Friday, February 5, 2010
Federal appellate judges deciding if schools can discipline students for Internet speech posted off-campus have reached different rulings in two Pennsylvania cases.
One 3rd U.S. Circuit Court panel upheld the suspension of a Schuylkill County eighth-grader who posted sexually explicit material along with her principal's photograph on a fake MySpace page.
But a different three-judge panel says school officials in Mercer County can't reach into a family's home and police the Internet. That case also involves a MySpace parody.
The American Civil Liberties Union represents both students on free-speech grounds.
ACLU lawyer Witold Walczak says the case law was already unclear — and now appears to be in chaos.
The Supreme Court has not weighed the issue.