Allegations whittled down in student's 'douchebag' free-speech case
A federal judge in New Haven has dismissed the majority of Avery Doninger’s claim against Region 10 school administrators in a closely watched free speech case, although a portion of the claim is still headed to trial.
U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz ruled Jan. 15 that Doninger, of Burlington, who has since graduated from Lewis S. Mills High School, cannot press a claim that her free speech rights were violated when administrators barred her from running for class secretary in 2007 after Doninger referred to administrators as “douche bags” in a blog written on her home computer.
Kravitz will send to a jury trial the lone question of whether administrators violated her rights by inspecting T-shirts on the way into a school as sembly, and preventing students from wearing “Team Avery” T-shirts, a move that prompted Doninger not to don an “RIP Democracy” T-shirt. “While there is conflicting evidence in the record, it is at least arguable that Ms. Doninger’s speech was chilled and that is all that is necessary to prevent the entry of summary judgment for defendants,” Kravitz wrote in a 30-page ruling.
"We Are Not Backing Down."
-- Atty. Jon Schoenhorn to Hartford Courant, noting the case could ultimately reach the U.S. Supreme Court.