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Nick Emmett vs. Kent School District
Transcript of Nick Emmett vs. Kent School District
Nick never used the words"hit list" but a television news story about the site mistakenly characterized it as such. That night, Nick removed the site from the Internet. The next day the school placed him on emergency expulsion for harassment, intimidation, and disrupting the school's education process. This was modified to a five-day suspension that included basketball practice and a play-off game.
As you can see, even something written tongue-in-cheek cab backfire. Although Nick won his case and had his school record cleared, he and his family had to put their lives on hold to deal with the school and legal issues. What began as a humorous project went seriously astray. In weighing student speech, on or off campus, both cantent and in
Creating an unofficial school home page with fake obituaries for students.
What Nick Emmett got charged with was harassment, intimidation, and disruption of school's educational process
How Nick felt
No evidence suggested that nick intended to intimidate or threaten anyone or that any student felt threatened by his Website. Nick filed a complaint with the court asking for immediate relief from the school's action. He explained that he went to court to fight for his rights because he doesn't think administrators should be able to make unfair punishments. He care's about school and wants to go to class.
What The Court Decided
After considering Tinker,Fraser, and Hazel wood the court found that Nick's speech was entirely beyond the school's supervision or control. The court recognized that "Web sites can be early indication of a student's violent inclinations and can spread those beliefs quickly to like-minded or susceptible people." But in this case, Nick's speech was not directed to a school assembly as Fraser, nor was it in a school-sponsored format such as the Hazel wood newspaper. Consequently, the court ordered the school to life the suspension, permitting Nick nominal damages of $1.00 and his legal fees of $6,000. Nick commented that he felt good that the judge understood his rights as a student
About Nick Emmett
Nick Emmett was an 18-year-old senior at Kent lake High School in Washington in 2000. He was the co-captain of the varsity basketball team and an honor student with a 3.95 GPA. He had no disciplinary record at school. As a junior, he had taken a creative writing in which students were asked to write their own obituaries. With this in mind, Nick created "The Unofficial Kent lake High Home Page" and hid father helped with the graphics. He posted mock obituaries of his friends and asked viewers to vote on who would die next that is, who would be the subject of the next fake death notice. He included a statement that the site was for entertainment only and was not sponsored or endorsed by the school. Nick even praised some of the teachers and administrators who in turn commended Nick on his Web site. Some students asked to have their obituaries written and added to the site.
The Bottom Line