A pro-marijuana message posted on Twitter last year led to the suspension of an Ohio high school soccer player, who has since filed a lawsuit against the school district, claiming a violation of his First Amendment rights and denial of due process.
According to reports, Clear Fork High School student Jakob Neumann was suspended at the beginning of his senior year after school officials were made aware of a photo he retweeted portraying someone holding marijuana, with the caption: “Marijuana is my favorite.”
Now, what is important to understand, says his father, Alfred Neumann, is the Twitter post was something his son made after school had concluded for the summer “on our home computer -- and he didn’t make any mention of the school or the team,” he said. “There’s a constitutional issue.”
In the lawsuit, the Neumanns assert that Clear Fork athletic director, Benji Bethea, had their son suspended for supposedly violating the school’s morality clause as well as it’s policies against alcohol and tobacco -- a violation that ultimately cost Jakob a one-year sports suspension.
However, one day after this verdict was handed down, the Neumanns filed an appeal, which subsequently caused Bethea to amend his action and reduce Jakob’s suspension to include one-third of the season.
During the suspension, the Neumanns were denied a public hearing and upon their third request to see their son’s disciplinary records, they received a letter from Principal Brian Brown claiming the documents had been destroyed. The letter also stated that the school promised to revisit their social media policies in an attempt to tighten up the due process in cases such as Jakob’s.
At a dodge ball tournament later in the year, Jakob was harassed by the dean of students and a school drug officer who suspected he was stoned and had drugs in his water bottle. Of course, Jakob, who recently graduated early from Clear Fork with a 4.0 GPA, gave them permission to inspect the contents, which tested negative for illegal substances, according to court documents.
The lawsuit, which was not filed until after the school’s second harassment tactic, seeks $25,000 in compensation and no less than $50,000 in punitive damages. The Neumann’s claim they filed the lawsuit because Jakob’s suspension led to a lack of interest on behalf of college recruiters.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.