Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Connecticut In The News, Free Speech, Public Schools, and the Internet

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has heard the case of a Burlington High School Student barred for running for student council because of comments on an internet blog. I'm tentatively familiar with free speech in schools issues, but I'll probably read up a bit to see how this might turn out.

One thing seems fairly certain to me- the decision should center on the fact that the girl was barred from serving on the student council. I don't think there's anyway this stands as a pure disciplinary decision- I can't imagine that a school has carte blanche to punish students for speech outside of school, regardless of how disruptive that speech might be. Speech can be censored in school and at school activities, but the school's reach can't extend to speech on a student's own time. The tricky part (at least for me) seems to be the student council aspect- I know schools can require certain standards of those serving on student council, but I'm not sure if there's much law on that particular question. More later ...


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