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SCOTUS won't consider off-campus school speech

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The nation’s highest court has declined to take a pair of cases asking whether schools can censor the off-campus behavior of students who post messages or photos against school officials or other students.

In an order list released Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the United States did not accept certiorari in the cases of Blue Mountain School District v. J.S., No. 11-502, and Kowalski v. Berkeley County Schools, No. 11-461.

The Pennsylvania and West Virginia cases involved questions pitting student free speech rights against those of school safety. The cases presented the SCOTUS with a chance to rule for the first time about how far school officials’ authority goes in the modern age.

In Blue Mountain, the full 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals found that two Pennsylvania students couldn’t be disciplined at school for parodies of their principal that they made on home computers and posted online. In Kowalski, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a West Virginia student’s suspension stemming from the creation of a webpage that suggested another student had a sexually transmitted disease.

This issue is one that Indiana has addressed, with U.S. Chief Judge Philip Simon in the Northern District of Indiana ruling in August that a school district shouldn’t have disciplined two high school girls who posted provocative online photos of themselves posing with phallic lollipops and simulating sexual acts. In T.V. and M.K. v. Smith-Green Community School Corp. and Austin Couch, No. 1:09-CV-00290, Simon determined that because the pictures were outside of school, they are protected by the First Amendment.

 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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