Backing Her Stance -- Courant.com

Full story: Hartford Courant

Avery Doninger didn't want to be a First Amendment champion. All she wanted was to be the secretary for the senior class at Lewis S. Mills High School.

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Since: Jul 07

Storrs

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#227
Oct 16, 2007
 
Pro Freedom wrote:
<quoted text>
If the school were a private school, or if this incident happened at a private company, I would agree with you. The clinker here is that this is a public (i.e., government) school, and that's when the First Amendment kicks in.
If a private employer wants to limit your speech, the First Amendment has NOTHING to do with it, and nothing to say about it. But the government -- well, that's a different story. The First Amendment prohibits the government from limiting free speech (within the "shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater" limits established by the courts).
Insofar as this public school is an arm of the government, as it doubtless is, it must grant this student her First Amendment rights even if they loathe what she said or wrote.
hmm, so there are NO limits on what she can say, simply because she is enrolled in a public school? So she can feel free to publish slanderous accusations about the principal's sex life, and the school will be powerless to react? Interesting.

(Don't tell me that my hypothetical rises to the level of yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre, because it certainly doesn't, that is why I made up this kind of example).

Since: Jul 07

Storrs

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#228
Oct 16, 2007
 
Donna wrote:
I think some of you have been ill informed, but that is understandable. The real story is not as exciting at this girl getting removed from the running for a class office for using a foul word.
She was removed because she had been spoken to about using the school computers to send a mass emailing to the taxpayers(during school hours) encouraging them to harass the administrators because they would not allow her to have the concert in the new auditorium on the day she wanted it. The fact is, the technician hired by the Board of Ed was unavailable for that day, which was why she could not have it on the day she chose.
After being spoken to--and no punishment came from this infraction other than being told this was not a diplomatic way to handle the situation--she went right home and re-posted the email, with her vulgar words, and told people to keep calling to harass the administration. Even though she knew the event was not canceled, she posted that it was in order to rile people up. For several days after the super was still getting a constant stream of calls during work harassing her. The super had no control over the event, the Board of Ed hired the techie and he was the only person able to run the equipment in the new auditorium per the Board. That is the story. She was rude, disrespectful, and inciting people to harass the principal and superintendent. That was why she was removed, because she refused to cooperate and work with them, even though they tried to compromise by offering a different date or location. She was running for an office of an extra-curricular activity in which she (and other officers) need to be able to work with the administration, which she obviously could not ("Don't do what I want? I'll get the taxpayers on your back." Not exactly a model person to work with). Not as exciting as having her freedom of speech trampled, but that is the real story. I agree, lots of lying going on in order to get attention.
What kind of lesson is being learned here? When you don't get your way, get rude and harass people, and when they get upset, you sue them. Sounds like a bully; a spoiled one at that.
very informative.

Since: Jul 07

Storrs

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#229
Oct 16, 2007
 
JohnDavis wrote:
<quoted text>
Your point was well taken until YOU started with the insults to this forum "The issue at hand is not about free speech, it's about abuse of our court system. Please dont respond to this with uninformed generalizations about free speech, it really does not reflect well on your intellect.
Read the court documents. Without knowledge, your opinion is worthless."
Let's hope are schools are putting out better leaders than you.
Actually, the kid's post was 10 times more well thought-out and informative than yours.
Bong Hits 4 Jebus

Rocky Hill, CT

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#230
Oct 16, 2007
 
ded172 wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes, she is "allowed" to say them, in the sense that no one will come and arrest her. However, her school (or, employer) should be "allowed" to punish such derogatory behavior. Are you going to sit there and try to tell me that you can go home tonight and get on your blog and tell the whole world that your boss (named) is a douchebag, and there will be no consequences? Think about that for a minute.
Sadly you are the first comment on this board to correctly recognize the protection of the First Amendment. In America we can complain about any level of government in a peaceable manner and we will not be thrown in prison, unlike in Myanmar (Burma). Persons not well versed in First Amendment case law seem to think that there should be no ramifications for what you say based on the content of your speech. I challenge every person on this board supporting Ms. Donninger to read the district court's opinion (link provided by others) and see really whether her first amendment rights were breached. She was not expelled from school, nor suspended, nor denied any mandatory function of state-operated education. She was denied the chance to run for voluntary student government, a function that is probably not even required to be provided by the school. Let's not let the First Amendment become an excuse to be A**H****s to each other. BTW to all other readers, my screen name is a hint as to what you can read in the court's opinion. Good stuff!
Cheech

East Hartford, CT

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#231
Oct 16, 2007
 
Amendment I - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

That means ALL speech.
That's all that really needs to be said about all this......
Get Real

Granby, CT

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#232
Oct 16, 2007
 
Cheech wrote:
Amendment I - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
That means ALL speech.
That's all that really needs to be said about all this......
and to do so is intimidation, at the very least.

“That's what I'm Saying!”

Since: Oct 07

Cromwell, CT

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#233
Oct 16, 2007
 
ded172 wrote:
<quoted text>
Actually, the kid's post was 10 times more well thought-out and informative than yours.
lol, ok mom
The Truth Is Out There

Palmer, MA

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#234
Oct 16, 2007
 
"I am a class officer at Lewis S Mills high school, and I know that Avery is a disagreeable person. When she sent the mass email from the school computers, she breached the computer usage rules in a manner that could have resulted in her suspension from school. What did she get? a warning."

Correction of Incorrect Information listed above:

1). Avery DID NOT send the mass
e-mail to the entire community; it was sent by another student who accessed HIS personal e-mail account from school.

2). The Class Advisor knew of the e-mail, so why didn't SHE address it PRIOR to it's release or-at least- warn the administrators once she received her carbon copy of it?

3). They ALL should have been spoken to the day the blank hit the fan- not just Avery. She went home upset and wrote on her blog. And yes, she used a term common to kids these days; to them it means,'idiot." (I wonder what would have happened if she just wrote idiot instead???)

4).The meeting with all the kids and administrators took place the day after. All ws resolved, NOBODY was punished for anything.( the kids sent a retraction to the community).

5). A month later Avery was told she couldn't run because the Superintendent's ADULT SON (witch hunt?) gave his mother Avery's blog entry; then, she gave it to the principal (no pressure on her, right). Couldn't the super deal with it herself?????

6). It was written on Avery's HOME COMPUTER ON HER OWN TIME TO FRIENDS (hence, the Free Speech aspect).

5). She was wearing a "R.I.P. Democracy" shirt on election day; OTHER KIDS had to take their, "Team Avery" shirt off before being ALLOWED into the auditorium to vote.
(Again, free speech violation!).

6). Read the ENTIRE court transcripts of testimony for ALL FACTS- not just the 34-page opinion by the judge.

What is this costing the school in legal fees?? Why are they so OK with spending money on this nonsense?
Why do they HAVE so much taxpayer cash to play with??

Ms. Schwartz: Forgiveness is a virtue (and it's FREE).
Give Me A Break

Granby, CT

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#235
Oct 16, 2007
 
...and it just keeps gettin' better.

Administrations are known for over-reaction.
mike

Woonsocket, RI

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#236
Oct 16, 2007
 
One question.Was she a douchbag?It is obvious I can write anything on my personal computer with no repercutions from any govt.entity,with the exception of a threat.Sounds like a case of(that kids not gonna show me up.)Well she did.
get a grip

United States

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#237
Oct 16, 2007
 
The Truth Is Out There wrote:
It was written on Avery's HOME COMPUTER ON HER OWN TIME TO FRIENDS (hence, the Free Speech aspect).
She was punished not for calling Schwartz a name, but for re-posting the email and telling others to continue to harass her at work.
She was wearing a "R.I.P. Democracy" shirt on election day; OTHER KIDS had to take their, "Team Avery" shirt off before being ALLOWED into the auditorium to vote.
(Again, free speech violation!).
But the others did not sue for their right to wear a team Avery shirt. Only she did, even though she wasn't even wearing one, and the one she had on she got to keep on. So you are saying she can sue for her right to wear a shirt she didn't even have?
What is this costing the school in legal fees?? Why are they so OK with spending money on this nonsense?
Why do they HAVE so much taxpayer cash to play with??
What is this costing the Doningers in legal fees? Why are they okay with spending money they don't have AND asking for their legal fees to be paid by the school if they win? The Adminstrators have the right to defend themselves, THEY are not suing. You are suggesting they give up defending themselves so a spoiled little brat can get whatever she wants? Is that how things are supposed to work in our country? You can harass people and when they get mad you sue them. Yeah, keeps the lawyers in business.
get a grip

United States

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#238
Oct 16, 2007
 
Give Me A Break wrote:
...and it just keeps gettin' better.
Administrations are known for over-reaction.
Well, I don't know if she over reacted, but if I was constantly being interrupted during work by people calling for something I had no control over, I'd want to get to the bottom of it. Once done, and the kids spoken to about the inappropriateness of their actions, I still got a constant stream of calls because one kid posted online my work number and told people to CONTINUE to harass me because she thinks I'm a jerk, well, then, I may over react, too. In this case, tho, I think they acted appropriately.
douchebags 4 jesus

United States

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#239
Oct 16, 2007
 
maybe somebody listens to too much weird al:

"I sued Taco Bell
'Cause I ate half-a-million Chalupas and I got fat
I sued Panasonic
They never said I shouldn't use their microwave to dry off my cat, huh

I sued Earthlink
'Cause I called 'em up and they had the nerve to put me on hold
I sued Starbucks
'Cause I spilled a frappucino in my lap and brr, it was cold

I sued Coca-Cola, yo
'Cause I put my finger down in a bottle and it got stuck
I sued Delta Airlines
'Cause they sold me a ticket to New Jersey - I went there, and it sucked

Yeah
If you stand me up on a date
If you deliver my pizza thirty seconds late

I'm gonna sue, sue, yes, I'm gonna sue
(etc)

I sued Dell Computers
'Cause I took a bath with my laptop, now it doesn't work
I sued Fruit Of The Loom
'Cause when I wear my tighty-whities on my head I look like a jerk"

I'm gonna sue ya, that's what I'll do!
I sued my poet cuz he writes like a scalawag!
I sued my principal, cuz she won't let me call her douche bag.
yeah!

gotta lay off the weird al.....
Region10Taxpayer

East Hartford, CT

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#240
Oct 16, 2007
 
Know somethin'? Back when I was 17, like Avery, and my parents actually HAD AND still do have MONEY ( Her parentS WHATEVER ARE CALLLING TEHWMSELVES AS A fAMILY WIMPY THAT wimpy STEP AREN'T DAD AND in reality ARE BEGGING
FOR BUCKS)
( ACTUALLY HAD(STILL DO) money AND PRIVILES GETS TAKEN AWAY, BOTTOM LINE IS THAT i DO NOT NEED TO READ TOMMOROW LINE
Tom

Windsor, CT

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#241
Oct 17, 2007
 
Region10Taxpayer wrote:
Know somethin'? Back when I was 17, like Avery, and my parents actually HAD AND still do have MONEY ( Her parentS WHATEVER ARE CALLLING TEHWMSELVES AS A fAMILY WIMPY THAT wimpy STEP AREN'T DAD AND in reality ARE BEGGING
FOR BUCKS)
( ACTUALLY HAD(STILL DO) money AND PRIVILES GETS TAKEN AWAY, BOTTOM LINE IS THAT i DO NOT NEED TO READ TOMMOROW LINE
Honeshly offisher ... I not as drink as you thunk I am ...
On The Rocks

AOL

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#242
Oct 17, 2007
 
Tom wrote:
<quoted text>
Honeshly offisher ... I not as drink as you thunk I am ...
HILARIOUS!
Brooklyn Bridge

AOL

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#243
Oct 17, 2007
 
For anyone interested in how this case will likely turn out in the 2nd circuit court of appeals; read the recently decided case of Layshock v. Hermitage School District.

In a nutshell: The kid made a parody of his principal on Myspace; got in big trouble at school; parents sued but lost in local court (school spent big bucks defending themselves); the parents appealed to the 2nd Circuit Court. The Judge Ruled in the KID'S favor not the school's.

Amazingly, the judge made his ruling AFTER the Bong Hits for Jesus case was decided. So, don't be so sure of this one going on the side of the school because this case is going to the same court.
Mrs Butterworth

Winsted, CT

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#244
Oct 17, 2007
 
Punk-ass kid needed to be grounded for a month. But mom saw dollar signs in a lawsuit, so here we are...

Parasites breed parasites ....

(Isn't it fun to pick out the mouth-breathing high schooler posts among the adult posts in this thread? The best part is that they think that they are being soooo clever. Not.
Ken

United States

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#245
Oct 17, 2007
 
Brooklyn Bridge wrote:
For anyone interested in how this case will likely turn out in the 2nd circuit court of appeals; read the recently decided case of Layshock v. Hermitage School District.
In a nutshell: The kid made a parody of his principal on Myspace; got in big trouble at school; parents sued but lost in local court (school spent big bucks defending themselves); the parents appealed to the 2nd Circuit Court. The Judge Ruled in the KID'S favor not the school's.
Amazingly, the judge made his ruling AFTER the Bong Hits for Jesus case was decided. So, don't be so sure of this one going on the side of the school because this case is going to the same court.
I don't think these are even similar.
Say I ask you to give me $20,000. You say No. I get pissed off because you don't give me what I want when I want it. I post an article in the Hartford Courant, maybe send out emails to people, or whatever it takes to get the word out, telling people to call you during work to tell you to give me $20,000 and I'll be sure to call you a colostomy bag for not giving me what I want. When you get fed up with being harassed and charge me with harassment, then I will sue you for infringing on my freedom of speech.
That is the precident which will be set, you see. It opens the floodgates to anyone harassing anyone else without repercussions. That is how it will be used and abused.
As for the First Amendment, it says "Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion..,. or abridging the freedom of speech..." This means congress can pass no law abridging the freedom of speech, it does not say that people can say what they want with no repercussions.
CT Taxpayer

United States

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#246
Oct 17, 2007
 
Brooklyn Bridge wrote:
For anyone interested in how this case will likely turn out in the 2nd circuit court of appeals; read the recently decided case of Layshock v. Hermitage School District.
In a nutshell: The kid made a parody of his principal on Myspace; got in big trouble at school; parents sued but lost in local court (school spent big bucks defending themselves); the parents appealed to the 2nd Circuit Court. The Judge Ruled in the KID'S favor not the school's.
Amazingly, the judge made his ruling AFTER the Bong Hits for Jesus case was decided. So, don't be so sure of this one going on the side of the school because this case is going to the same court.
You know, if she had merely been reprimanded for calling them douchebags, I could see this being the case. But two things stand out: One, that she was harassing and inciting others to harass the superintendent because she did not get her way (by reposting the email to her blog and encouraging people to continue calling the lady at work); and Two, she did not sue for the right to call them douchebags, but sued because she was punished for telling people to harass them, sued because she did not get to wear a tee shirt she didn't have on in the first place, and by barring her from making a speech at the assmebly (in which only those running were allowed to make a speech). None of the other students sued, neither the kids who were asked to remove their tee shirts, nor all the other kids at the assembly who were not making speeches. No where does it say she sued for the right to call names, that is not what the case is about.

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