Friday, May 25, 2007

A Failure to Educate & An Opportunity For A Civil Rights Litigator: School Bosses Try To Stamp Out Free Speech

Thanks for calling it to my attention. I don't think douche bag is a swear word so what is the fuss?

Lewis Mills High School Principal
Gives New Meaning To Term, “douche bag”

Student Yanked From Ballot After On-Line Posting
Noontime Burning Of Constitution To Follow
Student Banned From Elections
After Using Offensive Term In Blog

POSTED: 4:45 pm EDT May 24, 2007
UPDATED: 5:01 pm EDT May 24, 2007

BURLINGTON, Conn. -- A Burlington teenager said she's been banned from running for office at her high school because of a comment she posted online.

Elections at Region 10's Lewis Mills High School take place Friday, but Avery Doninger's name appears nowhere on the ballot.

She was planning to run for secretary of her class, but she said her principal said no after reading something Doninger posted online.

It started when Doninger, 16, was upset over ongoing scheduling snags with a popular school event called Jamfest.

She posted in her online journal about it, calling an unnamed central office worker a “douche bag.”

"It was an unsavory term and I shouldn't have said it. It was a rude comment," she said. "It was written thinking that it would be private and it didn't occur to me that it's on the Internet, it's public."

Her principal asked her to tell her mom about the comment and apologize to the superintendent, which Doninger said she did.

She was also banned from running for class secretary, a position she's held for three years.

The district views leadership positions as a privilege, not a right.

The school's principal [identified on school web site as Karissa Niehoff ] said, “When kids are in a position of privilege, there are certain standards of behavior we expect them to uphold. Our position stands for respect. We’re just hoping kids appreciate the seriousness of any communication over the Internet."

While she doesn't like the language her daughter used, Lauren Doninger feels the punishment is too harsh.

"I think that when a student on a sports team loses his or her temper at a coach, they're suspended for a game, maybe for a season. This consequence is an entire year," she said.

While Doninger knows she has a first amendment right to speak her mind, she said she’s also learned from the ordeal.

"I mean I've really learned my lesson. You can't present yourself in that way," Doninger said.

They hoped school officials would change their minds and allow her to run, but officials said that will not happen.

  • T-Shirt Demand

  • Douche Bag Reprise
  • 1 comment:

    Scott McLeod said...

    We're having a conversation about this and another case at

    Fun stuff!