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Civil liberties groups call on Tenn. school district to revise 'unconstitutional' tech policy

(10/29/14 2:23pm)

A Tennessee school district’s technology and internet policy, which allows school administrators to examine electronic devices students bring from home and monitor communications or data transmitted on the district’s network, violates students’ rights to free speech and protection against “suspicionless searches,” The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee and the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote in a letter to the district Monday.



U. of Tulsa administrator threatens to punish student journalists for investigating student’s punishment over Facebook posts

(02/12/15 4:26pm)

When George “Trey” Barnett was suspended from the University of Tulsa without a disciplinary hearing for violating the institution’s harassment policy and for sharing information about his pending disciplinary case, he asked the student newspaper to investigate.





Ninth Circuit gives school officials (limited) license to punish students' threatening online speech

(09/05/13 2:07pm)

Whether public schools can regulate students' off-campus speech just as if the speech occurred on campus is a recurring legal issue that will arise with increasing frequency now that state legislatures are putting schools into the business of policing online bullying. The Ninth Circuit U.S.



Student's "lewd" video about teacher provokes errant Wisconsin ruling applying "online harassment" law

(02/23/14 9:32pm)

Can derogatory remarks about a teacher be both constitutionally protected speech and also punishable as harassment? A Wisconsin appeals court appears to believe so. The Wisconsin Supreme Court is being asked to take up the case of "Kaleb K.," a 15-year-old student from Stevens Point, Wisc., who was arrested after posting a homemade rap on YouTube filled with profane, degrading language about his Spanish teacher. In September 2012, a juvenile-court judge declared Kaleb delinquent on the grounds of violating state criminal statutes against disorderly conduct and unlawful use of a computer communications system. In a ruling last November, the state Court of Appeals threw out the disorderly conduct charge, finding that Kaleb's lyrics, though distasteful, were not threatening, obscene or otherwise outside the boundaries of the First Amendment. But the court then went on to uphold the conviction under the state's computer-harassment law, which makes it a misdemeanor if a speaker "sends a message to [a] person on an electronic mail or other computerized communication system" that contains lewd or profane language "with the intent to harass, annoy, or offend." It's possible to harass someone even with a constitutionally protected message if the speech is delivered in an especially harassing manner.