Another federal judge has blown the whistle on school officials for overreacting to student speech in the wake of violence at other schools.
U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Rothstein ruled Feb. 24 that Blaine School District “was not acting reasonably” when it expelled James LaVine for poetry he had written about mass murder.
In ordering the school to clear his record, Rothstein said that LaVine’s poem “was not a sincere expression of intent to harm or assault” and did not pose a threat to the safety of students at Blaine High School, which is located about 100 miles north of Seattle on the Canadian border.
LaVine, now a senior, had written the poem outside of school and brought it to class for his English teacher to critique in October 1998.
The poem “Last Words” is a first person account of someone entering school and opening fire.
“I drew my gun and