Link to the original.
The Layshock v. Hermitage School District and J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District cases were heard by the Third Circuit court this spring and summer. Yesterday, the court issued two simultaneous opinions to resolve how much control high schools may exercise over their students’ off-campus, online speech. In Layshock v. Hermitage School District and J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District, the 14-judge court delivered two landmark victories for free speech.So here's the question for all of the schools which are trying to police bullying: if the act occurred at home, using a home computer, how can the school discipline the student for it? What if the iPhone's Facebook app is used from the sidelines of a football game? This isn't Tinker - in fact the Justices specifically said they weren't at that point - so what is an over-bearing, self-important little HIP principal to do?
The judges held that school officials cannot, “reach into a child’s home and control his/her actions there to the same extent that it can control that child when he/she participates in school sponsored activities.” In the two respective cases, students had been disciplined for creating MySpace profiles intended to mock their principals. The Third Circuit ruled that schools cannot punish students’ online speech simply because it is vulgar, lewd, or offensive.
More specifically, when are we as a society going to figure out what to do with our bullied children?
(Hint: Start with a visit to the home of the bully. Asking the school to do that for you is inappropriate.)