Student Press Law Center
Spring 2001 - Internet
Vol. XXII, No. 2 - Page 24
District pays $62,000 in damages
after losing suit filed by student
suspended for Web site
WASHINGTON -- School administrators received a lesson in First Amendment rights in 2001 after a judge approved a settlement granting more than $60,000 to a student who was suspended for posting a Web site that poked fun at his assistant principal.
The student ridiculed the assistant principal on his Web site by posting altered photos of him in a Viagra commercial and on the body of cartoon character Homer Simpson having sex.
Court: MySpace suspension
violated student's rights
Judge says Supreme Court's
recent Morse decision
does not apply to case
July 16, 2007
PENNSYLVANIA — A school district violated the First Amendment by suspending a student who created a satirical profile of his principal on MySpace.com, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled July 10.
"The mere fact that the Internet may be accessed at school does not authorize school officials to become censors of the World-Wide Web," the judge, Terrence McVerry, wrote in his opinion. "Public schools are vital institutions, but their reach is not unlimited."
Justin Layshock, a senior and honors student at Hickory High School, said on a mock MySpace profile, which he made using a computer at his grandmother's house in December 2005, that his principal, Eric Trosch, used drugs and kept a beer keg behind his desk.
About the Student Press Law Center
Since 1974, the Student Press Law Center has been the nation's only legal assistance agency devoted exclusively to educating high school and college journalists about the rights and responsibilities embodied in the First Amendment and supporting the student news media in their struggle to cover important issues free from censorship.
The Center provides free legal advice and information as well as low-cost educational materials for student journalists on a wide variety of legal topics. In addition, the SPLC operates a formal Attorney Referral Network of approximately 150 lawyers across the country who are available to provide free legal representation to local students when necessary.
Approximately 2,500 student journalists, teachers and others contact the Center each year for help or information. Calls come from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.The SPLC is a nonprofit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) corporation. The Center is headquartered in Arlington, Va, where it shares a suite of offices with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
The organization is run by an executive director and a corporate board of directors composed primarily of journalism educators, professional journalists and attorneys. The SPLC is supported by contributions from student journalists and other interested individuals as well as donations from foundations and corporations.
Graphic via Massachusetts
Law Enforcement Network
Why would not EVERY kid
at that high school
get a MySpace account
and post every day from now
to the end of the school year,
one simple line -
MY PRINCIPAL IS A DOUCHE-BAG!