Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Court backs students' rights to parody principals online

Two Pennsylvania students who created MySpace profiles ridiculing their school principals were protected from school district punishment by their right to freedom of speech, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The separate opinions were released the same day by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in Philadelphia. In both cases, the students created the online profiles outside of school, one on his grandmother's computer and the other on her parents' computer. "The one clear rule that emerges from today's opinions is that school officials' authority to punish kids for saying offensive and critical things off campus is limited," said Witold Walczak, who argued the cases and is legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. Lawyers for the school systems -- Mercer County's Hermitage School District and Schuylkill County's Blue Mountain School District -- could not be reached for comment. - Vivian Nereim and Lauren Rosenthal

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11165/1153551-298-0.stm?cmpid=HBEHTML#ixzz1PFa3NXvL

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