Court labels ‘hacking’ article disruptive

\nWISCONSIN – A student journalist’s last effort to erase\nan expulsion from his disciplinary record failed last December\nwhen a judge dismissed his civil case.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit sided with Greenfield\nSchool District after administrators expelled Justin Boucher in\nJuly 1997 for writing an article in his underground newspaper\nabout computer hacking.

Peter Koneazny, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union\nof Wisconsin, claimed the article, which was entitled “So\nYou Want to be a Hacker,” was to show the lack of security\nin the school’s computer system and contained nothing that was\nnot already available to the public.

The school argued that the article was potentially disruptive,\neven though it could prove no evidence that actual hacking had\noccurred. The Court of Appeals agreed.

“In light of the testimony presented at the expulsion hearing,\nthe board could justifiably determine that the article outlined\nprocedures for accessing restricted information, which could lead\nto tampering with that information, and potential damage to the\nschool’s computer network,” said the Court of Appeals in\nBoucher v. Greenfield, 134 F.3d 821 (7th Cir. 1998).

The decision came after Boucher filed a lawsuit in 1997, citing\nFirst Amendment infringement, to revoke the school’s suspension.\nThe court agreed and granted an injunction to the suspension\nin September 1997. The school board appealed, and in January,\nthe Seventh Circuit reversed the injunction.

According to Koneazny, the civil case was Boucher’s only remaining\nclaim to expunge his disciplinary record. The case is now over.