Student suspended for 18 weeks will not fight punishment

GEORGIA — A middle school student has decided not to sue\nthe school district that suspended him for 18 weeks in February\nfor creating a personal Web site critical of his school.

Five Forks Middle School student Matt Foreman created the Web\nsite, called “Natasha’s Heckling Page,” on his home\ncomputer. The site documented the ways he and his friends would\nattempt to disrupt class and made fun of the school’s teachers\nand principal.

School administrators said they suspended Foreman because his\nWeb site violated three rules in the school’s disciplinary handbook:\ndisrupting the school’s mission, making written contact of a threatening\nor provoking nature to a school employee and repeated violation\nof school rules.

Foreman said the school violated his First Amendment free-speech\nrights and appealed his suspension to the school board. When the\nschool board refused to overturn the punishment, Foreman planned\nto sue the Gwinnett County School District.

But Foreman, who moved in with family members in North Carolina\nfollowing his suspension in order to attend school there, has\ndecided not to file a lawsuit against the school district.

His attorney, Michael Paglise, said Foreman did not sue the\nschool district because he decided to stay in North Carolina rather\nthan return to Georgia. Paglise added that Foreman prefers the\nschool he attends in North Carolina. Officials there did not have\na problem with his Web site.

Read “On-line ‘heckling’ gets student suspended” from the Spring 1999 Report.