Selected Web Postings
-- First Amendment advocates say rulings like this suggest courts are tempted to afford a lower standard of protection for online speech because it is easy to use and instantly reaches readers.
"This completely ignores the facts that actually occurred in the Doninger case, where the evidence showed that as few as three other students ever saw the blog entry before it was taken down," said Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center. "The internet did not, as the court suggests, cause the entire school community to instantaneously see Avery's message, and the sooner we get past the myth that online speech is some terrifying new species of communication, the sooner we can get rational First Amendment rulings from our courts."
-- I find it nothing short of utterly baffling that a school administration thinks it is in any way, shape or form in a position to discipline a student for her thoughts off school grounds
-- Incredibly douchy douchbags. In particular the douchebag on the bench making these bizarro rulings.
-- I can't help but wonder what the judge's ruling would have been if she had made a critical speech off school grounds but somebody videotaped it and posted it on You Tube.
-- The worst thing is the fact that the school continued to deny this girl her status as class secretary even when she was selected as a write-in ... what does that teach the children about elections, democracy (yeah, I know we live in a Republic), and cheating the system?
-- Our Judges have ursurped many of our Constitutional rights and apparently now students can be punished for critizing authority. If our judges wish to discourage free speech by the young, this is a good way to start.
-- If I'm reading this correctly, the gist of Kravitz' ruling is that (a) because of the internet, there is no such thing as "off-campus" speech anymore, and high school students basically forfeit their First Amendment rights by reason of being alive, and (b) even if the the Lewis Mills school administrators did violate basic Constitutional rights in a fit of pique, they really can't be expected to understand the subtleties of Constitutional law, so they can do what they want.
I don't give a rat's you-know-what whether Avery's a brat or her mother's a witch -- all I care about is the rule of law and the rights of citizens in a Constitutional democracy. Like most of the political hacks who have been given life tenure on the federal bench, Kravitz probably can't even spell "consitutional" without his law clerk's help.
-- Despite how the courts ruled here, it looks like Avery Doninger is the real winner. Already showing great promise as a young student motivated to help lead her classmates, pursuing her beliefs into the courts and joining Americorps, I bet she goes on to do great things. I suspect these school administrators have reached their level of incompetency. How could a group of adults collectively conclude that the way to deal with a student's dissenting opinion was to suppress her voice and then bar her from serving her post. Not too much courage shown here.
Good luck Avery, knock em dead.
-- When there are much more grevious problems in our schools to deal with like drugs, domestic violence between teens, and drunk driving this school adminstration decides to crucify an independent thinker.
--As a teacher, I believe that the best way to instill a respect for the rights guaranteed in the Constitution, is to as far as possible allow those rights to students in school. Teachers and administrators should guide students in the responsible use of the power of their speech, and it sounds like this student is responsible enough to have listened.
That said, when oourts in MA in the 90's upheld the rights of students to wear suggestive messages on "Coed Naked" T-shirts in school, public schools were discouraged from enforcing dress codes, a development which I believe has had a decidedly negative effect on school culture.
In this case, if the result of Avery Doninger's speech was to disrupt the proper functioning of the school, it should have been stopped. However, I fail to see how this incident should prevent her from holding an office to which she's elected... should we really stop her from saying the things we think she might say in the future?
-- Ill Be darned....lets investigate the "Off campus" activities of the school officials and see what happens when one of these individuals is to be found to engage in constitutional activities. See what happens when the tables are turned. Judging by the actions of them, they certainly have no credibility and I am sure have skeletons that can cost them their jobs as well...
-- Given decisions in other cases, I find it hard to believe that a complaint about a school decision, made from a private email address, off campus, could lead to this court decision. Or even the original decision by the school authorities. No threats, warnings to anyone, just a strong opposing opinion and request (maybe) for a write in vote (which is a right that those of the age of majority have during any election. Even felons have that right!)
Keep up the legal action. I believe that the school deserves a sizeable penalty which should go to programs involving freedon of speech (although I think the ACLU is an evil organization which should be excluded) and the individuals involved in the original decision should be fired. (And I'm a former educator.) I don't think the girl should be given monetary damages but think the school district should be punished severely. Let's put reason back into decisions. Including court decisions.
-- This is a complete scandal and another instance of the unstoppable dismantling of all constitutional protections by the increasingly fascist unified school-government-justice-police-prison state.
It goes hand in hand with complete freedom of search and seizure of private citizen homes and property by the increasingly militarized police, suspension of due process for 'enemy combatants', forced uniform policies for school children, and the relentless expansion of the justice-police-prison state, including the rapidly expanding for-profit prison industry.
Call me shrill, call me hysterical. The connections are there, but the so-called intellectual class is too busy breaking a leg in their haste to sign up for the 'volunteer' paramilitary brown shirt 'service' corps to notice that their gait is morphing into a goose step.
-- This ruling must not be allowed to stand. First the courts rule that the First Amendment doesn't apply to students. Then they rule that corporations can restrict their employee's First Amendment rights. In that case, the right de facto no longer exists.
-- the judge should be removed from the bench. this is clearly wrong!!!
-- The judge was probably some right-wing whacko, appointed by the Bush admin.
-- Free speech is eroding all the time. Judge messed up on this one.
-- I'm tired of these judges making these terrible rulings that empower this power-hungry public officials. The taxpayers should call an official meeting to demand that these corrupted school offcials resign.
-- I think a higher court will say the administrators went too far.
-- ... even the judge is questioning the true motivation of the principal because he thinks the principal is not telling [the] truth..("Ms. Niehoff's testimony, creates a disputed issue of material fact).and the facts do not bear her out.
--Avery, I hope you go all the way. No tax dollar spent is as important as upholding the U.S. Constitution. "
--Judge Kravitz' reasons for his decision should absolutely shock you to the core.
--They should not be able to dictate what you say and do on your own time. Plain and simple.
--It is as Benjamin Franklin said "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security"
--Once we let administrators start putting a price tag on speaking out, we become a nation of sheep. Afraid of speaking out at our government or administrators. I hope she wins, this is a fight for everyone not just herself. "
--" shhhhh......i hear the gestapo marching "
--The school violated her Constitutional right. End of story.
--This place is becoming more and more like a Police State every day. Why can she not criticize administrators? That question was never answered.
--" what else is the government (thru our dumb judge's) going to take away from us after they take away our freedom of speech?? "
--" all the school administrators should be fired and barred for 5 years from working in any school district. "
--Fight it until the end - it would be no different than a corporation telling you what kind of language you can use when you're at home. "
--" The right of this girl to express herself while off of school grounds is a fundamental right. Regardless of whether or not you agree with what she said she has the right to say it. Now this isn't a job, this is a government institution. They stifled her speech plain and simple. They used the power of the government institution against her to punish her for speaking out. This is a clear violation of her free speech rights. If this had not taken place in a School environment it would be a slam dunk for the girl but because the schools have been given WAY too much leeway when it comes to violating those rights you have a legal battle. This case has far reaching potential and he Girl and her family should be heralded for the fight. They are fighting for all our rights. When any government institution steps in to use its power to suppress and or punish for lawful expression everyone should sit up and take notice. "
--" Terrific. One more fine example of freedom of speech being undone. The whole point of freedom of speech is to be able to levy ones grievances and complaints. This is just bull. For a judge to side with the principal is just outrageous. Way to go America. I think I here Jack Boots marching in. "
--" Doninger was removed from the ballot for calling the principal a douche bag. No interruption of school operation occurred. Hardly anyone even saw the blog. Her write-in victory was denied simply because the administration was offended. I don't have to agree with what she wrote, or encourage her type of behavior or be willing to give her indulgent parents a pass, to believe the principal and school system were way wrong. "
--The whole point of freedom of speech is being about to voice your opinions ( good or bad) on government agency's without a fear of retaliation. "
--funny thing is, the over reaction of the admin disrupted school more than the original act did!
--I may not agree with what she said, but I will defend to the death her right to say it.
--" the school is still led by douche bags, regardless of what the courts say!! "
-- Shame on this judge for eroding the rights of the students- this just shows them they can NOT freely speak their minds despite the First Amendment because they are only children. What kind of adults will they be if they don't have free expression? Oh yeah the kind the government wants- compliant sheep...