Judge rules in favor of Independence School District’s decision to ban prankster from graduation

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- On Friday morning the ACLU of Missouri filed an injunction against the Independence School District in hopes a judge would step in to allow a Truman High School senior to attend Saturday’s graduation ceremony after his senior prank was seen as a threat.

On Friday, a Kansas City federal judge denied that request, citing a lack of sufficient evidence to prove wrongdoing on the school district's behalf.

In an order denying a motion for a temporary restraining order, the judge explains that after having conferred with council for both parties, the ACLU of Missouri had not met it’s burden for a Temporary Restraining Order under the applicable standard.

Watch the full report -- including more from the teen, his family and the ACLU -- Friday night on FOX4 News at 10 p.m. 

The lawsuit stems from an online post in which Kylan Scheele posted his school, Truman High School, for sale on Craigslist. Because of the wording in the post, school district leaders considered that as an implied threat, so they suspended the senior for three days and banned him from attending graduation.

The ACLU of Missouri spoke out in support of the senior on Thursday, arguing the district's "disproportionately harsh punishment violates Scheele’s free speech rights and also does a public disservice by discouraging young people from exercising their constitutional right to express themselves."

Tony Rothert, legal director ACLU of Missouri, said although the judge did not rule in their favor, the fight isn’t over.

Kylan Scheele

No matter how the judge rules, there’s still plenty of time for the school district to do the right thing here,” Rothert said.

“If he gets that, then that’s the end of the lawsuit. If not, then it will have to become a lawsuit about damages for missing this important event, and we will fight on that way if needed,” he explained.

Following this decision, an Independence School District spokesperson released a statement to FOX4 news saying: “The district stands by its disciplinary decisions due to the substantial and material disruption of the educational environment.”

Scheele's family still plans to throw the teen a graduation party Saturday. They do not currently have tickets to the ceremony.

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