Letter to editor sparks suit by Texas student





TEXAS — A high school sophomore who claims his school superintendent squelched his First Amendment rights filed a lawsuit against the administrator in federal court in January.

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Justin Latimer, a student at Crosbyton High School, alleges Superintendent Larry Morris verbally berated him and prohibited him from writing any letters to a local newspaper without prior permission.

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The alleged incident occurred on Sept. 21, when Morris called Latimer to his office after a letter to the editor making reference to the school's band appeared in the Crosby County News and Chronicle.

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Latimer wrote the letter to express his disappointment that the band director canceled plans to perform "Amazing Grace" at a football game. The song was to be a tribute to victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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Morris told Latimer that the letter had "hurt the school, the band and Morris personally," the lawsuit states. In his office and with the band director present, Morris allegedly warned Latimer not to write any more letters without first seeking approval, the lawsuit states.

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The suit seeks damages as well as a temporary injunction preventing Morris from restraining Latimer's speech.


reports, Spring 2002