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Thread: School punishing for comments made outside of school

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    #1

    School punishing for comments made outside of school

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    I came across this this morning - what are your thoughts on this? Should something like this be punishable within the school system or is it adminstrators overstepping their power because they didn't like what was said about them?
    Teen appeals vulgar Web speech punishment
    Lawyer: Internet shouldn't inspire schools to regulate off-campus speech
    The Associated Press
    updated 3:26 p.m. ET, Wed., March. 5, 2008
    NEW YORK - A teen who used vulgar slang in an Internet blog to complain about school administrators shouldn't have been punished by the school, her lawyer told a federal appeals court.

    But a lawyer for the Burlington, Conn., school told the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday that administrators should be allowed to act if such comments are made on the Web.

    Avery Doninger, 17, claims officials at Lewis S. Mills High School violated her free speech rights when they barred her from serving on the student council because of what she wrote from her home computer.

    In her Internet journal, Doninger said officials were canceling the school's annual Jamfest, which is similar to a battle of the bands contest. The event, which she helped coordinate, was rescheduled.

    According to the lawsuit, she wrote: "`Jamfest' is canceled due to douchebags in central office," and also referred to an administrator who was "pissed off."

    After discovering the blog entry, school officials refused to allow Doninger to run for re-election as class secretary. Doninger won anyway with write-in votes, but was not allowed to serve.

    A lower federal court had supported the school. U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz, denying Doninger's request for an injunction, said he believed she could be punished for writing in a blog because the blog addressed school issues and was likely to be read by other students.

    Her lawyer, Jon L. Schoenhorn, told the appeals court Tuesday that what students write on the Internet should not give schools more cause to regulate off-campus speech.

    "It's just a bigger soapbox," he said.

    But Thomas R. Gerarde, an attorney for school officials, argued that the Internet has completely changed the way students communicate.


    The three-judge panel of the appeals court did not issue a ruling after the arguments.

    In 1969, the Supreme Court said schools could ban expression if they can show that not doing so would interfere with schoolwork or discipline. In a later ruling, it allowed officials to bar "vulgar and lewd" speech if it would undermine the school's educational mission. But both cases involved events that occurred on school property or during a school activity
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    #2
    I think it is. Freedom of speech baby. Though I think it is disrespectful, and I would discipline my child for behavior like that. I don't think it is the school's place however.


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    #3
    between 8am and 3pm, and while on school property it is the schools place, but beyond that they have little right. Unless there is something in the school rules that prohibits speaking your mind about the staff outside of class, (which is unlikely and a rights violation) then the school should take it up with the parents and let them decide if they feel a punishment is needed. other than that, nope, the school needs to stay out of it.


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    #4
    that happened to a guy at my school.
    He wrote a blog about this guy at my school. He didnt write his name in it... but everyone knew it was to him.
    Talking about how he was a fag and how he hated him (keep in mind his name wasnt said, he didnt make any threats whats so over)
    And he got suspended for like a week and wasnt allowed to perform in the school musical he was involved in.
    He didnt say his name! Thats what pissed me off!
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    #5
    Wow. As a school employee...I'd still have to say that's ridiculous! She didn't even say anything that bad, in my opinion! She didn't call for some sort of riot...or boycott....or anything that might disrupt school in any way, shape, or form. She expressed her feelings. Since when is it against the law to express your feelings?

    Now, if she had made death threats or otherwise tried to disrupt the normal school day, I could see school's point. But I don't think that what she said was a big deal.
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by LaneyBug View Post
    I think it is. Freedom of speech baby. Though I think it is disrespectful, and I would discipline my child for behavior like that. I don't think it is the school's place however.
    x2 - It's DEFINATELY not the school's job to parent.
    If a parent doesn't do their parenting job then the legal system can step in - but NOT the school.
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    #7
    That infuriates me. Kids will ALWAYS complain about teachers and principals. It's what kids do. It says nowhere that she threatened anyone.
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    [QUOTE=LaneyBug;2060484]I think it is. Freedom of speech baby.QUOTE]

    A teen who used vulgar slang in an Internet blog to complain about school administrators shouldn't have been punished by the school, her lawyer told a federal appeals court.
    Just goes to show nothing is sacred. You CAN'T express yourself, not even in private these days. Everyone is out to get you, in one way or another. The kid had every right to exress his feeings, if he threatened them, that would be different.
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    #9
    That disgusts me. It's not as though it was a private school that may have had guidelines about behavior while off school grounds. Delusions of grandeur by a public school administrator. I think the term douchebag was definitely appropriate, and even moreso now.
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by missybee77 View Post
    between 8am and 3pm, and while on school property it is the schools place, but beyond that they have little right. Unless there is something in the school rules that prohibits speaking your mind about the staff outside of class, (which is unlikely and a rights violation) then the school should take it up with the parents and let them decide if they feel a punishment is needed. other than that, nope, the school needs to stay out of it.
    yup
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