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The Ohio Supreme Court ruled on May 15 that public
school principals are neither "public officials" nor
"public figures" for the purposes of defamation law. The case began with the March 1995 firing of John McIntosh from
his position as principal of East Canton High School.
A Michigan State University ordinance that was used to convict a law student for disrupting a parking enforcement employee has been struck down as unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.
The North Carolina Supreme Court considered Wednesday whether private school police records are public under the state’s open records law.
The North Carolina Supreme Court split evenly today in a ruling that leaves unresolved the openness of private college police records.
Pennsylvania students Brianna Hawk and Kayla Martinez won’t have to worry about removing their “I <3 boobies! (KEEP A BREAST)” bracelets anytime soon, as the nation’s highest court declined to hear their school district’s latest appeal to ban the accessories
In a 5-2 decision, the Montana Supreme Court found that the officials’ closed-door discussions of university policy and other matters violated requirements for public meetings in the state constitution.
In the case Elonis v. United States, the Supreme Court will determine if a conviction for threatening another person on social media requires proof of the speaker’s subjective intent to threaten.
In a 5-4 decision on April 2, the state's highest court reversed an appeals court’s ruling and determined such an investigation “is merely a status of their public employment, not an intimate detail of their personal lives.”
The Court ruled in favor of Anthony Elonis, a Pennsylvania man who was convicted in 2010 under a federal threat-speech statute for violent language he used on Facebook to describe his wife, local elementary schools and an FBI agent.
After the Supreme Court ruled on Elonis in June, free-speech advocates worry about potential consequences on student social media speech.
The Supreme Court declined to hear the case of the former high school rapper who was suspended for posting online a profane rap song directed at two school coaches.
A petition has been filed asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether security videos should be classified as educational records under federal law.
First Amendment organizations are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of a Minnesota community-college student kicked out of school over a dispute with a classmate on Facebook.
On occasion, people in positions of public authority know "just enough law to be dangerous" -- not enough to actually get the answer right, but enough to convince themselves that they have, because the answer has lots of authoritative-sounding words in it.
This is the story of one such occasion.
Recently, the SPLC attorney hotline received what started out as an unremarkable call from a college journalist whose request to a government agency for public records was denied.
Like it or not, attorneys who work on contract for government agencies -- and, it turns out, even those whose payment flows through government agencies' insurance companies -- must let the public know what they're charging for.
That's the bottom line of a new ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court that comes just a few months after courts in California and Ohio reached the same conclusion.
Education Week's Mark Walsh, a veteran Supreme Court reporter who deeply understands education law, is just out with a fascinating look behind the scenes at how the high court arrived at the First Amendment legal standard that governs much of the speech taking place in schools (and, increasingly, in colleges).
The entire piece is well worth reading, but it's particularly enlightening for the nuggets Walsh was able to unearth from the papers of Justices Byron White, author of the majority opinion in Hazelwood School District v.
Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in McBurney v. Young, a case involving out-of-state public records requests.
Records created, held or used by state agencies are (with limited exceptions) supposed to be readily available for the public to inspect, and that includes the records of public schools and colleges.
Remember that iconic scene in "All the President's Men" where hours tick by at the Library of Congress as reporters Woodward and Bernstein flip through mounting piles of index cards, each one memorializing a book requested by the White House?
Chances are if Post reporters need that same information today, it's kept in an Excel spreadsheet that can be sorted, searched and alphabetized in a matter of seconds.
Electronic databases are making it possible for journalists to analyze and present information that previously would have overwhelmed the limits of human patience.
School boards and other government bodies required to admit the public to their meetings have come up a cute, but not especially persuasive, way of doing their business behind closed doors: By not calling their meetings "meetings."
When a bunch of government officials sit around a table and talk about government business, common sense, Webster's dictionary and 20-20 vision say that's a "meeting." Regrettably, some government officials who distrust the public's ability to maturely deal with information -- or who realize their behavior is so deplorable that it can't withstand public scrutiny -- will go to extraordinary lengths to argue otherwise.
They'll claim to be holding a "working session" or some other euphemism that sounds less "meeting-like." That may be reassuring for their consciences, but it's rarely a legally adequate justification to shut the public out.
Recently, a Rhode Island judge ordered that state's Board of Education to invite the public to an "informational retreat" where board members were scheduled to discuss high school graduation requirements and standardized testing.