Student Punished for Vulgar Tweets About Principal Claims Rights Denial

, New Jersey Law Journal


A high school student with "oppositional defiant disorder" who was banned from the prom, senior trip and commencement for tweeting vulgar comments about the principal claims disability discrimination as well as a First Amendment violation in a federal suit.

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What's being said

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    Aren‘t we forgetting about H.W.s twit inviting classmates to join her for an early morning joint. The USSC says schools have a "compelling interest" in prohibiting speech which encourages or promotes illegal drug use, such as a student’s banner proclaiming, “BONG HITS 4 JESUS,” whatever that means. Morse v. Frederick, 551 US 393 (2007).

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    I don‘t buy the "oppositional defiant disorder" as a "disability" that the school must accommodate. To me, though, the serious issue here is the school‘s ability to discipline a student for "disrespectful" comments outside of school hours and and unconnected with school activities. Good lord, if you can‘t call the principal and teachers names, among your friends, high school would be even more depressing and oppressive than it is already. There were no threats here, no defamation, simply an "offensive" comment expressing one student‘s feelings about a school administrator. That‘s up to parents to deal with, not the school.

    I wish they hadn‘t asserted the "disability" aspect of the claim, which only muddies the waters and weakens the more serious First Amendment issue.

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    Student claims that she has a disorder that prevents her from accepting authority now wants a higher authority to help her out. Ironic?

    I seriously do not understand this alleged disorder. Never heard of it until maybe 2 years ago when a teacher tried explaining it to me. From what she said, it sounded like someone created a medical-sounding name to label kids who are total assholes.

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    We certainly have issues with the way students are being educated; with the quality of teachers; with tenure; with overpaid/duplicate administration. But we are now adding the burden to school administration of not being able to do anything ‘reasonable‘ without the threat of litigation. I wonder if the school had been previously advised of this student‘s ‘operational defiant disorder‘...whether in fact any treatment has actually occurred prior to the litigation. And in LAD cases, it seems like such a no-lose for a plaintiff/counsel; win and get the fees paid. Lose and (almost) never have to pay the other side‘s fees. I guess there‘s no reason with that disorder the student couldn‘t just blurt things out in class, either. In fact, it will help the student‘s case if she continues with as much disruptive behavior as possible.
    Damages? you got to be kidding me.

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    Clearly a case of inmates running the asuylum.

    Would you have taken this case? I would not.

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    Making a federal case out of "Missing the Prom for Dissing the Principal." Give me a break.

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    Finally, something consequential coming out of our educational system. The average student graduates, if at all, with an eighth grade reading level and this is what we are concerned with?
    What will this cost the school board and the taxpayers of Sterling?

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    Is the caption beneath the photo an NJLJ caption? Or was that just attached to the stock photo? Because it‘s absolutely perfect, either way.

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