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ACLU: Suspension over Facebook message went too far

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Posted: Jan 12, 2011 2:48 PM by Russell Jones
Updated: Jan 12, 2011 2:48 PM
Source: ACLU of Louisiana

  Rating: 5.0 (2 votes)

Topics: east, baton, rouge, student, suspension, reversed, school, board, aclu, first, amendment, rights, wbrz, louisiana

BATON ROUGE – A student suspended after posting a message on Facebook which said he hated his teacher has had the suspension reversed, according to the ACLU of Louisiana.

According to a press release from the ACLU, the East Baton Rouge Parish School System removed the suspension from the student's record in a hearing today. The student in question is a seventh-grader from Glasgow Middle School and was represented at the hearing by the ACLU.

“Students have the full legal right to criticize their teachers,” said Marjorie R. Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana. “The fact that this student used a computer to state his grievances in no way diminishes his First Amendment right to speak his mind.”

The ACLU says the student posted a message on Facebook that said “I hate” and the teacher’s name. When the site was brought to the attention of Glasgow’s principal, the student was suspended for two days in November.

The ACLU argued that since the message was posted using the student’s computer at home, the school had no jurisdiction to discipline him, and doing so infringed his First Amendment rights.

Chris Trahan with the EBR School System said the district does not comment on disciplinary matters involving students.

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