After school officials stopped high school student and junior class secretary Avery Doninger from going forwards with her plans for a “Jamfest” music festival, she posted an exasperated rant on her Livejournal blog calling them “douchebags.” In retaliation, school officials kept the would-be Tracy Flick from running for re-election as class secretary senior year.
Fascism? A violation of Avery’s free speech rights? No. After Avery sued her principal and superintendent on First Amendment grounds, judges ruled school officials had “qualified immunity” from litigation. The court also said the livejournal post should be treated as “on-campus” speech.
This case has been around for a bit: It bubbled up to an appellate court over the summer, which sent it back down to district court. The Citizen Media Law Project tracks the legal maneuverings, and we think this latest decision ends it.
We hope so, and applaud the judges. Best Avery learn manners in the relatively consequence-free environment of high school, before she one day ruins her career by calling her employer a “douchebag” on LinkedIn.
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