Judge orders Missouri students back to school while their off-campus speech lawsuit proceeds

A judge ruled two Lee’s Summit North High School students can return to school April 9 after being suspended for 180 days because of their blog, Northpress.tk.

Steven and Sean Wilson are being allowed to return to school after creating and posting blog posts on the website, which district officials claimed disrupted the educational process.

Senior U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs ruled from the bench Thursday, ordering the Wilsons be returned to school while their First Amendment lawsuit moves forward. Sachs did not provide a written rationale for his ruling, but the Kansas City Star reported Sachs as saying from the bench that the boys’ interest in returning to school outweighed the district’s concern for disruption.

According to the Star, Sachs delayed the boys’ return until April 9 to allow the district time to appeal. The judge did not rule on the merits of the case.

Wilson’s attorney, Aaron Schwartz, called it “a great day for freedom” but declined to comment further. School district attorney Shellie Guinn could not be reached for comment.

For background on the lawsuit, see our earlier news story.