UK students suspended for defaming teacher

Nearly 30 students were suspended for joining a Facebook group that disparaged a teacher at their school, a highly rated Church of England girls school, The Telegraph reports. A teachers' union called for their expulsion. The school's head teacher "said the vast majority of parents who had been to see her about the incident were supportive and understood why she had taken firm disciplinary action. But some of the pupils who received temporary exclusions have claimed that the punishment was too harsh." The Telegraph quotes students as saying members of the group had apologized but that the school took the comments about the teacher more seriously than they were meant. The group has been deleted from Facebook, but The Telegraph reports that "disparaging comments about the teacher remain posted on another website." At the end of the article it quotes several students and a former student as saying the teacher treats students demeaningly. In the US, incidents like this don't always end with school discipline. They sometimes lead to lawsuits about students' First Amendment rights, the latest such reported last month: "Student sues principal on free-speech grounds." See also a law professor on students' free-speech rights and "Free speech and student blogging."


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