ELK RIVER, Minn. (WCCO) — Around 6 p.m. on Monday evening, dozens of people waited in the cold outside the headquarters of Elk River Area School District 728.

They came to attend a school board meeting about a controversy rooted in a two-work tweet that led to a nearly two-month suspension of 17-year-old Rogers High School senior Reid Sagehorn.

“I’m disappointed. I want him to have an education. I don’t want him sitting at home, and I want him back in our school until graduation day,” said parent Missy Henderson.

During an open forum, parents spoke out on Sagehorn’s behalf while the superintendent and school board members listened.

“As of today, he’s going to a different school. Is that fair to Reid Sagehorn?” said parent Larry Simpson. “How could we have done this differently?”

Community members, like Bill Hjertstedt, also emphasized their support for the controversy’s other victim – a 28-year-old teacher.

“She is an innocent that has been severely, negatively impacted by these false allegations more than you will ever know,” Hjertstedt said.

Board members and Superintendent Mark Bezek declined to comment, citing data-privacy laws. But Ron Rosenbaum, an attorney for Sagehorn’s family, says the school owes the 17-year-old an apology.

“Reid made a mistake, he acknowledged the mistake, he apologizes, he feels terrible about the teacher and he’s paid a very high price,” Rosenbaum said. “He’s the only one who made a mistake who’s acknowledged his mistake.”

John Lauritsen