\nNEW YORK — In an unusual case of a private school being\nsued for violating a student’s First Amendment rights, a suburban\nNew York student has filed a lawsuit against his Catholic high\nschool for expelling him due to his personal Web site.
Peter Briaco, 15, is suing Albertus Magnus High School for\nviolating his free-speech rights. Administrators expelled Briaco\nin April-just days after the shooting at Columbine High School\nin Littleton, Colo. — after giving him detention twice in connection\nwith the site. Briaco created the Web site at his home and posted\nit on his parents’ Internet account.
Briaco’s attorney, George Shebitz, said the Web site, which\nBriaco took down shortly after his expulsion, discussed pranks\nstudents could play at their local malls. Some of the antics described\non the site, titled “Fun at the Mall,” included shouting\nthe word “penis” or trying on 20 pairs of shoes without\nbuying any.
Shebitz said there was no indication in any of the school’s\nrules and regulations for behavior that students’ conduct off\nschool property would be grounds for disciplinary action by the\nschool. He said private schools should not be able to discipline\nstudents for off-campus speech.
“This case is about whether or not the conduct of your\nspeech in your own home to your own friends is enough to allow\nyou to be suspended, particularly when that speech did not reflect\non the health, safety or well being of the school community,”\nShebitz said.\n