon that they had evidence that he had used “chemicals” during a recent football retreat, the lawsuit said.
On Aug. 26, during a meeting with Leon and his parents, Stone and Janke produced a printed copy of Leon’s tweet about drilling his teammates, the lawsuit said. They said nothing more about the allegations of chemical use. A letter to the family dated Aug. 29 didn’t mention the chemical use either, but said Leon’s behavior violated school and league rules and that he was indefinitely suspended.
Kane said that playing sports is clearly a “property right” and Leon was given no avenues of appeal. The school officials unlawfully accessed the boy’s private Twitter, e-mail and Facebook accounts, she said.
On Tuesday, White pointed out that the suspension resulted from Leon’s fourth violation and that he and his family received a letter after his third violation reminding them that violations are cumulative and could cost him his eligibility.
“Every single school administrator who read [the tweet] believed that he was threatening harm,” White said.
The judge questioned why, if administrators truly believed that the tweet was a threat, police weren’t called to the school.
“They did believe it was a threat,” White said. “They did believe it was going to happen on Monday. They took care of it.”
Pat Pheifer • 952-746-3284
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