Decision upholding punishment appealed


Student 'guilty' of disruption by court, but not school





OREGON — A high school student has appealed a state circuit court’s ruling that he “stepped over the bounds of constitutional protection” by “advocating direct and disruptive action against the school” when he distributed an underground newspaper.

Chris Pangle sued the Bend-LaPine School District when it expelled him after he published OUTSIDE!, a newspaper critical of teachers and administrators. Articles suggested that students seek revenge on teachers by “blowing up the bathrooms” or sending pornography to their home addresses.

Pangle’s attorney, Jonathan Hoffman, argued in his brief filed in May that the court cannot find the student guilty of advocating direct and disruptive action against the school when the school district did not find him guilty of the same charge.

Also, Hoffman contends, the offensive language for which the school suspended Pangle is protected by both the First Amendment and the state constitution. Hoffman said the American Civil Liberties Union will file a brief on Pangle1s behalf.

Pangle is appealing to have his disciplinary record expunged. He and his attorney will wait for six to nine months until the appeals court lets them argue their case. In the meantime, Pangle will graduate in June from Mountain View High School — after he spent the first half of his senior year on probation, attending classes under special conditions set by the school.

Although he will no longer be a high school student when his case is argued before the appeals court, Pangle is continuing the fight in the hopes of protecting other student journalists.

“[W]e will make the plea that it will set a precedent for future cases,” Pangle stated.


reports, Spring 1998