District Wins Lawsuit Over Oral Sex Story in Student Paper

By: E&P Staff

JagWire, the student newspaper at Emerald Ridge High School in Washington, did no wrong when it published the names and comments of four students in stories about oral sex among the school’s students, a Pierce County, Wash., jury ruled Wednesday in a civil case.

Four of the identified students, Mikaela Bates, Kevin Weeks, Madison Freedle and Whitney Higgins, each sought some $500,000 to $1.5 million in damages. The 12 jurors voted 10-2 that the students? privacy had not been invaded, nor did the paper act negligently in allowing the youths’ identities and comments to be used.

The Puyallup school district argued that JagWire?s student reporters did get the students? consent before publishing their names, and determined the subject matter of the package of stories was an important topic loaded with health concerns.

While testimony in the case lasted nearly four weeks, the jury deliberated for less than a day before delivering its verdict.

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