Ind. students, school settle ‘penis pops’ online speech case without money damages

A pair of Indiana students will not receive money damages from the school district that punished them for Facebook photos, despite a judge ruling in their favor.The students have settled their free speech lawsuit against the Smith-Green Community School Corporation. Under the settlement, the students will not receive damages or attorney’s fees, but the school corporation is prohibited from enforcing provisions in its student handbook that allowed the students to be punished after posting pictures of themselves with penis-shaped lollipops.The school corporation can no longer enforce provisions that allow students to be removed from extracurricular activities because the students act “in a manner in school or out of school that brings discredit or dishonor upon [the students] or [the] school,” Judge Philip Simon wrote in a final judgment issued Tuesday.The order makes permanent an injunction from August, and comes nearly three years after two 10th-grade girls were suspended from the Churubusco High School volleyball team and other extracurricular activities after posing with the “phallic-shaped rainbow colored lollipops.”In Simon's earlier ruling, he found the students had engaged in protected speech when they posted the photos at home on their own time.

Former adviser’s lawsuit will cost Indiana district $40,000, unspecified legal costs

An Indiana school corporation paid former journalism adviser Kelly Short $40,000 to settle her First Amendment lawsuit.According to a settlement agreement obtained through a public records request, Greater Clark County Schools agreed to pay Short the money through its insurance carrier, and allowed her to formally resign rather than have her contract cancelled.

Indiana journalism teacher settles First Amendment lawsuit involving newspaper, yearbook

An Indiana high school newspaper and yearbook adviser has settled her lawsuit against Greater Clark County Schools, though the terms are not yet known.Kelly Short sued the public school corporation in January, claiming school officials retaliated against her for supporting the First Amendment rights of students.

Supreme Court shows interest in case of student disciplined for off-campus MySpace group

The Supreme Court appears to be showing initial interest in Kowalski v. Berkeley County Schools, one of a slew of off-campus speech cases awaiting its consideration.The court requested a response Monday from the West Virginia school district to the certiorari petition filed on behalf of Kara Kowalski, the court docket shows.Kowalski, a former Musselman High School student, was suspended in 2005 for creating a MySpace group that school officials claimed was intended to ridicule another student.The title of the webpage was “S.A.S.H.,” which Kowalski said was an acronym for “Students Against Sluts Herpes.” But posts by other students on the page quickly devolved into disparaging comments about a specific classmate.The 4th U.S.

Federal court says Nev. student’s instant messages no laughing matter

At a comedy club, a bad joke can get you booed. At school, a bad joke can get you expelled.Landon Wynar was a student at Nevada’s Douglas County High School in 2008 when he and a friend had several Internet conversations in which he discussed shooting schoolmates and compared himself to Seung-Hui Cho, the gunman behind the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.

Parents challenge school’s ‘I Heart Boobies’ ban in federal court

The parents of two middle school students sued a Pennsylvania school district Monday over its ban of the controversial "I Heart Boobies" cancer awareness bracelets.The suit alleges that the Easton Area School District violated the free expression rights of the two girls, identified in court documents as "B.H." and "K.M.," when it banned students from wearing the bracelets last month.