Federal judge allows students’ suspension

The 10-day suspension of two eighth-graders in Pennsylvania school was in response to their creation of an imposter MySpace profile representing their principal "as a pedophile and a sex addict, among other things," ArsTechnica.com reports. In its coverage of the ruling, the Student Press Law Center reports that US District Judge James "wrote in his opinion that the arguments fell into three categories: 1) Were Snyders’ First Amendment rights violated by the school?; 2) Were the district’s policies unconstitutionally vague and overbroad?; 3) And did the school violate the Snyder’s parental rights?" He answered all three in the negative, saying the oft-used Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District was about the censoring of political speech not the "lewd and vulgar" speech in the fake profile. "Munley instead analyzed Snyder’s speech under three different student speech rulings by the US Supreme Court," according to the Student Press Law Center, in particular "Bethel School District v. Fraser, which said public schools could 'prohibit the use of vulgar and offensive terms in public discourse" and "Hazlewood School District v. Kuhlmeier, which said 'educators do not offend the First Amendment by exercising editorial control over the style and content of speech so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate, pedagogical concerns.” An attorney for the ACLU said the judge "failed to recognize that a school cannot restrict a student's speech 'anywhere it is uttered' simply because it's vulgar and targets a school official."


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