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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another Student Suspended for Dissing Teacher on Facebook

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 11:08 AM

click to enlarge rsz_facebook_dislike_thumb_135x135_thumb_250x250_thumb_222x222.jpg

We've seen a few times over the past year that the casual contact facilitated by Facebook is proving to be a sticky wicket for teachers and their students. Now a Louisiana high-school senior is arguing in federal court that he's the latest victim of unfair policing of online social space.

The student, who is identified in court documents only as "Minor Doe," asserts along with his father in a filing in U.S. District Court in Louisiana that he was wrongly suspended for two days, resulting in his missing crucial test review sessions in his classes and receiving poor grades on exams.

The reason for the suspension? According to the lawsuit, he "criticized one of his teachers on Facebook" -- the nature of the insult is not specified -- one night "from his own computer, in his own bedroom, at his parents' home."

The comment was apparently formatted so that it could only be read by 10 other students on Facebook. One of them took a picture of the post and sent it to the teacher, who shared it with the principal of Brusly High School, in West Baton Rouge Parish. The principal asserted that the comment violated the school's policy for "improper access of the Internet."

The lawsuit states that the school's action violated the student's First Amendment rights, and asks that an injunction be issued preventing school officials from disclosing the suspension as part of the student's disciplinary file.

The ACLU is helping represent the student, just as it did in another case earlier this year in the Sacramento suburb of Citrus Heights. In that case, a 15-year-old at Mesa Verde High was punished for cyber-bullying after he wrote on Facebook that his biology teacher was "a fat ass who should stop eating fast food, and is a douche bag."

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Peter Jamison

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