Sunday, February 26, 2006

More ACLU: The case of School District v. Smartass 

Interesting school-vs.-free speech case around here. High school senior puts up a parody of his principal on MySpace, and gets the book thrown at him. He was banned from regular classes, told he couldn't attend graduation, etc.

The district then backed off significantly. But the case is still ongoing, despite the school board's efforts this week to have it dismissed.

Students shed some of their Constitutional rights when they walk through the door to school -- and I'm generally just fine with that. But punishing this kid seems totally wrong.

Can someone be punished for writing a book about his principal -- out of school? Or handing out flyers away from school saying he's an asshole? I would think (or at least hope) not, though I don't know the case law in this area.

I fear the principal just has to grow some balls and deal with it. Just because it's on a popular website where it might catch on with the student body, doesn't make it OK to censor.

Now, if the kid were using a school computer lab to create it, sure. Or if his friends are looking the MySpace profile up in class and laughing about it and causing disruptions. But prohibiting a kid from putting funny, non-threatening stuff on his website?

My gut says no way.

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