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School attorneys working hard to tip the balance against students like Emma Sullivan

(12/11/11 2:40pm)

A high school student makes a coarse remark about a prominent politician on Twitter. The post comes to the attention of her principal, who gives her a stern lecture about civility but recognizes that his authority goes no further, and that any punishment must come from the student’s parents. This is a delicately balanced system of freedom versus authority at work – and in the case of tweeting Kansas teen Emma Sullivan, the system did work. Emma received a chewing-out for her unkind (but constitutionally protected) message about Kansas Gov.

BREAKING: Univ. of Wisconsin – Milwaukee newspaper announces lawsuit against former student government officials for theft

(12/11/11 10:56pm)

Student journalists at The UWM Post at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee announced late Sunday they plan to sue two former student government officials, alleging they participated in the theft and destruction of 800 copies of the newspaper in November October. In a news story, the paper said it's own investigation revealed former Student Association President Alex Kostal directed his office manager to steal the newspapers.

Louisiana student settles lawsuit over insulting Facebook post

(01/11/12 6:26pm)

A Louisiana high school student has dropped an off-campus free speech lawsuit against his school after officials agreed to expunge records of the discipline he received. The unnamed student at Brusly High School in West Baton Rouge received a two-day, in-school suspension after administrators discovered a Facebook post in which he insulted a teacher.

Supreme Court's online speech no-decision counts as a "win" for student First Amendment rights

(01/18/12 6:57pm)

The announcement that the Supreme Court will not hear any case this term involving the First Amendment rights of students punished for off-campus speech on social networking sites left one thing firmly established: That the law is not firmly established. That is not altogether a bad place to be. Considering the alternative. In 2007, the Supreme Court allowed itself to be swayed by sympathy for a put-upon high school principal in Juneau, Alaska, who made the ill-advised decision to snatch away a humorous banner that one of her students was waving at an off-campus event.

Indiana's HB 1169 risks unleashing zero-tolerance "government parents"

(02/14/12 12:28pm)

Unless an outbreak of common sense sweeps through the Statehouse, Indiana is about to become the most frightening place in America to be a kid. House Bill 1169, pushed by the special-interest lobbyists for school administrators, would unleash school principals to control essentially anything their students do – anytime, anywhere – that they disapprove of. The bill, sponsored by Rep.

Hundreds rally for Bridgewater State columnist attacked over gay marriage editorial

(02/23/12 1:47pm)

It’s not often a student journalist is targeted with violence over something they’ve written. It’s even rarer for an entire school to rally behind them. Bridgewater State University student journalist Destinie Mogg-Barkalow, who wrote a pro-gay marriage editorial last week, was allegedly assaulted over her opinion piece.

Bill letting Indiana schools punish off-campus conduct gets shipped to study committee, buying students a reprieve

(03/08/12 10:17pm)

On Wednesday, Indiana high school students celebrated "First Amendment Day" at the state Capitol -- and on Thursday, they got to keep their constitutionally protected freedoms safe for at least another year. By a vote of 88-0, the state House voted Thursday night to accept a much-diluted Senate version of HB 1169, a controversial measure that -- as originally filed -- would have enabled schools to suspend or expel students whose behavior anywhere, even at home, was considered an "interference with school purposes." Indiana schools currently can punish illegal conduct that disrupts or interferes with school, but HB 1169 would have allowed suspension or expulsion even for lawful behavior. Instead of granting schools the expanded disciplinary authority they sought, the bill as passed merely calls for the appointment of a 14-member study committee to look at "best practices for school discipline." Among the 14 members will be eight state legislators and three local school administrators; students will not be represented. State Rep.