The case is concerned with West Virginia high school where the management suspended a high school student named Ms Kowalski for creating and inviting 100 people to join the page. Few students of the high school accessed the page from the school computers (Kretzmer, 2015). However, one student uploaded images of him by making discourteous gestures and degraded the victim of the page. The victim and her parents filed the complaint of harassment with the management of the school.
Issue and Resolution
Right to freedom and expression: Whether the students might be rebuked by their management of the school for the speech made by them, which is made out of the school under a personal setting. As stated by the court that the school management was reasonable in suspending the scholar for the reason that she made the use of website to plan a targeted assault on the classmate (Pujol, 2016). The attack was executed in a matter, which was sufficiently connected to the environment of the school.
Reasoning of court
As per the court it identified that the constitution of US looks after “free speech and expression” when the community discovers the notion itself unpleasant or displeasing. However, the speech that is made in the surroundings of the school is considered of different standard. In addition to this, it is necessary to regulate the speech, which interferes with the work and discipline, given that the speech collides and invades the rights of others (Volokh, 2015). Hence, the administrators of public school have a compelling interest to restrict speech, which is regarded as harassment for the student. The court further emphasised that the school have the duty of protecting their students from being harassed or bullied in the school since it create a harmful impact on the school aged children. The principles under the school are under the obligation of preventing and punishing harassment along with bullying to provide the students with secure school surroundings that is good for education.
As per the court, it stated that the speech made by the students was not entitled from protection since it indisputably created an interference with the rights and secure educational surroundings. The “SASH” page purposed as the medium for the scholar and their associates to express oral assaults on their classmate (Shiffrin, 2015). The judgement of the court stated by quoting to the case of Burnside v. Byars, 363 that such kind of speech was not necessary to be tolerated by the school system, which is trying to teach scholars regarding the appropriate principles and functioning of the civilization.
Despite the speech took place in the personal surroundings such as at home, the first amendment does not generally acts as the protection to an individual from punishment. In the present case, the medium that was put into use is rationally anticipated to reach further than the personal place and create an impact on the school surroundings, particularly when the writer of the website invited classmate to take part in the distressing conversation.
The court concluded the case that the speech of the student undoubtedly invaded the school under the meaningful manner however there was no breach of their right to freedom of speech.
Kretzmer, D. (2015). Freedom of Speech and Racism.
Pujol, J. (2016). The United States safe space campus controversy and the paradox of freedom of speech. Church, Communication and Culture, 1(1), 240-254.
Shiffrin, S. V. (2015). Chapter Four. Lying and Freedom of Speech.
Volokh, E. (2015). Freedom of Speech in Cyberspace from the Listener's Perspective: Private Speech Restrictions, Libel, State Action, Harassment, and Sex.