Cyberbullying & the Law: Free Speech’s Next Frontier

12 12 2008

Remeber J.S.? Probably not. She’s an eighth-grader in Pennsylvania who was suspended for creating a fake MySpace page depicting her principal as a pedophile and a sex addict. In September, U.S. District Judge James M. Munley upheld the constitutionality of the suspension.

Munley, distinguishing the Supreme Court’s decision in Tinker v. Des Moines — the landmark First Amendment case that struck down a school ban on armbands to protest the Vietnam War — relied instead on other cases, such as Bethel School District v. Fraser, where the justices held that “it is a highly appropriate function of public school education to prohibit the use of vulgar and offensive terms in public discourse.”


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