The (US Supreme Court–ed.) justices on Tuesday rejected appeals from Pennsylvania and West Virginia involving questions about the limits on criticism from students and where the authority of school officials ends.

The high-court decision left standing lower-court rulings that two Pennsylvania students could not be disciplined at school for parodies of their principals that they created on home computers and posted online.

In the West Virginia case, an appeals court upheld the suspension of a student who created a web page that suggested another student had a sexually transmitted disease, and invited classmates to comment.

So there’s one precedent that lets punishment for out-of-school behavior stand one one that does not.

That clears things up nicely.

There’s more about the Pennsylvania case here.

Addendum:

See Glomarization’s comment below. H/T to Glomization, Esq., for casting some light on this.

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1 Comment

  1. Well, the first one is satire, which is highly protected under the First Amendment; but the second one is harassment, which isn’t. If the school has an anti-harassment policy (which it should), it probably includes out-of-school behavior when the target is another student. Since the harassing kid was inviting other students to participate in the harassment, then the kid was inviting school discipline.