Another day, another student in trouble, but this story has a twist.
A student has been removed from the Rice Lake High School, Wisconsin after the discovery of a “hate list” naming 19 fellow students on his blog. However, the list was just that, a hate list, and made no threats against others, and the posting was made outside the school.
The local school is considering expelling the student and he is also subject to a police investigation.
WQOW quotes Dr. David Gordon, a professor who deals with free speech issues, who told the station that a student’s First Amendment rights end at the school gates, as long as the schools can prove the speech is a disruption. “There are very clear Supreme Court decisions that say the school can, in fact, restrict First Amendment rights if it’s necessary to maintain proper order in the school” he said. “If [the student] is making vulgar comments about classmates, I think we probably agree that he shouldn’t be doing it, but he probably does have a legal right to be irresponsible”.
Which raises the question, all the kid did was post on his blog saying that he hated a number of other students, and he did so from the privacy of his own home, in his own time. He didn’t threaten anyone, or say or suggest that he was seeking revenge….it’s not that much different than some one saying they hate George W Bush or John Kerry for example. For once we may have an interesting case in terms of freedom of speech for students on our hands….