It’s not a new story. A student clashes with a teacher, the student calls the teacher “the worst” and the student ends up in the principal’s office.
Except the student in this situation, Katherine Evans, talked about her teacher on a Facebook page she created just for that purpose and was eventually suspended by the principal who called it “cyberbullying,” The New York Times said.
Evans sued the the principal, claiming a violation of her free speech rights and asking that the suspension be wiped from her record. The principal had asked for the suit to be dismissed, claiming he was immune from the suit, but a federal judge ruled the suit can go forward, the article said.
Evans is now a sophomore at the University of Florida; the ACLU took up her cause in 2007.
Though we have sympathy for a teacher that finds her students looking to virtually catalogue their complaints, it’s difficult to see how, aside from technology, it’s any different than a student who writes a note at home (which is where Evans created the site) whining about a disagreement with their teacher.
If she had done it at school and it was disruptive, that would be different. But if it’s an outside-of-school activity that remains opinion-based (i.e., isn’t slanderous), then this is just a by-product of technology and the First Amendment.
The New York Times full report is here.
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