Burlington teen sues school officials over free speech issue --...

A Burlington teenager sued two top school officials Monday, saying they violated her constitutional rights by removing her as class secretary because she used offensive slang to refer to administrators on an ... Full Story
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Falcon

West Hartford, CT

#1 Jul 16, 2007
"Pejorative term"? I heard it was douche bag. Why the censorship by the AP. D-bag is not a profane word so by not publishing it you have self censored and denied the public the whole story.

You guys must be a bunch of pejoratives!!!!!

How ironic.
LMH

Middletown, CT

#2 Jul 16, 2007
After d-bag there was BIT**ES - speaking of your principal and superintendent and posting ThAT on the internet (even your personal blog) is not PRIVATE. Anyone can send a link or print out what was posted - probably how they find out anyway.

This parent should have spent more time parenting and not making excuses for her foul-mouthed daughter. Face the consequences and move on.

If you use foul mouthed language to your supervisor, employer, etc.. do you think you keep your job? Nowadays, who knows, maybe you do. American parents need to start teaching respect and personal responsibility and stop making excuses for their children.

Stop coddling your child and let her learn from her mistakes (natural consequences do occur) OR you will be cleaning up her messes for a long time to come.
Lauren Doninger

Avon, CT

#3 Jul 16, 2007
Dear LMH - you are uninformed and absolutely incorrect. The only statement that Avery made was "So basically jamfest is cancelled due to the douchebags in central office." There was NO OTHER language. I do agree with you on one point, if Avery, or anyone else uses foul language in addressing a supervisor s/he is at risk for losing a job. However, the supervisor does not get to come into the home and punish for what is said or thought outside of the work (school) setting. School administrators are not charged with policing the Internet or setting language standards for the entire community.
MrLogical

Amston, CT

#4 Jul 16, 2007
This girl deserved precisely what she got. She (and her mother quite obviously...) needs to learn there are consequences for slanderous speech.

Defending this frivolous legal action is consuming limited resources of the town to defend it's rightful actions; money that could doubtless be put to better use than defending the administration from a potty-mouthed, spoiled adolescent.

The girl should accept the consequences of her actions, learn from it, and move on. The mother should do a better job parenting and apologize to the other parents and taxpayers for wasting their tax dollars.

Free speech = free consequences.

You speak, and we mete out the consequences.
ms teenie

Avon, CT

#5 Jul 16, 2007
Mr Logical you have no right to say that the mother should do a better job parenting. She is doing a great job considering she is helping her daughter fight for something that is totaly and completely right. Their was no other foul launage followed by her statement. The school has no authority of things that occur in your own home.
Cory

Meriden, CT

#6 Jul 16, 2007
Mr. Logical,
Are you in support of a police state? Lets say everyone who slandered George Bush was punished for it. You wouldn't feel like this is a very fair place to live would you? Absolutely not.
Also, do not get at the parents, because if you are a parent, i'm sure your children are not perfect either, so get off of the Doninger's case. Avery has every right to express herself, and its not "Free speech = free consequences." if it was, i would have you arrested for what you said right there. Also, death row would be loaded with small time crooks, just because of personal grudges and what have you.
Also, "potty mouthed, spoiled adolescent" bothers me. Lets get this straight: Avery might be wrong. The school might be wrong. But it is absolutely NOT spoiling your child to defend their rights as a citizen. Potty mouthed? Certainly. Isn't everyone? I'm sure you have sworn before. I would love to hear back more concerning free consequences and your vision of how that would actually work.
Cory

Meriden, CT

#7 Jul 16, 2007
Dear LMH,
Are you a parent? If so, i apologize because your children must be perfect little angels. If you aren't a parent, do NOT preach to Mrs. Doninger about how to raise her daughter. I don't understand how Avery using one term, douche bag, makes Lauren Doninger a bad parent. That means every parent in America is a bad parent. I'm sure 99% of parents of teenagers have experienced their son or daughter swearing. So if you are a parent, please respond back to this telling me exactly how stellar your kids are. And if you are not a parent, you are a douche bag.
Thank you.
J Donald

Seymour, CT

#8 Jul 16, 2007
Many errors and mistatements have occured both in the media and in these comments.
The issue is that this student was frustrated by adminstrative bungling. She then made a rude comment, from her home computer, on what she thought was a private message to friends. It did not involve the school in any way. She has since apologized both publically and privately.
Although this minor comment may have been inappropriate, it was not in any way slanderous. By what authority can the school intrude on communication made from home? If the school principal would focus on education and leave discipline to parents, the situation would have been resolved at home.
This is clearly a violation of the student's First Amendment Constitutional right of free speech! We live in a democracy not a police state. Region 10 has crossed a line and must be held accountible for the potentially dire consequences of its actions.
LMH

Middletown, CT

#9 Jul 16, 2007
Lauren Doninger wrote:
Dear LMH - you are uninformed and absolutely incorrect. The only statement that Avery made was "So basically jamfest is cancelled due to the douchebags in central office." There was NO OTHER language. I do agree with you on one point, if Avery, or anyone else uses foul language in addressing a supervisor s/he is at risk for losing a job. However, the supervisor does not get to come into the home and punish for what is said or thought outside of the work (school) setting. School administrators are not charged with policing the Internet or setting language standards for the entire community.
And unfortunately (setting language standards) neither were you or you wouldn't be in this position.
LMH

Middletown, CT

#10 Jul 16, 2007
J Donald wrote:
Many errors and mistatements have occured both in the media and in these comments.
The issue is that this student was frustrated by adminstrative bungling. She then made a rude comment, from her home computer, on what she thought was a private message to friends. It did not involve the school in any way. She has since apologized both publically and privately.
Although this minor comment may have been inappropriate, it was not in any way slanderous. By what authority can the school intrude on communication made from home? If the school principal would focus on education and leave discipline to parents, the situation would have been resolved at home.
This is clearly a violation of the student's First Amendment Constitutional right of free speech! We live in a democracy not a police state. Region 10 has crossed a line and must be held accountible for the potentially dire consequences of its actions.
What discipline?
LMH

Middletown, CT

#11 Jul 16, 2007
MrLogical wrote:
This girl deserved precisely what she got. She (and her mother quite obviously...) needs to learn there are consequences for slanderous speech.
Defending this frivolous legal action is consuming limited resources of the town to defend it's rightful actions; money that could doubtless be put to better use than defending the administration from a potty-mouthed, spoiled adolescent.
The girl should accept the consequences of her actions, learn from it, and move on. The mother should do a better job parenting and apologize to the other parents and taxpayers for wasting their tax dollars.
Free speech = free consequences.
You speak, and we mete out the consequences.
BRAVO!
LMH

Middletown, CT

#12 Jul 16, 2007
Cory wrote:
Dear LMH,
Are you a parent? If so, i apologize because your children must be perfect little angels. If you aren't a parent, do NOT preach to Mrs. Doninger about how to raise her daughter. I don't understand how Avery using one term, douche bag, makes Lauren Doninger a bad parent. That means every parent in America is a bad parent. I'm sure 99% of parents of teenagers have experienced their son or daughter swearing. So if you are a parent, please respond back to this telling me exactly how stellar your kids are. And if you are not a parent, you are a douche bag.
Thank you.
Yes, I am a parent and you, Cory, must be related to this family. Watch out.... the vulgarity is spreading. My kids are great by the way! You have low standards I see.
David

Fairfield, CT

#13 Jul 16, 2007
Unfortunately I do not believe that many people have heard a lucid recapitulation of the events which occurred. I commend J Donald on their perspicacity for they do seem to know what actually happened.

I know Avery personally and by no means was she posting these pejorative words for the intent of slandering school officials. She is not one to make odious remarks frequently. I can agree with the point that she definitely typed something that was wrong and unjust. Any kind of epithet that is used in communicative matters is unworthy of respect and simply wrong. But let's get down to the point; if the intent of posting these ill-colored words was for defamatory and slanderous purposes then don't you think that Avery would have included someone's name in her statement, or directed the vulgar criticism at someone in particular? Avery was livid because her and her peers worked incessantly at times just to make "Jamfest" happen. Let's be honest and say that if you worked rigorously for something and then a superior told you that your work was in vain, you would probably be irate as well. Live and learn.

Concerning Mrs. Doninger's parenting tactics; I know Mrs. Doninger personally and at no point in her life while parenting Avery would she ever condone her daughter to deviate away from her mannerly and noble self. It's a shame to see fellow parents criticize her because we all know how strenuous being a parent can be, either from the perspective of a child or from the perspective of a parent. If your child is simply perfect then I applaud you, but no filial relationship is ideal, so let's stop accusing Mrs. Doninger of parenting negligence.

I for one say we should stop marring the image of the Doninger's by thinking of them as "wrong-doers" and that we should all work to prevent something like this from ever occurring again.

Live, learn, and love.

Dave
RHL

Middletown, CT

#14 Jul 16, 2007
"Potty-mouthed"? "Foul-mouthed"? What are you guys, ten years old? Every kid I've ever known over the age of 12 or so is capable of using every bad word under the sun. Students have been calling their administrators "douchebags", and/or worse, since time immemorial, and if you think otherwise you're delusional.

I agree that it wasn't smart to call the administrators "douchebags" on her Livejournal, and surprisingly I don't have a problem with the administration's decision to remove her from her position: that seems perfectly reasonable to me, since it's essentially an honorary position, and it's not as if they suspended or expelled her (which WOULD be a violation of her rights, I think).

LMH, your son and/or daughter will swear soon enough, if they don't already...and if your posts here are any indicator of the kind of person you are, I figure they'll call you some nasty names indeed, to their friends behind your back. One of the abiding laws of adolescence is the "preacher's daughter" syndrome: the more sanctimonious and smug the parent is, the quicker their kids will reach for drugs, sex, and anything that helps them to tell their folks to go to hell.
LMH

Middletown, CT

#15 Jul 17, 2007
RHL wrote:
"Potty-mouthed"? "Foul-mouthed"? What are you guys, ten years old? Every kid I've ever known over the age of 12 or so is capable of using every bad word under the sun. Students have been calling their administrators "douchebags", and/or worse, since time immemorial, and if you think otherwise you're delusional.
I agree that it wasn't smart to call the administrators "douchebags" on her Livejournal, and surprisingly I don't have a problem with the administration's decision to remove her from her position: that seems perfectly reasonable to me, since it's essentially an honorary position, and it's not as if they suspended or expelled her (which WOULD be a violation of her rights, I think).
LMH, your son and/or daughter will swear soon enough, if they don't already...and if your posts here are any indicator of the kind of person you are, I figure they'll call you some nasty names indeed, to their friends behind your back. One of the abiding laws of adolescence is the "preacher's daughter" syndrome: the more sanctimonious and smug the parent is, the quicker their kids will reach for drugs, sex, and anything that helps them to tell their folks to go to hell.
We are as society of blamers, excuse makers and syndrome sufferers and we just keep lowering our standards to rationalize our behavior. There are multiple issues here and I suppose you are assuming as well. Talk about smug -the pot is calling the kettle black. Yes, live and learn and accept the consequences for your behavior, then move on. I haven't heard children 12 or above use the DB word and I work with over 100 everyday. I am sorry for your situation.
A Mom

South Windsor, CT

#16 Jul 17, 2007
What I don't agree with is this girl was disciplined for writting this on a blog outside of school. She was taken out of her position of student coucil. However, a girl that also is in the council wrote on her blog that the Superintendant was a whore. This girl still has her position. What they are addressing maybe is not only that it is freedom of speach but the school is after this girl because she started a petition to have the battle of the bands.
I say good for her. I stand by her. She did make a mistake by using that language however, what teen doesn't.
David

Fairfield, CT

#17 Jul 17, 2007
Yeah, it's evident that something is wrong when a student actually directed a slander at the superintendent and still holds a position of leadership.
Well Informed

Avon, CT

#18 Jul 17, 2007
as someone who knows a great deal about the situation, I believe Avery's "punishment" was a complete violation of her democratic rights. Her frustration over the Jamfest issue was shared by hundreds of students; perhaps her word selection was a bit harsh, but not nearly as harsh and uncalled for as the repercussions that followed. Avery's years of commitment and service to the Student Council and the Class of 2008 have proved she is a born leader and one of Lewis Mills' finest. Removing her from her position as a Class Leader wont stop her from making Mills a better place, and these outrageous anti-democratic actions have given the world a chance to see the true leader Avery is, while simultaneously exposing two school officials as the corrupt and ignorant administrators they are.
Cory

Meriden, CT

#19 Jul 17, 2007
Its not that i have low standards, its just that i based my standards on your previous post to prove a point.
The argument about your children means nothing at this point, theres no way either of us can prove anything about them.
"We are as society of blamers, excuse makers and syndrome sufferers and we just keep lowering our standards to rationalize our behavior. There are multiple issues here and I suppose you are assuming as well. Talk about smug -the pot is calling the kettle black. Yes, live and learn and accept the consequences for your behavior, then move on. I haven't heard children 12 or above use the DB word and I work with over 100 everyday. I am sorry for your situation."
I will note the small hypocrisy in this little statement, Mr. LMH. You say we are blamers, excuse makers, whatever. You say we keep lowering our standards. If our standards are so low, why do you keep quoting everyone in order to make your point? Our arguments are obviously inferior to yours and should not be used. You work with over 100 children a day? You know why you haven't heard them say douche bag? Because they are calling one behind your back. They won't say it to your face. Kids are smart; they understand the consequences of calling adults douche bags to their faces. And LMH, maybe you should spend some more time parenting and dishing out some discipline rather than spending all your time on an online forum...oh no your kids don't need a parent because your kids are "great."
Cory

Meriden, CT

#20 Jul 17, 2007
oh and another thing.. you told Mrs. Doninger to quit making excuses for her daughter, but as soon as someone else did it,(me), you immediately defended your children, saying they were great. Why is Mrs. Doninger so wrong? But thats the last i say about children, because once again, we can't prove anything either way.

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