LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Swearing In School
Is Not A Crime
February 7, 2010
Once again, school officials are foolishly trying to use the police to enforce good manners [Page 1, Feb. 5, "This Talk Is Definitely Not Cheap"].
Windsor High School's principal [Russell Sills]* will request that police ticket and prosecute students who are caught using profanity in school. This is in addition to five-day suspensions. How ridiculous.
Apparently this principal doesn't understand that constitutional free speech protects bad manners and language in criminal prosecutions, unless the intent of the speaker is to annoy and harass, or unless the language constitutes "fighting words" — that is, words likely to provoke a violent reaction.
Doesn't he know that students can plead not guilty, and then school officials and police will be forced to go to Enfield Superior Court as witnesses at these students' trials? What a waste of taxpayer money and courthouse resources.
Jon L. Schoenhorn, Hartford
•The writer is a lawyer who specializes in criminal and civil rights cases. He is representing former high school student Avery Doninger in a free-speech case against Lewis Mills High School.
* Wonder What
The School Board Legal Counsel
Is Doing Besides Collecting Retainer ...