'Joke horoscope' leads to student's suspension

OHIO — Timing is everything.

Just ask an Ohio high school student who was suspended, threatenedwith expulsion and criminally charged in April after he jokinglysuggested in a satirical horoscope column that students blow uptheir houses or assassinate the president to relieve stress.

The Noronia Hills High School junior’s attorney, Kenneth D.Myers, told the Akron BeaconJournal that school officials overreacted because of the shootingat Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., which took placethe week before the column was published.

School officials later backed off the expulsion threat anddropped the suspension after three days.

“What he wrote was satire,” Myers said. “Therewas no hidden message, no call to action. The district exercisedvery bad judgment when they decided to suspend the student.”

Myers said that the column was written six weeks before theColorado attack.

The horoscope in the April issue advised Scorpios to “practicewhat your reaction is to all those college applications that yousent out. We suggest starting by blowing up your house, and thenmoving on to bigger stress-relieving activities, such as assassnatingthe president or wearing hats to school.”

School officials confiscated copies of the student newspaper,The Squire, soon after they were distributed.

In addition to the school punishment, police filed chargesof delinquency for menacing against the student, who his attorneysays has a 3.1 grade-point average and is active in school andchurch.

A police department spokesperson said that the student hadalready served community service time and the charge could bedropped following a probation period.