Case: Suspension For Student Who Slammed Principal On MySpace?

A federal appeals court in Philadelphia must decide whether a Pennsylvania middle school had the right to suspend a student who, on her own time, created a lewd MySpace page about her principal.

The case raises broad issues about the limits of school discipline for off-campus behavior that affects the atmosphere at school.

The U.S. Supreme Court has not directly ruled on the issue.

The American Civil Liberties Union argues that students have free speech rights off-campus that protect such parodies, even if they're vulgar.

But a lawyer for the Blue Mountain School District in eastern Pennsylvania says the student caused a disturbance at school and harmed the principal.

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  • by tam Location: NYC on Jun 7, 2009 at 05:21 PM
    Since when is lampooning, criticizing, or showing contempt for authority cause for retribution by the agents of government? Always! No, not in theory but in real life. Your right to "Free Speech" diminishes the younger your age, the more minimal your wealth and social status. Even the rebellion against King George as expressed during the Boston Tea Party and culminating with the American Revolution, or more recently the Civil Rights and Anti-War movement of the 1960's; often those involved were victims of retribution. You don't really expect a school principal and the local authorities to promote and uphold the lessons of Free Speech in American history when it holds them up to insult, ridicule and/or derision. Public criticism would be wrong were these just private people living private lives but they receive this attention because of a public role. No Principal can have a reasonable expectation of immunity, from being the target of insults from their students.
  • by Alex Location: Vanceboro on Jun 7, 2009 at 05:40 AM
    While i feel students should respect those in authority, when did that extend to a persons free speech.
  • by Cactus Location: Strabane on Jun 6, 2009 at 02:55 PM
    "The Times, They Are A Changing", how much longer will we have first amendment rights?

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