Backing Her Stance -- Courant.com

Backing Her Stance -- Courant.com

There are 319 comments on the Hartford Courant story from Oct 15, 2007, titled Backing Her Stance -- Courant.com. In it, Hartford Courant reports that:

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.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Hartford Courant.

Since: Jul 07

Storrs

#126 Oct 15, 2007
How is this even in the courts at all, never mind the 2nd Circuit? Does she have the right to say these derogatory comments? Sure. But, just as obviously (one would think) the school should not be hamstrung into having no recourse from a snotty misguided student, under the guise of the first amendment.

Just as your right to swing your arm ends at my nose, free speech is similarly not unlimited. However, this should NOT even be a first amendment issue. She did not make a riotous statement or advocate the killing of a person or group. But what she did say was certainly offensive to her school (similar to employer), and they should be able to react to it appropriately.

As this girl is surrounded by a festering huddled mass of sycophants, she is getting the exact wrong message by those who wish her well- that is, that there are no consequences for one's actions. I actually kinda feel sorry for her, as I remember how I was in high school, not remotely knowing how the world works. Perhaps she'll break free from it all someday. In the meantime, she is doing wrong.
David - Burlington

Cheshire, CT

#127 Oct 15, 2007
What kind of company do you work for? Obviously a different kind of company than the majority of Americans. Let me guess...you are approximately 25 years old, work for a radio station, and still live with your parents. How close am I?
free speech supporter

Bristol, CT

#128 Oct 15, 2007
Mr Common Sense wrote:
<quoted text>
I agree with your foul mouth comments however, you are incorrect: her freedom of speech is being curtailed. She did not say or print her words on school property. She did it on her own blog which, while in view of the public, is not within the administrative boundaries of the school. Regardless of what she said, the school does not have the right to extend their authority beyond the school like that.
This is the best point I have read yet. While I agree the comments were not very nice she is allowed to say whatever she wishes outside of school.

“That's what I'm Saying!”

Since: Oct 07

Cromwell, CT

#129 Oct 15, 2007
Equal Rights wrote:
At 17, a child may be allowed to enter the military service in this country. At 18, they can be put on the front lines and be killed. They can lay down their lives for the protection afforded us under our constitution and therefore, have equal rights to say what they feel. The school officials have taught evolution vice Christianity for years. They no longer say the Pledge of Allegience in class so as not to offend any non-Americans or non-Christians present. Our teachers preach about equal rights for gay marriages, civil rights, and some are anti-war supporters who constantly lash out at our own government, name calling included, all under the protection of free speech. In todays society, if you can't handle being referred to as a douchebag and can't refrain from being pissed off about receiving a complaint letter in the mail, you should resign as an educator. Our Senators, Congressmen, and President are all subjected to much worse name calling in front of much bigger audiences - do you see how they respond? Isn't it wonderful how they can smile it off, walk away from that conflict, and let those individuals have their OWN OPINION. Isn't it great that you can send a complaint letter to any of them, every day of your life if you want, and you don't get in trouble for it? This young lady WON the election at her school and the schoold did NOT have the right to not endorse her. The STUDENT BODY endorsed her AND voted for her as well. How would some of you adults like to be told whom you may or may not vote for? That sounds a lot like communism to me.
Give this young lady her victory. Give her the position she won in the election. She deserves more than that for standing up for her rights in this country - too few care enough to do so.
FYI - I served my country with full-time, active military service for over 21yrs. I am Gulf War Veteran, I am 100% disabled. Please don't let the time I served be for nothing - because for those 21yrs my life was on the line so that this young lady held the freedom to express herself. How many Senators and Congressmen would lose their positions if they called the President of the United States a douchbag? Probably NONE of them. Look at what Bill Clinton and Monika Lewinski did and lied about. Bill never left office, and Monika ended up with a souvenier stained dress that made her famous.
This is small peanuts and a no-brainer. This young lady deserves to win, and in my opinion, should keep pressing forward until some school officials that can't take the heat are either fired or resign.
Please don't render my service to this country as useless for our own people. Also, let us remember, you don't always have to agree with her, but you can always AGREE to DISAGREE with her and or her opinions.
May God Bless her and carry her forward over this trivial issue that has become a mountain out of a mole hill. The School Officials are WRONG for what they did and this young lady has NOTHING she needs to apologize for.
Thank you for your service and reminding everyone what this country stands for.
David - Burlington

Cheshire, CT

#130 Oct 15, 2007
Corporate Exec wrote:
To all you "No company will hire her now!" people trying to scare her: My company would hire her.
Way to go, kid! Stick to your guns. By taking up the battle, you have already won. Some of us out here in the real world understand.
What kind of company do you work for? Obviously a different kind of company than the majority of Americans. Let me guess...you are approximately 25 years old, work for a radio station, and still live with your parents. How close am I?
Give Me A Break

East Granby, CT

#131 Oct 15, 2007
Jason wrote:
I believe in the freedom of speech, but we have to remember. This young lady is a minor. We have to enforce some type of control for our youth (I'm one as well). I totally believe in free speech, but if we open the flood gates on this alone, this country is in trouble. Whether it's respect for our peers or someone in authority...we need to show RESPECT!
I'm sure the parties involved are looking at the monetary rewards at this point....sad. I'm sure that's the focus. Where's good old Rev J.J.???
see? another control freak.

Since: Feb 07

Connecticut

#132 Oct 15, 2007
Equal Rights wrote:
At 17, a child may be allowed to enter the military service in this country. At 18, they can be put on the front lines and be killed. They can lay down their lives for the protection afforded us under our constitution
I fully respect your reasoning, but at 18, the state deems a "child" unfit mentallty to know whether he or she should purchase or consume alchohol. That "child" can carry a gun and shoot foreigners, but not carry one here to protect themselves. So age does come into play here.

Since: Jul 07

Newington, CT

#133 Oct 15, 2007
JohnDavis wrote:
A blog is like a public diary. I don't see why she has to censor her own diary? True, she could have used different words, but she didn't. So what? When you have people like Ann Coulter running her mouth under the umbrella of free speech, then this student can say what she wants.
Further, in negotiating her punishment, she met the administration more than half way agreeing to 2 of the 3 terms.
When you were growing up - did your parents let you negotiate your punishment from school or anywhere else? Would they have said "well johnny will do 2 out of those 3 terms"?

This girl has the right to say what she wants. But given that she was communicating in her capacity as a member of the student council to her fellow classmates, shouldn't she be held to a higher standard? If she can't live up to that standard, doesn't the school have the right to revoke her priviledge? I thought perhaps the school was overreacting, but do a little research, you might come to realize that this child is the one overreacting. She wasn't suspended, or expelled, or even formally reprimanded. She had to apologize, tell her mother, and resign from office after she had proven with her actions that she couldn't handle the standards set forth.
Concerned parent

United States

#134 Oct 15, 2007
Well said!
Carol wrote:
The adults involved in this situation have missed the point and are misleading this girl. From day one, children need to know that they are responsible for their actions in life and those who spend their life trying to beat the system and blameing others for what happens to them, live a life hardly worth living. Kids also need to know that life is not always "fair". She should not have resorted to name calling. She should have been called to account for her bad behavior and she should have been allowed to run for office and lose because of it. She will never learn life's most important lessons if adults intercede for her and protect her. The school, her parents and her lawyers are not acting in her best interest. If she wins this case, she loses a great deal. She will go through life thinking that she is free to do anything she wants to. She behaved very badly and she should be made to see that.
KJS

Ansonia, CT

#135 Oct 15, 2007
What a waste of time. This is about the difference between rights and privileges.
This girl certainly had the right to say what she said, just as the school had the right to revoke her privilege for saying it.
She does not have the right to be a class officer. The school has the right to bestow that privilege on her, or revoke it.
Thomas Paine

Caldwell, NJ

#136 Oct 15, 2007
Common Sense asks.... if she blogs that she wants to blow the school up its ok as long as she is home?
Mr Common Sense wrote:
<quoted text>
I agree with your foul mouth comments however, you are incorrect: her freedom of speech is being curtailed. She did not say or print her words on school property. She did it on her own blog which, while in view of the public, is not within the administrative boundaries of the school. Regardless of what she said, the school does not have the right to extend their authority beyond the school like that.
Give Me A Break

East Granby, CT

#137 Oct 15, 2007
Beckie wrote:
<quoted text>
When you were growing up - did your parents let you negotiate your punishment from school or anywhere else? Would they have said "well johnny will do 2 out of those 3 terms"?
This girl has the right to say what she wants. But given that she was communicating in her capacity as a member of the student council to her fellow classmates, shouldn't she be held to a higher standard? If she can't live up to that standard, doesn't the school have the right to revoke her priviledge? I thought perhaps the school was overreacting, but do a little research, you might come to realize that this child is the one overreacting. She wasn't suspended, or expelled, or even formally reprimanded. She had to apologize, tell her mother, and resign from office after she had proven with her actions that she couldn't handle the standards set forth.
It's about time that the educators are held to a higher standard....then maybe the kids will learn.
Do as I say not as I do doesn't work.
Mr Common Sense

United States

#138 Oct 15, 2007
wow wrote:
<quoted text>Very good point - she was writing in her own personal blog. However, she appeared to be communicating with fellow students while acting in her official capacity as junior class secretary. Because she seemed to be playing her official role at the time of the communication, I do think that the school has a right to be involved.
I think she misused her title.
If she was indeed writing these comments in her official role as class secretary, then I agree with her punishment. However, at least in this article, I do not see that this was the case, unless I missed it, or it was in a previous article.
Give Me A Break

East Granby, CT

#139 Oct 15, 2007
KJS wrote:
What a waste of time. This is about the difference between rights and privileges.
This girl certainly had the right to say what she said, just as the school had the right to revoke her privilege for saying it.
She does not have the right to be a class officer. The school has the right to bestow that privilege on her, or revoke it.
When did becoming a class officer become a "bestowed" event?
Ususally there are class elections and they get voted into the position by their peers. Sounds like the peers still wanted her as an officer.
George

Round Rock, TX

#140 Oct 15, 2007
Ms. Doninger does not have a constitutional right to be elected Secretary of her high school class. She needs an education, and is about to get one from the 2nd Circuit. Fortunately, she still has plenty of time to grow up.
Felix

Rocky Hill, CT

#141 Oct 15, 2007
How can this be a free speech violation? She said what she said. The school didn't prevent her from doing that. All the school did was prevent her from running for class office. Doesn't the school have the right to decide who is eligible to run for class offices?. It's a shame that the courts have to hear a case in which this girl insulted and slured her educators.
Pro Freedom

AOL

#142 Oct 15, 2007
KJS wrote:
What a waste of time. This is about the difference between rights and privileges.
This girl certainly had the right to say what she said, just as the school had the right to revoke her privilege for saying it.
She does not have the right to be a class officer. The school has the right to bestow that privilege on her, or revoke it.
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.
Mark

Hartford, CT

#143 Oct 15, 2007
wow wrote:
<quoted text>I'm an adult (maybe not mentally, but certainly legally).
When I was in college, if I acted inappropriately in the surrounding community or even did something stupid back home, the dean would have sanctioned me if he found out about it. The same thing was true in high school with my principal. I accept that as part of the mentoring and growth process that these institutions seek to provide.
The difference is you chose to go to college. This is a public school.
Girls Gone Bad

Colchester, CT

#144 Oct 15, 2007
Fair play or not, I agree with EQUAL RIGHTS statement regarding this young lady.

She has the RIGHT to her opinion and the RIGHT to express herself. I'm not saying she could not have behaved in a more professional way, however, we cannot continue to stand by and watch Free Speech disappear. Freedom of Speech is what allows us to post here today. It allows reporters to give their views on political issues. It allows Carlos Mencia (love that man) the right to make jokes on television and yes, blacks, whites, asains, latinos all alike sit at home and laugh at his jokes. If you don't want to watch it, turn it off and turn in your voter registration card, denounce your citizenship, and please leave the country.

YOU GO GIRL

Also, to EQUAL RIGHTS, thank you for your service to this country and thanks for your post. If you can support her, I can't see why others can't. Maybe they never served in the military? Hmmm.... why don't me make THAT a new rule for voters?

I declare, that by the year of our Lord, 2020, that all registered voters must either be currently serving on active duty or have served a minimum of 2 years of Active Duty Military Service if discharged and if discharged, must be discharged under Honorable Conditions.

So Grandma and Grampa, how does it make you feel that you can no longer vote in another 13yrs just because you weren't in the military?

Your VOTE is YOUR OPINION as to WHOM you want in office. NOT your neighbors, not your teachers, NOT the Governments. It is YOURS and it is also protected by the FREEDOM OF SPEECH for whom you support.

I thank God for all of our active duty military and veterans and I'm sorry if it took me reading the post of EQUAL RIGHTS to respond. At 100% disabled now, discharged from the military, that person will struggle for the remainder of their life, yet still support FREE SPEECH.

What are the rest of you thinking?
Felix

Rocky Hill, CT

#145 Oct 15, 2007
BYW, this girl needs to learn a reality lesson. If she was working in the corporate world and wrote a similar blog about the executives where she worked, we all know what would happen to her. She should be grateful that she still is able to attend her school. This is a bit like the 'Emperor's New Clothes'. Someone with courage should tell Avery she's not wearing any.

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