If you’re class secretary at your high school and your annoying school bureaucrats won’t let you schedule your battle of the bands when you want, what do you do?
Go home and call them “douchebags” on your blog!
Ars Technica reports that Connecticut high-school senior Avery Doninger did that, and, not surprisingly, the school bureaucrats took umbrage. Specifically, they she couldn’t be class secretary anymore. And, in typical American fashion, she and her parents sued. And lost. Even in the court of appeals.
It’s not a violation of your First Amendment rights if school administrators retaliate against you for calling them douchebags, the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals says. High-school students, you have hereby been warned!
By the way, there’s a parallel between this and Sharon Stone offending one-fifth of the world’s population by idiotically suggesting that the Sichuan earthquake was Karmic retribution for China’s Tibet policies. People sometimes hallucinate that the First Amendment not only gives you the right to say whatever boneheaded or offensive stuff you want–but means that your saying it won’t have any personal or professional consequences (such as others deciding not to employ you anymore or regarding you as a moron). It doesn’t.
(Whether the school administrators overreacted in this case is a different question. One imagines that a simple apology from the student might have been all that was called for).
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