Published December 04, 2008
The parents of two Seattle-area high school cheerleaders are suing the district for suspending the girls from the squad after nude photographs of them circulated via text message.
The two teens were suspended from the squad — one for 30 days and one for the entire year — after school officials learned of the photos in August, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.
The families suing Northshore School District weren't identified because the girls are minors.
The lawsuits, filed on Nov. 17, say the district violated the girls' due process rights, according to the paper. The families allege it was unnecessary for school officials to share the photos with other staff members, and claim they were negligent in failing to report the matter to police as a potential case of child pornography.
Matthew King, the attorney representing the families, told the Post-Intelligencer that it was unfair to punish the cheerleaders but not the other students who received or forwarded the photos.
"We're not technically challenging the sanctions as being too strict, we're saying they weren't evenly enforced across the school," said King. "There should have been some punishment meted out to those who were in possession of the photos. ... It seems like the girls are getting the brunt of it."
One of the pictures was taken three years ago and sent to the teen's then-boyfriend. The other was snapped in June. The lawsuits allege that the girls believed they had deleted the photos, but accidentally sent them to members of the football team.
King says he wants the disciplinary action expunged from the girls' school records, the suspensions waved and an apology issued by the school.
"This is frivolous," Northshore School District attorney Mike Patterson said. "It should never have gone to court and they (the families suing) should recognize that what happened here was created by their own doing."