As many people know, I’m a big fan of individual rights over the internet. Although people can do, and sometimes say things very hurtful or harmful over the internet, for the most part, the freedom of speech should be given a lot of deference. I think that is why I found the following article (by Rick Phillips) so pleasing.
A former Florida high school student who was suspended by her principal after she set up a Facebook page to criticize her teacher is protected constitutionally under the First Amendment, a federal magistrate ruled.
The ruling denied the principal’s motion to dismiss the case and allows a lawsuit by the student to move forward.
Katherine Evans, was suspended in 2007 from Pembroke Pines Charter High School after she used her home computer to create a Facebook page titled, “Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I’ve ever met.”
In the order, the Court found that the student had a constitutional right to express her views on the social networking site.
“Evans’ speech falls under the wide umbrella of protected speech,” he wrote. “It was an opinion of a student about a teacher, that was published off-campus … was not lewd, vulgar, threatening, or advocating illegal or dangerous behavior.”
School principal Peter Bayer suspended Evans, an honor student, for three days for disruptive behavior and cyberbullying of a staff member. Bayer also removed her from Advanced Placement classes and assigned her to regular classes.