Federal appeals court lets expulsion stand





WASHINGTON — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in January denied an en banc hearing in the case of a student expelled from Blaine High School for a poem he wrote at home.

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James LaVine was expelled for 17 days in 1998 after administrators in the school district near the Canadian border got wind of a violent fictitious poem he wrote about a school shooting.

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In July 2001 the appellate court overrode a lower court's decision in favor of LaVine, ruling that administrators acted appropriately.

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Although the court again sided with the school in its 2001 ruling, two dissenting opinions blasted the panel for its suppression of student freedom of expression.

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LaVine's attorney Breann Beggs said he filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court at the end of April and is doubtful the court will decide whether to hear the case before the fall.

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Case:

LaVine v. Blaine School Dist., 279 F.3d 719 (9th Cir. 2002)


reports, Spring 2002