Friday, August 19, 2011

IM’s and Free Speech

I was researching on a topic to post for my ICT blog which would already be a late submission (I forgot to post last Thursday). I came across the recent decision of a federal judge in a US Case Wynar v Douglas County School District. Plaintiff Wynar tried to say that his First Amendment Right (Right to free speech) was violated when the school officials suspended and later expelled him from school due to an instant message sent to his school mate, which was later on reported to the school administration. The instant message pertained to a plan to harm several students in school, it made reference to the Virginia Tech Massacre.

That court held that his right to free speech was not infringed by the school administration of DCSD, when he was suspended and later on expelled for it. The court said that the right to free speech is limited; “A school may discipline or suppress speech if there are sufficient facts for school authorities to reasonably forecast the substantial disruption of, or material interference with, school activities.” The court further said that the school has authority to suppress speech on campus or off campus, this was rather an important aspect of the case because the IM was made outside of school. [See:, for a summary on the case]

Entry #9

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