School Officials: Student’s Poem Punishment Overturned

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RITTMAN, Ohio– There is a major development in the FOX 8 News exclusive about a local high school student, who was suspended from class and thrown off the football team, for a poem he wrote in English class.

The superintendent of the Rittman School District in Wayne County says the suspension of 16-year-old Nick Andre has been overturned, and the junior defensive end has been reinstated to the Rittman High School football team.

Superintendent Jon Ritchie declined to discuss why the suspension was overturned, but after FOX 8 aired the story about Andre’s suspension on Tuesday, the story went viral and generated debate and discussion about the constitutional right to free speech.

The controversy began to unfold last week, when Nick Andre was asked to write a poem about what made him angry. He read the poem entitled “Stupid” in front of his composition class on Friday.

When the school administration concluded that the poem was critical of the Rittman football coach and one of Andre’s teammates on the 1-and-7 Rittman squad, he was suspended from school for four days and removed from the team for the final two weeks of the season.

Andre’s parents have hired Cleveland civil rights attorney Avery Friedman, who maintains the poem is protected speech, and that the 16-year-old’s constitutional rights were violated by the school district. Friedman says the family has not been formally notified that the suspension has been overturned.

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