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Student suspended over Facebook rant can proceed with lawsuit

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 16 Feb 2010 14:06 User comments (21)

Student suspended over Facebook rant can proceed with lawsuit Katherine Evans, a teenager in Florida sued her former principal in 2007 after she was suspended for criticizing a teacher with a Facebook page.
She was suspended for the page, which the principal called "cyber bullying" and in response, Evans sued the principal. Today, a federal judge has ruled that the suit can proceed, and Evans says she is looking to have her suspension expunged from any permanent records as well as a "nominal fee" and the payment of all her legal fees in the matter.

The case should go to trial by the Spring.

"This is an important victory both for Ms. Evans and Internet free speech," says Maria Kayanan, associate legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, via the NYT. "Because it upholds the principle that the right to freedom of speech and expression in America does not depend on the technology used to convey opinions and ideas."

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21 user comments

116.2.2010 14:30

i think cuber bullying is a bigger deal then "Ms. Evans and Internet free speech" so every time i get banned from a forum for harassment i could sue the Mod because it's my "freedom of internet free speech"? why do people hide behind my freedom of speech? some people are really restarted. oh wait sue me I'm questioning her right to her freedom of speech!

216.2.2010 15:14

Originally posted by null2007:
i think cuber bullying is a bigger deal then "Ms. Evans and Internet free speech" so every time i get banned from a forum for harassment i could sue the Mod because it's my "freedom of internet free speech"? why do people hide behind my freedom of speech? some people are really restarted. oh wait sue me I'm questioning her right to her freedom of speech!

LOL!
I think the rules of the site do not infringe anyone's freedom of speech.
"Freedom of speech" doesn't mean it gives one the right to be an arsehole! There's a difference between stating an opinion in a civilized manner and being a total tool.

316.2.2010 15:16

Hi
In my opinion there is a line NOT to cross .. one side is free speech and the other is cyber bullying .. If/When it makes it to court .. that line will be discussed and that line will determine which side the POST falls on not you, not me,

Beyond the legal decision is net etiquette , IE whether or not you get kicked off sites due to your words.
AND the subject of why a person needs to aggressively and anonymously flame another person or opinion , the fact that another person cant except another persons idea , even if not agreed with. but I am sure this debate will go on for a long time

of course that is my thoughts on the subject

Frank

416.2.2010 15:30

the same thing happen at my school a few girl's made groups attacking teachers with comments. its still harassment and over the internet that shouldn't be aloud who cares if its "freedom of speech" because it isn't right

Quote:
I think the rules of the site do not infringe anyone's freedom of speech."Freedom of speech" doesn't mean it gives one the right to be an arsehole! There's a difference between stating an opinion in a civilized manner and being a total tool.
i wasn't talking about this site i was trying to make a point how you can't say what ever you want about or to someone.

but i hope this girl doesn't get anything facebook is free why should you get money for something you got your self into she wasn't forced to say those things

516.2.2010 16:50

freedom of speech means you have the right to your own opinion but it can still be abused. its one thing to state an actually opinion that can discussed its a whole notther thing to base a whole web page on how you hate a certain person. thats cyber bullying

616.2.2010 17:41

What we're forgetting here is that regardless of what she said specifically, this person has a RIGHT to her voice her opinion. If you agree or disagree with what she has to say is a different matter.

If we in America, start saying you have a freedom of speech so long as you only say those things we wish/want you to say, then we no longer have a "freedom".

By simply summoning up her case to "cyber-bullying" and saying that it is the deciding factor, really shows a limited view of our rights as Americans. Of course in the last 10 years of our constitutional rights getting used as toilet paper, I can surely understand why some would think that.

716.2.2010 17:57

In my opinion freedom of speech is just that! Not what you say or whom you say it to. I believe the whole cyber bullying thing is a joke. The problem with the perception of bullying today is that everyone complains about every kind of bullying. No matter how small it is. People don't want to deal with the fact that life sucks! I've never even believed in the politically correct crap. If everyone would step back and look at it. The average person is bullied by large corporations every day. Weather it be cell companies, internet/cable companies, large chain stores, rising health care costs, and even the government. Jeez the kid was pissed at her teacher and ranted online. I hope she does win and sets a precedent. I'm all for following the rules but a lot of times those rules need and deserve to be broken. The whole concept of cyber bullying is crap. Just turn the damn computer off! And quit whining about the opinions of others.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 16 Feb 2010 @ 18:00

816.2.2010 18:43

Really....I would like to meet this 40+ y.o. teacher that is so easily bullied by a 16 yo online. The girl has the right to say what she wants. Regardless of the medium it maybe in. This is something that is on her own personal FB page and that is her opinion because she is in the class. And from reading the article there are former and current students on both sides of the fence. So its not like she was just making stuff up. This isn't pro sports you do have the right to critize your teacher on your own time.

916.2.2010 20:21

Quote:
the same thing happen at my school a few girl's made groups attacking teachers with comments. its still harassment and over the internet that shouldn't be aloud who cares if its "freedom of speech" because it isn't right

Quote:
I think the rules of the site do not infringe anyone's freedom of speech."Freedom of speech" doesn't mean it gives one the right to be an arsehole! There's a difference between stating an opinion in a civilized manner and being a total tool.
i wasn't talking about this site i was trying to make a point how you can't say what ever you want about or to someone.

but i hope this girl doesn't get anything facebook is free why should you get money for something you got your self into she wasn't forced to say those things
The rules of a privately owned site are very different than one of a government run institution such as a school.

1016.2.2010 21:35

freedom of speech is a given right if it DOES NOT infringe on the rights of others. At least in Canada... I know that's how the Charter of Rights and Freedoms puts it. Never read The Constitution.

So both have good arguments, one has the right to free speech, the other has the right not to be slandered. May the games begin.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 16 Feb 2010 @ 22:55

1116.2.2010 22:28

Well the way I see it is the internet should be based on anarchy. Keep it simple. No rule is the best rule. I think there just pissed off that they got trolled. Well not really trolled but you know what i mean.

1216.2.2010 23:42

Quote:
Because it upholds the principle that the right to freedom of speech and expression in America does not depend on the technology used to convey opinions and ideas."
but this principle is not how the law operates in the western world. And it came about because there is a difference when using a different medium.

When I lean over to my friend in class and say "Mr X eats babies" is very different from me hiring giant billboards in town with a photoshopped 'representation' of mr X eating babies.

Facebook is blurring the line between saying something to a friend and declaring something as truth publicly.

Look at it another way, do i have the freedom of speech to declare that someone raped me publicly? even if i know they didn't? no, there are laws to protect the innocent. I certainly have the right to say "i don't like this person" but not "i don't like this person because he stomps kittens" if it isn't true.

We don't have all the details here in this case, but i suspect the solution that we will come with this problem in general will not be one with a yes or a no in it. rather one that uses the phrase "it depends"

1317.2.2010 4:04

wow i thought freedom of speech is for what you say nice or not i never heard of someone getting suspended for printing/posting something nice about someone,(lol cyber praising),(Katherine Evans, a teenager in Florida sued her former principal in 2007 after she was suspended for criticizing a teacher with a Facebook page)as a teacher everything you do get judged by parents students and public its just now that students have a place to voice their views on how they are being treated by teachers

1417.2.2010 9:20

If it is just insults and standard internet ranting/bitching/complaining then it is not Cyber Bullying. If she made actual threats and directed actions verbally at said teacher than it is. It's that cut and dry.


1517.2.2010 12:11

I say screw suing for a "nominal fee" take that principal to the cleaners! I'm sick and tired of these Liberal crybabies whining because their feelings get hurt! As long as the girl didn't post threats, then I see no problem. Maybe the teacher is a POS and the girl was letting the world know. I'm generally against petty suits...but people need to relax, grow some thick skin, and quit whining. The truth is, the world isn't always a nice place, not everyone likes you...get over it!

The principal and teacher is just pissed because with the internet, all it takes is a couple clicks of a keypad and you're exposed to the world. HA! Isn't life a bitch?

1617.2.2010 14:04

...

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 06 Sep 2013 @ 16:38

1717.2.2010 21:33

Originally posted by brian480:
I say screw suing for a "nominal fee" take that principal to the cleaners! I'm sick and tired of these Liberal crybabies whining because their feelings get hurt! As long as the girl didn't post threats, then I see no problem. Maybe the teacher is a POS and the girl was letting the world know. I'm generally against petty suits...but people need to relax, grow some thick skin, and quit whining. The truth is, the world isn't always a nice place, not everyone likes you...get over it!

The principal and teacher is just pissed because with the internet, all it takes is a couple clicks of a keypad and you're exposed to the world. HA! Isn't life a bitch?

Serious props, man.

As long as it isn't slander, it should be allowed. Even slander is allowed if the party being lied about does nothing, but if they do it's a personal issue and not one for a government-run school's bureaucracy to deal with.

1819.2.2010 15:25

Dito, to bully someone is to threaten or make someone feel threatened. Saying your opinion about a teachers teaching style or even hair cut or manor of speaking is just that. An opinion. As we do not know what said student posted about the teacher we cannot make a judgment. All we can do is hope it falls before a reasonable judge and they only find in the schools favor it it is true cyber bully case, and not just a disrespect of authority. A very good, or a very bad precedent has the potential to be set here. Let us all hope for the side of libertarianism and not for the thought police.

Quote:
Originally posted by brian480:
I say screw suing for a "nominal fee" take that principal to the cleaners! I'm sick and tired of these Liberal crybabies whining because their feelings get hurt! As long as the girl didn't post threats, then I see no problem. Maybe the teacher is a POS and the girl was letting the world know. I'm generally against petty suits...but people need to relax, grow some thick skin, and quit whining. The truth is, the world isn't always a nice place, not everyone likes you...get over it!

The principal and teacher is just pissed because with the internet, all it takes is a couple clicks of a keypad and you're exposed to the world. HA! Isn't life a bitch?

Serious props, man.

As long as it isn't slander, it should be allowed. Even slander is allowed if the party being lied about does nothing, but if they do it's a personal issue and not one for a government-run school's bureaucracy to deal with.

1919.2.2010 19:11

Quote:
Originally posted by null2007:
i think cuber bullying is a bigger deal then "Ms. Evans and Internet free speech" so every time i get banned from a forum for harassment i could sue the Mod because it's my "freedom of internet free speech"? why do people hide behind my freedom of speech? some people are really restarted. oh wait sue me I'm questioning her right to her freedom of speech!

LOL!
I think the rules of the site do not infringe anyone's freedom of speech.
"Freedom of speech" doesn't mean it gives one the right to be an arsehole! There's a difference between stating an opinion in a civilized manner and being a total tool.

Yes (Y)

2019.2.2010 19:11

Quote:
Originally posted by null2007:
i think cuber bullying is a bigger deal then "Ms. Evans and Internet free speech" so every time i get banned from a forum for harassment i could sue the Mod because it's my "freedom of internet free speech"? why do people hide behind my freedom of speech? some people are really restarted. oh wait sue me I'm questioning her right to her freedom of speech!

LOL!
I think the rules of the site do not infringe anyone's freedom of speech.
"Freedom of speech" doesn't mean it gives one the right to be an arsehole! There's a difference between stating an opinion in a civilized manner and being a total tool.

Yes (Y)

2122.2.2010 11:03

#1 - Nobody is suing Facebook
#2 - IMO, the principal overstepped her authority by suspending the student for stating her opinion (I'm assuming there were no threatening statements since the police weren't involved and there's no mention made of it).
#3 - The student decided to fight her suspension in the only place she could...the courts. That costs money. If the principal was found at fault then she should be responsible for what it cost to go to court.

If the principal didn't want all this trouble she could have just ignored it instead of abusing her powers as a principal and suspending a student over nothing. Instead, the principal looks like an even bigger asshat to a larger audience than would have cared.

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