While most disputes involving student online content result in meetings, suspensions and in-school discipline, a handful of cases have moved to the courts, where students have challenged school punishment and cited their First Amendment right to express themselves online.
All 50 states have civil libel laws that allow victims of allegedly defamatory statements to seek compensation from speakers. Criminal libel laws are different in that they allow the state to fine or imprison speakers of defamatory statements. Seventeen states, including Colorado, currently have criminal defamation laws, according to a December 2005 update on criminal defamation statutes by the Media Law Resource Center.
Lawmakers in Massachusetts and Georgia have pushed recently for greater access to campus crime information. A bill before the Massachusetts Legislature would make police departments at private schools in the state that have law enforcement authority subject to open records laws. A Senate vote on the Massachusetts bill has been postponed repeatedly.
In a victory for free-expression advocates, the state Supreme Court ruled lastweek that sexually themed speech in a communications workplace was not groundsfor sexual harassment.
A student newspaper is being sued for $800,000 on allegations that the paperpublished defamatory statements last year about a rape victim.
Afederal appeals court ruled yesterday that a school district was justified inbarring a student from wearing a T-shirt with anti-gaystatements.
Student journalists at Oklahoma State University were eager to write a storyabout rumors that President Bush would speak at their university's springcommencement ceremonies.
One anonymous caller to the newsroom threatened to trash copies of the studentnewspaper; another mysterious caller declared the papers were being temporarily“held hostage.”
Ahigh school student is alleging school officials violated her First Amendmentrights when they ordered her to remove a small American flag from her backpocket.
Atfirst, student editor Jen Thierer thought it was just a mistake; maybe thecirculation manager was confused, or forgot to pick up the newspapers from theprinter.