Another great proposal for thought-policing law students

January 11, 2010

By J. DeVoy

With one semester left to go in law school, I’d compare my experience in legal education to being a member of a barbaric tribe of hunters and gatherers.  As a group, there are too many of us for existing economic opportunities, even in good times, yet we cannot simply cut out the undesirables.  For those at the top of the grades/prestige hierarchy, an embarrassment of riches — being wined and dined in faraway cities during interviews and the dog-and-pony show known as summer associateship — is ours theirs.  For everyone else there is little, if anything.  Occasionally, one of the undesirables, someone with low prestige or poor grades, is able to move into one of the few apex positions at the top of the tribe and even transcend it.  Through good lawyering, luck, or connections, he performs the modern equivalent of hitting the dominant alpha lawyer in the back of the head with a really big rock and taking the deceased’s harem, children and physical possessions all for himself.

Juxtaposed with this chaos is the highly regimented legal profession and equally stringent requirements for entry.  As zero-sum as the law student’s realm is, where grades and jobs are finite, a forced superstructure of collegiality creates needless pleasantries and orthodoxy among law students.  People censor themselves for fear of retaliation by professors or future colleagues.  As lax as some would contend the bar is, it does keep out people who would tarnish its reputation.  For instance, avowed white supremacists are precluded from entry.  Similarly, those with nearly half a million dollars in educational debt and no means to repay it are also banned.  But now a new barrier to entry is being proposed.

Danielle Citron, a frequent subject of this blog and erstwhile proponent of stamping out speech she thinks is yucky, was recently on a panel that considered whether jeering people online or making “outrageous” race- or gender-specific comments should be subject to stricter scrutiny upon character & fitness review.  Eugene Volokh offers a probing analysis of the issues this proposal raises.  Two points in particular stand out.  First, this would defeat the rigorous inquiry of ideas and facts that legal education encourages, even if it leads people to take positions Citron and others might find “outrageous.”  I’d shudder to think what this nebulous standard might entail, since reality can lead to some very uncomfortable truths about race and gender.  For instance, black children from rich families are outscored on the SAT by poor whites, a trend that has not improved since the test moved to having three scored components.  Surely some find this outrageous, but the data are clear, and solutions to eliminate discrimination — if there is any, another subject for research — cannot be proposed unless someone brings this information to light.  Forcing someone to risk his or her professional career because of the difficulty in confronting this information is unseemly and contrary to the notion of open, rigorous discussion within the university context.  Without deep, probing examination of tough problems, mediocre solutions arise.  The failure of SAT-optional admissions is one example of this principle, as that process has become the backdoor of dumb rich kids into good schools that the most cynical of us always knew it would be.

Second, as Volokh notes, these kinds of panels — not limited to the AALS, but in general — are a great source of pie-in-the-sky psychobabble, but never produce anything tangible.  Citron herself has been bandying about the idea of requiring the disclosure of prior IP addresses to character and fitness examiners for years, yet it is no closer to being a requirement in any single state than it was at its watershed moment in 2007, the filing of Doe v. [a few dozen AutoAdmit posters].  Until a real proposal or model rule is promulgated, it’s easy and even rational to discount these kinds of panels as Lake Wobegon exercises by people who bemoan the plight of the little people before returning to the warm trappings of tenure and a tower of ivory.  It’s simple: Production counts.  Until such a panel creates something that can be implemented by state bars, they will be looked at with a jaundiced eye.  Meanwhile, people who follow such matters will wonder why the AALS isn’t devoting its resources to wresting sole law school accreditation authority away from the obviously incompetent ABA and shutting down some schools, especially the dubious for-profit ones.

Finally, I feel that it looks I’ve been too harsh on Danielle Citron.  Despite not blogging for long, I have dedicated a substantial amount of writing to her and her proposals.  Though disagreeing with many of these positions, I have respect for professor Citron and especially her prolific publishing.  As of this writing, I’ve requested to be her friend on facebook.  Hopefully she’ll accept.

Court slaps down school’s punishment for off-campus pwnage

December 15, 2009

By J. DeVoy


LOS ANGELES – One morning in May 2008, an eighth-grader walked into Janice Hart’s office at a Beverly Hills middle school crying.

I love it when stories start that way.  Many of my real-life hypotheticals relate to crying, so naturally I love when the mainstream media brings it up.  Call it the Eric Cartman effect.

At the heart of the matter, a group of eighth graders posted a video to YouTube where they described the upset classmate as “spoiled,” a “brat,” and a “slut.”  In response, the school issued a two-day suspension to the girl who posted the video.  Last month, though, a Federal District Judge in Los Angeles held that this punishment went too far.

“To allow the school to cast this wide a net and suspend a student simply because another student takes offense to their speech, without any evidence that such speech caused a substantial disruption of the school’s activities, runs afoul [of the law],’’ judge Stephen V. Wilson wrote in a 60-page opinion.

“The court cannot uphold school discipline of student speech simply because young persons are unpredictable or immature, or because, in general, teenagers are emotionally fragile and may often fight over hurtful comments,’’ he wrote.

Ah, youth.  With all that cruelty comes the ability to regenerate instantly and infinitely — like Wolverine!  Wilson is correct to point out that there was no evidence of school disruption; if this conduct had caused a pattern of deteriorating academic performance, then there may be a better case to punish those in the videos.  But even then there would be serious questions about causation.

Another consideration not set forth in the article may be the fact that this behavior didn’t happen on school grounds.  Unless the YouTube video was posted from school or diminished the victim’s academic performance (noted supra), it’s hard to see why the school would have a legally recognized interest in this.

Eugene Volokh had this to say:

“People don’t appreciate how much the First Amendment protects not only political and ideological speech, but also personal nastiness and chatter. . . . If all cruel teasing led to suicide, the human race would be extinct,’’ Volokh said.

Wait, we’re raising our children to become adults by…expecting them to act like adults?  What a shocker.  Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to not kill myself every time I’m offended.


MEEP – M33P is teh L33T!

November 14, 2009

BANNED in Danvers, Massachusetts (Well, at Danvers High School)

Today, I was at the Children’s museum in San Diego, and I scrawled MEEP on the chalkboard. You know why? Because it’s my goddamned right to do so, and because Danvers High School is run by asshats.

Apparently, students at Danvers High, in Massachusetts, have adopted a little meme of using the word “meep” as a catch-all / one-word-sentence. This is just one of those things that teenagers do. This is one of the things that makes teenagers awesome. They come up with goofy antics that make us shake our heads, it makes them laugh, we move on.

Well… that is…. unless we’re asshats. Then, it just steams us up that the kids don’t respect our authoritah.

Danvers High Principal Murray decided that he had heard enough meeping. He had a robo-call placed to all the students’ homes, instructing them that anyone using the word “meep” at Danvers High would face suspension.

“It’s really not about the word in particular,” Murray said. “The reason for the message (was) a group of students were instructed to refrain from that language and other language in a particular part of the building.”

Murray gave students “a reasonable request” not to use the word to disrupt school in a hallway, and to stop other behaviors, but they did not listen, Murray said.

“Students were not going along with the direction or refraining from a particular type of language,” he said. (source)

They did not listen! You hear that? They disrespected his authoritah! They must be punished!

A lot of people emailed me the Salem Daily News story on the principal’s stupid maneuver — asking if it was a First Amendment issue. It might be. It might not be. But, I just laughed it off – and laughed thinking about how his attempt to squash the use of the word “meep,” was going to ensure that it became a huge phenomenon. I wasn’t even going to bother slamming Danvers High, or any of the dipshits who run the place.

But then this happened.

Attorney Theodora Michaels thought that Danvers High’s attempts were stupid. She wrote “It’s been a long time since I was in high school, but I still remember what it was like to be young, and chafing under what seemed like arbitrary and capricious rules set down by school authorities.” (source). I know what she means. A lot of wonderful people shepherded me along the road to becoming a First Amendment attorney, but if I were to really bestow thanks upon someone for my current happiness in life, it would have to be some of the authority-abusing douchebags I encountered as a teenager.

But back to Ms. Michaels.

She wrote an email to Principal Murray of Danvers High school. It had one line. One word.


That’s it. That was the subject line. That was the body of the email.


She got a reply. Assistant Principal Mark Strout wrote “Your E-mail has been forwarded to the Danvers Police Department.



You will not say MEEP in this hyah school!

Okay, look… Danvers High Administration: (not that you’ll listen to me) The first step in getting out of a hole is to STOP DIGGING. It was a dumb move in the first place, but dumb moves by dumb school administrators are all part of life. But you sent an email that said MEEP to the police department? And then you actually thought that an attorney would be somehow moved by this idiotic display?

Smooth move, Ex-Lax!

It looks like this dumbass sent at least five emails to the POLICE! Overreaction #1 – the dumb decision to attempt to ban a word at school. Overreaction #2 – going all meeping crybaby when he gets ridiculed for it.

Here is the email address for Danvers High Principal Thomas Murray
( )
Here is the email address for Danvers High Assistant Principal Mark Strout
( )

Part of me wanted to use these email addresses to just send my own MEEP email. But, instead, I think that I am going to thank these two clowns. Thank them because the First Amendment needs protection against clowns who are much more powerful than some vice principal in a high school. Without asshats like these guys, their students might never have begun thinking about how some people, drunk with a thimbleful of power, will abuse their position. Their students might have failed to question whether those who are “in charge” really belong there. Their students might have graduated from Danvers High without a deep curiosity about their Constitutional rights. When teenagers realize that some idiot has just imposed a rule upon them for an arbitrary and foolish reason, they start reading books about the Constitution. They start learning names like “Lenny Bruce” and “George Carlin” and “Larry Flynt.” They start to chafe. They start to think.

The seeds of adult dissent are planted like this every day.

So, thank you Thomas Murray and Mark Strout. By being shitheads, you have likely ensured that at least one of your students will write his law school admission essay about his experience at Danvers High during the great meep controversy of 2009. Maybe that kid will have a healthy dose of skepticism, smart ass attitude, and he’ll be quite a bit smarter than a flunky like you. And maybe that kid will become a First Amendment attorney and smack down bigger fish than you for a living.

I look forward to seeing that kid join the ranks.

Meep this, you pricks.

AutoAdmit Case Euthanized

October 23, 2009

Article in the Yale Daily Journal does a good job of covering it.

Anti-Creationism Statement By Teacher Violates First Amendment

May 8, 2009
Sometimes the rational must suck on Lemon too.

Sometimes the rational must suck the Lemon too.

The Central District of California held that when schoolteacher James C. Corbett made an in-class statement that creationism is “superstitious nonsense,” he violated the Establishment Clause. However, it isn’t as simple, nor as outrageous, as it sounds.

Peloza apparently brought suit against Corbett because Corbett was the advisor to a student newspaper which ran an article suggesting that Peloza was teaching religion rather than science in his classroom. (Id.) Corbett explained to his class that Peloza, a teacher, “was not telling the kids [Peloza’s students] the scientific truth about evolution.” (Id.) Corbett also told his students that, in response to a request to give Peloza space in the newspaper to present his point of view, Corbett stated, “I will not leave John Peloza alone to propagandize kids with this religious, superstitious nonsense.” (Id.) One could argue that Corbett meant that Peloza should not be presenting his religious ideas to students or that Peloza was presenting faulty science to the students. But there is more to the statement: Corbett states an unequivocal belief that creationism is “superstitious nonsense.” The Court cannot discern a legitimate secular purpose in this statement, even when considered in context. The statement therefore constitutes improper disapproval of religion in violation of the Establishment Clause. (Op. at 15)

However, the Judge reviewed a number of the teachers’ statements, all of which were critical of creationism and religion, and held that the rest of his statements were permissible. For example:

Aristotle was a physicist. He said, ‘no movement without movers.’ And he argued that, you know there sort of has to be a God. Of course that’s nonsense. I mean, that’s what you call deductive reasoning, you know. And you hear it all the time with people who say, ‘Well, if all of this stuff that makes up the universe is here, something must have created it.’ Faulty logic. Very faulty logic.

[T]he other possibility is it’s always been here. Those are the two possibilities: it [the universe] was created out of nothing or it’s always been here. Your call as to which one of those notions is scientific and which one is magic. [Inaudible] the spaghetti monster behind the moon. I mean, all I’m saying is that, you know, the people who want to make the argument that God did it, there is as much evidence that God did it as there is that there is a gigantic spaghetti monster living behind the moon who did it.

Therefore, no creation, unless you invoke magic. Science doesn’t invoke magic. If we can’t explain something, we do not uphold that position. It’s not, ooh, then magic. That’s not the way we work.

Contrast that with creationists. They never try to disprove creationism. They’re all running around trying to prove it. That’s deduction. It’s not science. Scientifically, it’s nonsense. (Op. at 27)

The judge held that the primary effect of these statements was to illustrate a contrast between scientific reasoning and religious faith. Although a statement might be offensive to one religious set of beliefs, that does not make it unconstitutional.

[I]n Epperson v. State of Ark., 393 U.S. 97, 89 (1968), the Supreme Court struck down Arkansas statutes forbidding the teaching of evolution in public schools and in colleges and universities, finding that the statutes violated the Establishment Clause. The Court found that the statutes were unconstitutional even if they merely prohibited teachers from stating that the theory of evolution is true. Id. at 102-03. This was so even though the theory was contrary “to the belief of some that the Book of Genesis must be the exclusive source of doctrine as to the origin of man.” Id. at 107. The Court found that “[t]here is and can be no doubt that the First Amendment does not permit the State to require that teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any religious sect or dogma.” Id. at 106 (emphasis supplied). The Court also noted that “the state has no legitimate interest in protecting any or all religions from views distasteful to them.” Id. at 107 (citing Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson, 343 U.S. 495, 505 (1952)). (Op. at 8)

Accordingly, only one of Corbett’s statements was found to run afoul of the three-part test in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971).

  1. The government action must have a secular purpose;
  2. Its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion;
  3. The government action must not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion.

Permissible conduct must satisfy all three requirements. Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 583 (1987); Vernon v. City of Los Angeles, 27 F.3d 1385, 1396-97 (9th Cir. 1994). Accordingly, even under this stringent test, most of Corbett’s statements successfully ran the Lemon gauntlet.

When “Support” is Really a “Tantrum”

May 3, 2009

Facts are sexist!!!

Ann Bartow posted a piece over at Feminist Law Professors that started out seeming to be a rather nice bit supporting Prof. Mark Lemley, one of the attorneys representing Brittan Heller and Heide Iravani in the AutoAdmit suit, — and a defendant in Anthony Ciolli’s countersuit — a case that the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has allowed to go forward — in part.

Bartow writes:

Mark Lemley got involved with this case, in my opinion, because he is a progressive, good-hearted, moral and generous person. (source)

I can’t be sure why Lemley got involved in that case. I directly asked him that question, and he didn’t answer me. Nevertheless, I believe that Prof. Bartow’s assessment of him is accurate. He does seem like a genuinely good-hearted, generous, and moral person, and I have never heard a single person say otherwise. His involvement in the case did puzzle me, which is why I asked him about it. While his silence was disappointing, I can understand that for liability reasons, it was better that he not reply.

I suspect that he got bamboozled into the case — that he wasn’t told the whole truth until he was already waist deep in the muck, and then it was too late to back out gracefully. Accordingly, I think it is kind of nice that Bartow supported Prof. Lemley. Hell, the man was one of my heroes before I saw the Auto Admit case with his name on it. I still reverently respect him and personally like him, and a part of me hopes that he can disprove the allegations against him. However, if the allegations do stick, like him or not, adults must answer for their actions.

Regardless of Lemley’s motivations, Prof. Bartow’s piece is not at all about supporting Lemley. Behind all of her compliments for him, this post is just Bartow’s latest anti-free-speech diatribe (see commentary on a previous one here), further demonstrating that second-wave feminists have turned the Auto Admit case into their cause-celebre. They just can’t wrap their heads around the fact that sometimes, occasionally, the poor female victim(s) can lie, be spiteful, be unethical, be misled, or just plain wrong. Or, if they can wrap their heads around it, they would rather set themselves on fire than admit it.

Bartow writes:

[I]t seems pretty obvious to me why Anthony Ciolli was named in the original law suit. ISP immunity under Section 230 does not apply to the authors of contested material. Ciolli was clearly posting comments at the AutoAdmit discussion board under at least one pseudonym, “Great Teacher Onizuka.” The plaintiffs had every reason to suspect that he was posting under others as well, and that he could have been personally responsible (and liable) for some of the actionable material. They could not rule him out without conducting discovery in the context of litigation, and they could not do a thorough investigation of the matter unless Ciolli was a named party. Once the plaintiffs knew either that Ciolli was not a bad actor or that they would be unable to prove that he was a bad actor, they dismissed him. Any competent lawyer would have done the same thing. This is Civil Procedure 101. (emphasis added)

Ciolli was “clearly” posting under a pseudonym. Was he? Was it clear? Was it about the girls? Was it negative? Then why include this?

Lets teach Prof. Bartow a little bit about Civil Procedure. Or, better yet, lets teach everyone else about it, because I can’t see Bartow getting off her shrill perch — but I’d rather not let people in the blawgosphere be misled.

Even if Ciolli were not a defendant, the plaintiffs would have had every right to subpoena and depose any person who may have possessed relevant information. In fact, after Ciolli was dropped from the case, Heller and Iravani’s lawyers did, indeed, take his deposition to make sure that they did not leave any stones unturned. Any competent law professor would know that this was not only possible, but proper. Any competent blogger would have at least read Ciolli’s complaint to find that fact. But, lets not let a pesky thing like the facts get in the way of a Dworkin wanna-be’s tirade.

If the reason Heller & Iravani sued Ciolli was because he “might have” posted under multiple personas, then why did they not name each and every moniker on Auto Admit? Everyone on Auto Admit could have had multiple monikers. In fact, law professor Brian Leiter is rumored to have posted on Auto Admit under the name “Tokyo Rose.” I posted on AutoAdmit under my real name. Why not name me? By Bartow’s post-hoc rationalization, Leiter and I both could have been one of the defendants until we were ruled out in discovery, no? Furthermore, if there was ever a suspicion that Ciolli used another moniker, then why wasn’t that allegation ever made, on information and belief, in the complaint?

I’ll tell you why not, because the Plaintiffs’ own published statements contradict Bartow’s made up “facts.” The “theory” that Mr. Ciolli was another pseudonymous poster never arose until Heller & Iravani’s lawyers started grasping for a way out of possible sanctions, and their cheerleaders started to see their lovely pre-packaged daydream unravel.

A competent attorney does not file suit against each and every person who could hypothetically be a defendant. (As in if the facts and the law were stretched like a goatse about to snap). If that were the case, then every lawsuit would name hundreds of defendants, including people who did nothing wrong, and let discovery sort out who was actually liable. Meanwhile hundreds of additional defendants would need to report that they were defendants in civil actions and live under the cloud of litigation while plaintiffs took their own sweet time figuring out if they had sued the right person. No, it doesn’t work that way and Professor Bartow should know that.

Bartow then throws out her own “theory.”

My theory on why Ciolli is suing Lemley and the plaintiffs? To scare away other potential plaintiffs, and to discourage other lawyers from representing them.

To scare other potential plaintiffs who might bring a lawsuit against him? I should hope so, since pages 23-29 of this decision make it pretty clear that Ciolli has brought a proper claim for wrongful initiation of civil proceedings against Iravani and her attorneys. Ethics and judgment are supposed to discourage lawyers from bringing baseless claims. It is a shame when someone must file suit in order to “scare” potential plaintiffs from abusing the courts and filing frivolous claims for an improper purpose.

The AutoAdmit case has been shown to be more of a shakedown, legal extortion, than a suit calculated to vindicate any real legal interests. While some might point out that over-inclusiveness and scattershot complaints are more common than I might like, the fact is that Bartow’s post is less about backing a nice guy – and more of a way of backpedaling and acting as an apologist for misuse of the legal system. Ethics matter, and the reason that so many lawyers miss that lesson is professors like this seem to disagree.

Ciolli had some pretty damning evidence to present in his case. Unfortunately for him, the E.D. Pa. ruled that it was excluded by FRE 408. Lets sit back and see if Ciolli’s lawyer in that case can find an alternate way of getting the information before the court. If he can, I’d imagine that Ciolli will prevail — which will probably give Bartow an excuse to blame it on the “patriarchy,” because in Bartow-world, the only women who are ever wrong or ill-motivated are those who disagree with her.

UPDATE: UMass Rejects P.C. Censorship

April 24, 2009

Last week we reported on how some University of Massachusetts liberals thought that free speech only means politically correct speech. See University of Massachusetts Liberals Against the First Amendment.

In a rather surprising move, the University of Massachusetts administration has reversed the Student Government Association’s blatant swipe against free speech in the name of political orthodoxy. See S.P. Sullivan’s coverage of the reversal here

The SGA had originally voted on the motion in response to The Minuteman’s latest issue, which levied personal attacks against SGA member and Student Bridges director Vanessa Snow.

When the bill, Enactment 2000-S54, was first passed as a motion, Robinson said in an interview that The Minuteman had abused its rights as an RSO by committing slander.

“It’s quite simple that in my understanding of what slander is that The Minuteman crossed the border from opinion to slander,” he said. Robinson said that members of The Silent Majority, the group that publishes The Minuteman, were not invited to the meeting because the motion did not require immediate action.

“It’s just a polite request to the secretary of the registry to look into these charges,” he said.

In a letter to SGA president Stephanie Ngozi Mbawuike dates April 15, 2009, Terry explained that she would not sign the enactment:

Please be advised that Enactment of the Student Government Association 2000-S54, bearing the date 04-08-2009, has not been accepted for the administration and does not bear my signature. As the enactment does not reflect an appreciation of the Silent Majority’s constitutional right to the exercise of free speech, I reject it altogether and recommend that it be rescinded in its entirety.

Terry’s rejection of the enactment came just a few days after SGA commuter senator Derek Khanna was removed from an SGA meeting when he refused to give up the floor after Robinson would not acknowledge a motion Khanna put forth redacting the suspension of The Minuteman

The Minuteman’s criticism of Ms. Snow was juvenile and piggish (look who’s talking), but that doesn’t take it outside the realm of speech protected by the First Amendment. In my years at UMass, the administration was not so even-handed — and frequently took the position that the Constitution means nothing when someone’s feewings are hurt. I’m delighted and proud to see that the current administration is not so narrow minded.

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Would You Give Up Your Free Speech Rights For a Piece of Bread?

March 21, 2009

The University of Florida’s student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists conducted a little experiment in Gainesville today — offering a free meal to anyone who would sign a document that waived their First Amendment rights. Those who complied were placed in a pen where theater students acted as guards.

About 300 students participated. One student had a pragmatic view on the exercise:

[Alex] Wilson said the First Amendment rights were crucial and a state wouldn’t be legitimate without giving rights to its people.

However, that wasn’t enough to stop him from getting a free meal.

“I think free food is worth 20 minutes of not having rights,” he said. “But only 20 minutes.” (source)

At least one Gator made me proud:

Daniella Dorcelus, a fourth-year journalism student, was insulted by the idea of losing her free speech.

“I’m not signing my rights away for a piece of bread,” she said to a member of SPJ after being given the opportunity to sign the waiver.

Dorcelus said she believed too much in the power of individuals to speak their mind to participate.(source)

Not even for a measly 20 minutes?

Good for you, Daniella. I’m proud of you.

“Cyberbullying” – The First Amendment Means we Don’t Have to be Nice

February 11, 2009

There sure is nothing wrong with choosing to be nice and civil. There is nothing wrong with choosing to make your words soft — as you may need to eat them one day.

But, the First Amendment means that it must remain just that — a choice. This Arizona Daily Wildcat editorial discusses the ludicrousness of the “cyberbullying” hysteria and exposes it for what it is — censorship in “protect the children” clothing.

The First Amendment doesn’t have any fine print. There aren’t any puling little equivocations, any “buts” or “excepts.” The amendment protects freedom of speech, period.

This is why the First Amendment presents an ever-present threat to those who would seek to stifle us in the name of hurt feelings. And that is why we must be ever on alert to spot attempts to keep us from expressing “hurtful” thoughts. They don’t trumpet their intention of censorship; they mask their intentions in the guise of promoting “safety” and preventing “harassment,” even if those elements are in no way relevant.

Connecticut Legislator Pushes for Student Speech Rights Bill

January 31, 2009

We haven’t given out a First Amendment Bad Ass award in a while, but Connecticut State Senator, Gary D LeBeau, come on down! LeBeau has proposed a “student speech” bill in the Connecticut General Assembly.

Sen. Gary D. LeBeau, the Democrat from East Hartford who co-chairs the General Assembly’s Commerce Committee, said today that he was spurred to introduce his bill by the nationally publicized case of Avery Doninger, a former Burlington high school student disciplined for a 2007 Internet posting she wrote from her home.

“I strongly believe in the First Amendment,” the lawmaker said. “And after what school administrators did in the Doninger case, what’s needed is a bright line of where the state — since the school was acting on behalf of the state — can impinge on the rights of individuals. I think they overstepped in this case.

“As long as a message like hers is not sent directly to a school, or if she is not using school equipment, this young person and everyone else has a right to say what they think,” he added. “Unfortunately, the way she said it was pretty offensive, but that happens — and that’s sometimes the very speech that needs to be protected.” (source)

Hell yeah.

Georgia Tech Speech Codes Struck Down

December 29, 2008

A liberal speech code was struck down as unconstitutional, and the university got slapped with a $200,000 attorneys fees bill.

Facebook Post Criticizing Teacher Leads to Suspension (and Lawsuit)

December 10, 2008

Katherine Evans, a Flori-duh high school student used her Facebook page to criticize Sarah Phelps, her AP English teacher. Evans described Phelps as “the worst teacher I have ever met.” She then asked her classmates to join in. However, the marketplace of ideas did not seem to be very receptive to Evans’ criticism. Three students chimed in praising Ms. Phelps and criticizing Evans as “immature.” Evans then took down the Facebook page.

This being Flori-duh, the school principal couldn’t resist the opportunity to chip away at the First Amendment.

[W]hen Peter Bayer, the school’s principal, learned of the posting, he suspended Evans for “bullying and cyber bullying harassment towards a staff member.”

Evans had to stay out of school for three days, she was removed from her AP classes and forced into ”lesser-weighted honors classes,” (source)

The ACLU has taken up Evans’ case and filed suit against Bayer for violating her First Amendment rights.

See also, Student Press Law Center, Florida high school student files complaint after suspension for creating Facebook page critical of teacher

Arrested for Cheering

June 16, 2008

Seven people were arrested for cheering.

Cheering what?

An Al Quaeda attack? No. Cheering at the death of a puppy? No. Cheering as a mob of people rape a handicapped person? No.

These scofflaws had the audacity to cheer as their loved ones received high school diplomas.

When school officials in Rock Hill, South Carolina, tell graduation ceremony crowds to hold their applause until the end, they mean it — Police arrested seven people after they were accused of loud cheering during the ceremonies.

Six people at Fort Mill High School’s graduation were charged Saturday and a seventh at the graduation for York Comprehensive High School was charged Friday with disorderly conduct, authorities said. Police said the seven yelled after students’ names were called. (source)

And to think, we fought a war to keep South Carolina part of the United States. That was a waste of money.

HT: Supe

School paper disbanded due to content

June 11, 2008

From the Boston Globe

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—A high school newspaper in California was disbanded after it published a front-page photo of a student burning an American flag, triggering criticism that the administration was stifling free expression.
more stories like this

Shasta High School Principal Milan Woollard said the school year’s final issue of the student-run Shasta High Volcano was embarrassing.

“The paper’s done,” Woollard told the Record Searchlight newspaper of Redding. “There is not going to be a school newspaper next year.”

I found out why there are so many songs about rainbows!

May 13, 2008
Horny Leprechaun

If this gives you wood
you might be a high school
principal from the panhandle

In Gillman v. Holmes County School District, a federal judge ruled today that a Florida panhandle school could not suppress student speech that promoted solidarity and support for gay classmates.

“Standing up to my school was really hard to do, but I’m so happy that I did because the First Amendment is a big deal to everyone,” said Heather Gillman, a junior at Ponce de Leon High School and the plaintiff in the case.

The Court issued an order that the school’s censorship must stop, and that the school was forbidden from committing any acts of retaliation. (source)

The case came about after Heather Gillman and other students approached the ACLU about an atmosphere in which students say they were routinely intimidated by school officials for things like writing “gay pride” on their arms and notebooks or wearing rainbow-themed clothing. According to students, problems began in September of 2007 when a lesbian student tried to report to school officials that she was being harassed by other students because she is a lesbian.

During the trial, which was held in Panama City yesterday and today, Ponce de Leon High School’s principal David Davis admitted under oath that he had banned students from wearing any clothing or symbols supporting equal rights for gay people. Davis also testified that he believed rainbows were “sexually suggestive” and would make students unable to study because they’d be picturing gay sex acts in their mind. The principal went on to admit that while censoring rainbows and gay pride messages he allowed students to wear other symbols many find controversial, such as the Confederate flag. (emphasis added)

I can’t believe it… Principal Davis found out! All these years, there have been secret porn messages hidden in rainbows! No WONDER there are so many songs about rainbows! Kermit the Frog is now busted as a homophile promoting the damn homosexual agenda!

Watch this if you dare — it has secret gay sex messages in it. But, if you wear tinfoil on your head while watching, you can keep them from penetrating your skull.

Oh, wow… I did some more research. This whole “rainbows and gay sex” theory totally explains THIS!

You guessed it… the principal is the ass hat of the day. People wonder why Flori-duh can’t seem to run an election, or that every freak in America seems to wind up here.. When our public school principals are this dumb, what hope do the kids have?