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Southwest High School student transferred over "teabagging" incident

A Minneapolis high school student admits to taking part in a wrestling match that led to one of his baseball teammates getting "teabagged."

But, he says, he wasn't the teabagger, nor did he plan the teabagging, and he shouldn't be kicked out of school for it. Last week a U.S. District Court judge disagreed, rejecting the teenagers' parents' request to keep him in school until the resolution of a lawsuit they filed against the Minneapolis School District.

In the lawsuit, filed in May, Donald Kaplan and Thea Nelson argued that their son, a junior at Southwest High School, was being unfairly punished, considering he was only holding another boy down and hadn't known the teabagging was coming. Besides, they claimed, everybody on the baseball team was doing it.

In late March, the student, 16, was one of 24 Southwest High School baseball players who took a trip to Florida. One night, the complaint argues, the players were sent to their rooms without supervision.

And, as everyone knows, boys will be boys, so some boys put their balls in other boys' faces.

In one roughhousing incident, their son, identified as "JK," wrestled another boy and pinned him to the ground. At that point, their son looked up to see a third player "expose his genitalia above [the boy's] head," according to the complaint. "JK does not know whether [the teabagger] actually touched [the teabagged] or if he simply came close to doing so."

Ah ha! So this might have only been a near-teabagging, which is hardly criminal, and goes on unpunished on Metro Transit buses several times a day.

Surely, what follows is the complaint's greatest revelation: That, even if a little teabagging went on, it was not out of the ordinary.

"On at least three other occasions following the incident described above, similar behavior was engaged in by other members of the team. One one occasion, JK was subjected to this behavior. On another occasion [the teabagged], the alleged victim, subjected another student to this behavior."

The teabaggers were also teabagged themselves? Teabags for everyone! How's that for a "team-building" experience?

Southwest High School, home of the teabagging baseball players.
Southwest High School, home of the teabagging baseball players.


The incident seems to have caused great upset to Southwest High School principal Bill Smith. Smith, who also made the trip to Florida, had the boy called in to his office about a month after the trip. He attempted to confront the student about what had happened, but, flustered, was unable to put the incident to words -- apparently for some people, "teabag" is still a noun. 

"We are not talking about blowjobs here," Smith allegedly said to the student, according to the complaint. "Nobody was butt raped."

Finally, the boy figured out what was being discussed, and tried to plead his case. Days later, his father took up the defense, saying that teabagging happened on several occasions during this trip, and his son's was not an isolated incident. Again, Principal Smith reacted in the extreme.

"Give me names,"  Smith said, according to the complaint. "I'll expel the whole  team. I'll expel 1700 students if I have to."

The boy avoided expulsion, but was instead sentenced to a forced transfer out of the school. Finally, the parents took their case to court.

The gist of the parents' suit is that their son, 16, shouldn't have to transfer out of a good school. Southwest High School was named the best high school in Minnesota by Newsweek magazine and has a graduation rate of 98 percent, according to the parents' complaint.

The boy in question is, according to the complaint, an Honor Roll student who sings in the choir and was on the Math Team.

The lawsuit will carry on, but District Court Judge Patrick Schiltz ruled last week that the parents had not proved enough potential injury for a temporary injunction against the transfer. Among the arguments Schiltz rejected was that it would harm the teenager's reputation. It wouldn't Schiltz wrote, because a future transcript would simply show that the boy had transferred from one school to another.

"Thus, there is no evidence in the record to show that in transferring J.K., the District will communicate any stigmatizing information that will harm J.K.'s reputation," Schiltz wrote, according to the Courthouse  News Service.


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