Monday, October 31, 2011

High Court Rejects Appeal of Student Disciplined for Internet Posting

U.S. Supreme CourtImage via WikipediaThe U.S. Supreme Court today let stand a ruling by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit by refusing to hear an appeal from a Connecticut high school student who was sanctioned by school officials for after-school live-blogging that was critical of school administrators, according to the Associated Press.

The case, Doninger v. Niehoff (Docket Nos. 09-1452, 09-1601, 09-2261), concerned then high school junior and class secretary Avery Doninger of Burlington, Connecticut, who was upset by principal Karissa Niehoff's decision in 2007 to cancel Jamfest, a popular musical event at the school. Doninger blogged from her home, calling school officials "douchebags" and urging students and parents to complain to the school superintendent to "piss him off."

For her virtual rant, the school forbade Doninger from running for class secretary during her senior year. She sued pursuant to 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983 & 1988, alleging her free speech, due process and equal protection rights were being violated. The district court and court of appeals sided with the school, and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.  It's worth noting that before her confirmation on the High Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor sided with the majority on the appeals panel against Doninger (see "TUOL" post 5/26/09).
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