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It's April Fools Day on Bizarro Planet -- school administrators turn First Amendment true-believers

(10/17/11 9:27am)

The dictionary defines "chutzpah" as "unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall; audacity; nerve." Mr. Webster, meet the South Carolina Association of School Administrators. While school administrator groups across the country stubbornly resist (and often actively oppose) extending free-speech rights to the students and teachers under their supervision, their brethren in South Carolina yield to no one in their First Amendment zealotry. When it helps them keep secrets from the public. The Association has convinced a state-court judge to exempt it from complying with South Carolina's Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), on the grounds that opening its records to the public would compromise the organization's right to formulate its political positions privately.

Eleventh Circuit applies Hazelwood, turns aside Georgia college student's claim of religious viewpoint discrimination

(12/17/11 2:03pm)

A Georgia college did not violate the First Amendment in ordering a would-be school counselor to complete remedial training to learn how to set aside her personal disapproval of homosexuality when counseling gay and lesbian students, a federal appeals court has ruled. Jennifer Keeton failed to show that Augusta State University punished her for expressing religious views, or compelled her to espouse acceptance of homosexuality contrary to her beliefs, a three-judge panel of the Atlanta-based Eleventh Circuit U.S.

Students lose -- in a victory for a Michigan student. Court rewrites rules of free speech -- in a case that's not about free speech. If this makes sense, get help.

(02/01/12 11:19am)

A federal appeals court's ruling in favor of an Eastern Michigan University student who claims she was forced out of her chosen academic program, counseling, because of her faith-based opposition to homosexuality is being hailed in religious-freedom circles as a grand victory. And technically, a "victory" it was.

Appeals court: Former Valdosta State student's civil rights lawsuit will continue [Updated]

(02/07/12 10:02pm)

Updated 2/8 by Nick Glunt, SPLC staff writer. Original post by Frank LoMonte. A former Georgia college student who was expelled after he crusaded against the college president's parking-garage project can recover damages for violations of his constitutional rights, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday. The 11th U.S.

Indiana's HB 1169 goes to conference committee for more tinkering

(03/02/12 8:16pm)

The latest update in Indiana House Bill 1169’s journey through the legislature is starting to make neurosurgery look easy. Tory Flynn, an Indiana Republican caucus spokeswoman, said the House dissented Thursday to a recent Senate amendment. The bill will go to a conference committee made up of both Senators and House members to hash out the kinks. House Bill 1169 began as a bill to give school administrators authority to punish students for off-campus speech — whether lawful or unlawful.

Censorship FAIL: Refusal to publish atheism column puts school district's policies under the constitutional microscope

(03/22/12 7:54pm)

Unless you are one of the financial backers of "John Carter," it is hard to conceive of a more disastrous flop than the Lenoir City School District's efforts to suppress a teenager's column about religious indoctrination in schools. Had Krystal Myers' column, "No Rights, the Life of an Atheist," been allowed to run in the Lenoir City High School newspaper, its impact would have been limited to the Panther Press' tiny audience.

Student gay-rights advocate loses initial legal challenge, but makes some favorable First Amendment precedent

(04/01/12 8:44pm)

A federal judge has refused to reinstate an Atlanta-area student government leader who was removed from office after pushing to open the competition for "prom court" to same-sex couples -- but the ruling is hardly one for Reuben Lack's school, or any school, to celebrate. U.S.

That didn't take long -- unrepentant free-speech violator Chicago State resumes its censoring ways

(04/06/12 5:36pm)

When Chicago State University's response to a humiliating federal-court defeat -- which found that the college had violated the free-speech rights of its fired newspaper adviser and former editor-in-chief -- was to issue a triumphant news release declaring victory, you knew it wouldn't be long before the college returned to the First Amendment doghouse. Twenty-three days, to be exact. Having learned nothing from U.S.

A First Amendment refresher for administrators at the University of Memphis (and everyone else) about college newspaper funding

(08/05/12 4:20pm)

When campus budget-writers sit down to divvy up student activity fee dollars for the coming term, they understandably want some way of assessing whether the organizations queuing up before them are worthy ones. It may be frustrating that the most obvious way to evaluate the value of the student newspaper -- whether the articles seem well-written and aptly selected -- is forbidden.

Newspaper rack negotiations resume between Independent Florida Alligator, University of Florida

(08/13/12 3:39pm)

The University of Florida postponed plans to remove and replace two dozen of The Independent Florida Alligator's on-campus racks, one day after the independent student newspaper filed a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction. The newspaper has been fighting a school proposal that would put the university in charge of the paper’s distribution sites on campus.

After college spikes story on professor's arrest, student editor publishes it himself

(09/26/12 1:34pm)

When the editor of Bryan College’s newspaper learned there was more to a professor’s resignation than had first appeared, he looked into the incident and started reporting. Using public records, Alex Green discovered that assistant professor David Morgan’s resignation was preceded by a June arrest in which he was charged with attempted aggravated child molestation, attempted child molestation and sexual exploitation of a child. Green planned a story on the arrests, but before it could run in last Friday’s issue of The Bryan College Triangle, college administrators at the private Dayton, Tenn., college told him he couldn’t run the story.