MONTANA — It’s tough to hear a high school student expresshopelessness against "the powers that be." But hopelessis how senior Kenny Volk feels after trying to fight the GreatFalls school board for his First Amendment rights.
Volk was expelled from Great Falls High School when the schoolpunished him for posting photographs of female classmates on hispersonal Web site under the heading "10 Hottest FreshmanGirls." A district court had originally granted an injunctionin Volk’s favor, but an oversight ended the injunction beforeVolk’s appeal process had finished.
The injunction that attorney Ron Bissell had filed for Volkonly extended until the board’s March 11 meeting, and ran outas soon as the meeting convened. The board voted unanimously toexpel at the meeting. Volk was transferred to nearby C.M. RussellHigh School, where he recently finished his senior year.
"At this point I really don’t know, I think I’m leaningtoward not pursuing it any further. I’m tired of the publicityand I’m tired of just having my picture in the paper every day," Volk said. "It appears to be the end of theroad. It’s unfortunate that it ended the way it did, but that’swhat happens sometimes when people try to take on the powers thatbe."
Bissell said the school board did not respond to a settlementoffer, and an injunction to allow Volk to finish his senior year,and graduate, at Great Falls High School was denied. Bissell suspectedpolitics played into the way the injunction request was handled.
Volk maintains that all the girls that were included on thelist knew what they were having their picture taken for. The schooldistrict disagreed. School board member Vicki Dunham listed severalconflicting ideas at the school board meeting on March 11, whereit was decided Volk would be transferred to C.M. Russell HighSchool. Dunham said the girls were too young to legally give consent,none of their parents or school administrators gave consent and Volk was insubordinate because principal Gary Davis asked him not to post the photos.
"We live in a real conservative area, I’m so tired ofgetting bullied," Bissell said. "This kid has been upright,everything he has said to this point has been true. He hasn’tmisled [anyone]. It’s the school district that comes up with thisbizarre stuff. It’s a frightening time."
Volk said he does not currently plan to file a lawsuit againstthe district. He said he is ready to move on.
"I’m going to Montana State University next year, I’mgoing to study political science. I’m going to law school afterthat," he said. "As far as this issue, however, I thinkit’s pretty much a dead horse. It’ll just be something to lookback and reflect upon."
Read our previous coverage.
- Legal technicality permitted Mont. school board to punish student for Web site News Flash, 3/22/2002
- Disregarding judge’s order, Mont. school board punishes creator of ‘hot girls’ Web page News Flash, 3/14/2002