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Student Cyber Speech

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by

Matt Morris

on 13 April 2010

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Transcript of Student Cyber Speech

Student Off-Campus Cyber Speech Basis for Authority
PA School Code
Regulations of Board of Education
PA Statue on Bullying Tinker v. Des Moines Indepent Community School Dist. (1969)
Bethel School District v. Fraser (1989)
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988)
Tinker
Conduct by the student, in class or out of it, which for any reason -- whether it stems from time, place, or type of behavior -- materially disrupts classwork or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others is, of course, not immunized by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech Supreme Court Cases Lower Court Cases J.S. v. Bethlehem Area School District, 807 (2002) Student Creates "Teacher Sux" Web Site at home
Targets Principal and One Teacher
On Teacher: Pages on "Why She Should be Fired" and "Why Should She Die?"
Various vulgar descriptions and depictions of teacher
On one page, "give me $ 20 to help pay for the hitman" Student finishes out year
District moves to suspend for 10 days, then expel
Teacher: Takes medical leave. Three substitutes
Principal testifies that student and staff moral was at an all-time low
Court Findings While crude and offensive, site does not constitute "true threat"
The website is on-campus speech
Site was vulgar and caused a significant disruption to the school
Court upholds expulsion
Case Study! Recent & Local Cases Layshock v. Hermitage School District (2010) Student creates fake MySpace profile for principal
Created in grandparents' house
Sophomoric & rude humor
Students in school must use computers in lab & library until sites are removed
School throws the book at student
Court Rules:
Profile did not create a significant disruption
Was not on-campus speech
Dangerous to grant schools this much authority
Court finds for student J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District (2010) Student creates fake MySpace profile.
Username: kidsrockmybed
Lewd, vulgar, potentially defamatory content
Suggests principal engages in sexual activity in the school
Viewed by at least 22 students in the first 24 hours it was made Court Rules:
No significant disruption of school
Significant potential for disruption based on principal's reputation
Court finds for school dist. Pending Cases D.C. & Harvard-Westlake School, CA

Katherine Evans & Pembrooke Pines Charter HS, FL Recommendations Create a policy or integrate into technology use or bullying policy
Limit policy to what happens on campus, or meets Tinker test. Rule of thumb: If it originated off campus, and it does not contain a blatant threat, leave it alone.
Conference with parents and students to educate them
If there is a threat, take action
Full transcript