SALEM -- The Oregon chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said that suspending students for retweeting violates their right to free speech.

Earlier in March, McKay High School in Salem suspended about 20 students for retweeting a post about a teacher's alleged relationship with students.

The tweet read Ms. [name redacted] always flirts with her students. Her son's name is Cougar too.

More: Salem school suspends for tweets

On Friday the ACLU fired off a letter to the school district warning them that, in their view, the disciplinary action violated both the Oregon and U.S. constitutions.

In disciplining those students because of their off-campus expressive activity, McKay High School officials have infringed on the students' right to free speech, wrote ACLU Legal Director Kevin Diaz.

In the past, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled students could only be punished if they said or did something that interfered with schoolwork, discipline or the rights of other students, according to Diaz.

School officials have sought to regulate student speech occurring far beyond the schoolhouse gate, he wrote. Even when there is no credible threat to student safety.

Salem-Keizer Public Schools said Friday they had received the letter.

We appreciate them taking the time to write this letter and will consider their ideas as we work with the parents, said district Communications Director Jay Remy.

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