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MySpace is Free Speech, Case Overturned

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the myspeech dept.

The Courts 242

eldavojohn writes "The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a judge violated the constitution after placing a juvenile on probation for an expletive laden MySpace entry on the principal. The court decided that the juvenile's free speech rights had been unconstitutionally revoked, and the original judge had suppressed politically motivated free speech since the comments were directly attacking school policy. I think we are starting to see a fine line develop online as it did with print — bullying & slander are punishable while we have to allow criticism of ideas no matter how harsh it is."

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242 comments

Students Not Second-Class Citizens (5, Informative)

gbulmash (688770) | about 7 years ago | (#18681059)

I think this deals more with the broader issue of whether schools can regulate or impose disciplinary actions related to a studen's off-campus activities. While it's long been shown that when students are on campus, they surrender a number of their constitutional rights (free speech, search and seizure, right to bear arms, etc.), the courts seem to be recognizing that just being a student doesn't make you a second class-citizen 24/7. And that has broader implications than just online activities.

- Greg

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18681107)

While I agree that students should have rights, I have to ask: why shouldn't they be second-class citizens? They're not working and they're not nearly as capable as adults of making good decisions. I think "second-class citizen" is a rather good description of what they should be, as opposed to the "first-class citizens" who work and pay taxes for the upkeep of the city. The question, though, is about how many or how few rights second-class citizens should have.

who gives a shit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18681135)

teenagers are a drain on society. let them earn their rights.

Re:who gives a shit (4, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | about 7 years ago | (#18681223)

Civics. You fail it.

Please read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inalienable_rights [wikipedia.org]. If you do not agree to one of the founding ideas of our country, you are welcome to the door.

Re:who gives a shit (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 years ago | (#18681765)

Internet use: You fail it.

You were clearly flamebaited.

From your link:
BTW, if someone disagrees to the principle our diest founding fathers stated, they are welcome to do so. Expressing ones opinion is no reason to show them the door. In fact, it is directly against what you think you are fighting for.

Truly ironic.

doG oN!

Re:who gives a shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18681843)

In what cases would it be acceptable to show them the door?

Re:who gives a shit (5, Insightful)

libkarl2 (1010619) | about 7 years ago | (#18682393)

At the rate were going, there won't be any rights left to earn. They'll be gone. Then were all teenagers.

Except when we get in trouble. Then we will be tried as adults, and receive the maximum sentence for our heinous crimes against the ruling elite.

Seriously though, I have seen teenagers arrested, tried, (and punished) as adults for ticky tack offences you couldn't sucessfuly charge an adult for. Underage drinking (and voting) are punishable by law, but killing and dying is okay if you are in a combat zone.

But you are right; teenagers are a drain on society, along with the poor and disenfranchised.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (5, Insightful)

SgtPepperKSU (905229) | about 7 years ago | (#18681173)

Who says they don't work and pay taxes? You may have been able to get by without working, but not everybody is so lucky.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (2)

Crazy Man on Fire (153457) | about 7 years ago | (#18681209)

As a teenager, you have to work a whole bunch of hours to make enough to actually pay taxes. Sure, the take it out of your check, but you get all/most of it back at the end of the year when you file.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (2, Insightful)

colinrichardday (768814) | about 7 years ago | (#18681315)

Income taxes yes, but what about sales tax?

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (4, Informative)

packeteer (566398) | about 7 years ago | (#18682085)

You are spot on. I am 16 years old working my first job and people would say i don't pay taxes. I pay all the taxes that apply to me. I do not pay income tax in my state but some states might be different. Also I pay into social security, medicare, and labor and industries taxes. Also, I my money to buy things that I pay sales tax on. I have perchased items that had been imported and might have had a tariff imposed. We all know that costs are passed onto the consumers so i was paying that tariff, therefore i was paying the government. By participating in the economy in any way you are paying taxes.

It's rediculous how as a 16 year old you can drive a car and pay taxes but can't vote. It is taxation without representation in my opinion and that is why the founders of this country took up arms and fought back. Ill stick with posting to internet forums myself but the whole thing is kind of rediculous.

Students are absolutly second class citizens. Remember also that many high school students are 18 years old and they still have the same lack of rights.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (4, Informative)

ThisNukes4u (752508) | about 7 years ago | (#18681671)

I worked 25-35 hours a week when I was 16 and 17, and out of a $400 bi-weekly check I paid at least $50-$100 in Social Security tax. Come tax day, I got $100 back both years. Bullshit you get it back, the government stole my money.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 7 years ago | (#18682203)

"As a teenager, you have to work a whole bunch of hours to make enough to actually pay taxes. Sure, the take it out of your check, but you get all/most of it back at the end of the year when you file."

I guess it depends on the job. I made pretty good money back in my teen days working...'79-'81.

I worked my way up to head bus boy at a middle end restaurant..prime rib and the like. My clock hours were good, plus the tips at the end of the night from the waiters (you couldn't wait tables back then if you were under 21, booze rules).

If you're flipping burgers, yeah, you're gonna make crappy min. wage...but, if you go look, there ARE jobs out there that pay better. I used to only work Fri-Sat, sometimes a Sat lunch...and one week night during school years...and more during the summer and breaks.

Sure was nice to have money...and buy that first car with a little help from the folks my senior year. No clunker either...a '78 280Z...was nice back then.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (4, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | about 7 years ago | (#18681241)

While I agree that students should have rights, I have to ask: why shouldn't they be second-class citizens? They're not working and they're not nearly as capable as adults of making good decisions. I think "second-class citizen" is a rather good description of what they should be, as opposed to the "first-class citizens" who work and pay taxes for the upkeep of the city. The question, though, is about how many or how few rights second-class citizens should have.

I think the problem is that the U.S. legal system lacks the framework for dealing with anything besides two types of things: individuals, and property. Either you're an individual, and have rights, or you're property, and belong to somebody else.

There have always been questions as to the status of certain things: slaves, for example, were traditionally property, but later became individuals; animals, who arguably have certain independent characteristics, are still just property; and the current abortion debate is mostly an argument as to whether a fetus is an individual, or merely a woman's property.

The track record of the legal system at dealing with the grey areas isn't too great (cf. "3/5ths compromise," or the now-ridiculous limits on exactly how hard you can beat your wife). The solution here seems to be to clarify the status of minors as one or the other.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 7 years ago | (#18681893)

Either you're an individual, and have rights, or you're property, and belong to somebody else.

In other words, either you're an individual with rights, or you're a nobody with no rights. It's this kind of thinking (plus the current atmosphere of rampant paranoia) that makes me very nervous about crossing the border because, as far as I know, I have no rights as a visitor to the US.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (4, Insightful)

superbus1929 (1069292) | about 7 years ago | (#18681365)

Because I'm uncomfortable with getting students comfortable with a system that, by default, orders them to assimilate solely based on how many taxes they pay. It's one thing for a student to want to buy a porno at 15, but to put a school's faculty above reasonable critique is too much. Our country allows us to critique our elected officials because they're elected; I do not want young people to get used to a fascist style of government because it's against our principles, and also because it takes away from the rights of parents to truly determine what is right for their kid.

In a perfect world, the kids parents would have blistered their asses, and this would not be necessary. But in a perfect world, parents wouldn't sue the school system because their kid is a fuck-up, either.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (2, Insightful)

BlueTrin (683373) | about 7 years ago | (#18681613)

Here you go, you will start with teens, then you could also consider black and hispanics and start arguing about all the differences there are between them and others, continue on old people (come on we even pay taxes for them !!!) and even finish on women (maternity leave ?) ...

I would not rather live in your "ideal" democracy.

No different from many other scenarios (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 7 years ago | (#18681233)

This is no different from nay other situations. You need to give up all these rights to get on a plane. Try walk into a bank carrying a shotgun. Shout "This is a stick up" and then claim freedom of speach.

The difference with myspace etc is that these are clearly soap-boxing sites where people are encouraged and expected to express opinions.

Re:No different from many other scenarios (1)

Deagol (323173) | about 7 years ago | (#18681379)

Yeah, but people are not forced by the State into compulsory plane trips until they turn 18. Slight difference.

On a similar note, I've always wondered if it could be possible to avoid a court appearance due to the fact that you must check all firearms (er, weapons -- they took my Swiss Army Knife once) with the courthouse guards. Can the State compel you to surrender your arms if you have not been convicted of anything yet? A nice legal chicken/egg problem.

Re:No different from many other scenarios (1)

maxume (22995) | about 7 years ago | (#18681519)

I'm just some jackass on the internet(and not a lawyer), but I bet that the case law surrounding your scenario is at least similar to the case law that allows officers to compel suspects to wear hand cuffs and sit in cells for a while(generally, if they can show good reason, they can make you do stuff for a while). I don't think the court house is really considered a 'public area' either, the judge can toss people out for talking more than he likes and what not, and that's probably a decent name for the standard that would apply to your entry as a spectator.

Re:No different from many other scenarios (1)

why-is-it (318134) | about 7 years ago | (#18681927)

On a similar note, I've always wondered if it could be possible to avoid a court appearance due to the fact that you must check all firearms (er, weapons -- they took my Swiss Army Knife once) with the courthouse guards.

Does the phrase contempt of court [wikipedia.org] mean anything to you?

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (2, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | about 7 years ago | (#18681309)

While it's long been shown that when students are on campus, they surrender a number of their constitutional rights (free speech, search and seizure, right to bear arms, etc.)
... uh, no. You don't surrender your right to bear arms in school. You surrender your right to bear arms by being a minor. Most states don't allow minors to get FIDs, and the Supreme Court has never even commented, as far as I know.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18681371)

You surrender your right to bear arms by being a minor.

Well damn. I guess we've come a long way since my days shooting rifles and shotguns in Boy Scouts.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (1)

ajs (35943) | about 7 years ago | (#18681539)

You surrender your right to bear arms by being a minor.

Well damn. I guess we've come a long way since my days shooting rifles and shotguns in Boy Scouts.
I don't think anyone would argue that being allowed to use a gun under supervised conditions would in any way meet the requirements of the 2nd amendment. The point to the amendment was to specifically allow for individuals to possess weapons for use when a militia was called upon by local or state government (an idea which is a bit obsolete, but none the less, requires that you actually own a gun).

Put another way, the right to "bear arms" does not mean the right to use weapons, but to own them. Most states don't allow minors to own guns as far as I know.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (1)

whimmel (189969) | about 7 years ago | (#18682107)

I don't think anyone would argue that being allowed to use a gun under supervised conditions would in any way meet the requirements of the 2nd amendment. The point to the amendment was to specifically allow for individuals to possess weapons for use when a militia was called upon by local or state government (an idea which is a bit obsolete, but none the less, requires that you actually own a gun).
This depends on where you put the comma [wikipedia.org]

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (1)

Altus (1034) | about 7 years ago | (#18681643)

while this is true it is also true that firearms are not allowed on school property in any district that I know of and there are highschool students who have a licence to carry, they just have to be over 18 (maybe 17 in some states) and still in highschool. I knew people who fell into this category.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (4, Interesting)

DAtkins (768457) | about 7 years ago | (#18681651)

I've always wondered how that used to work. My step-father's high school had an indoor firing range; and people brought their guns to school on the bus. I think they had to turn them into the range master prior to going to homeroom. They obviously don't do that now, but I am curious when and how the policy change occurred.

Of course this was in rural Georgia (Athens-Clarke County) sometime in the 50's.

Anyhoo, it's not that you don't have a right to bear arms as a minor, just that those rights are severely restricted. And ownership is usually flat out (not that it kept any of my friends from "owning" a .22 or maybe a .410).

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 years ago | (#18681677)

Most states don't allow minors to get FIDs

FID? Flight ID? Free Induction Decay? Financial Institutions Duty? Functional Interface Drawing? Oh wait, there it is, Firearms Identification.

Guess what? FID is generally only required when purchasing a gun. SOME states require that you have a license to own a firearm, but not most.

In California [ca.gov], "A person must be at least 18 years of age to purchase a rifle or shotgun. To buy a handgun, a person must be at least 21 years of age, and either 1) possess an HSC plus successfully complete a safety demonstration with the handgun being purchased or 2) qualify for an HSC exemption."

It's worth mentioning that no minor without their majority can actually be said to own property anyway. Their parents/guardians can take it away at any time, so it's not really theirs. So the law focuses on providing access to minors. California law doesn't make it illegal to provide access to a firearm to a minor, but you can be guilty of a felony if a minor uses your gun to commit a crime.

Everyone surrenders their right to bear arms on a school campus except for active law enforcement, or military during the execution of orders. Even if you have a concealed carry permit it is not lawful to bring a gun to a school. This is interesting because at one time (IIRC, up until the early 1900s) California law explicitly protected your right to carry a gun on public property. That means schools, courthouses, et cetera.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 7 years ago | (#18682101)

Oops..I posted asking about FID before I saw your post.

Interesting...I've never lived anywhere where I'd heard of a Firearms ID.

Granted, most of my firearms purchases have been from private individuals (some at gun shows), some relatives, etc....so, there is not waiting time, no requirement for ID, etc....and best of all...NO RECORD.

The only time in my life I've ever registered any kind of firearm was when I got my concealed carry years back, and in AR, they did require you to list the weapons on that license.

Other than that...I've never had to show a 'special' ID of any kind to own or purchase a firearm...even at a commercial site. Never registered a gun either, although I've heard some states require that....anyone know which ones do?

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 years ago | (#18682247)

Granted, most of my firearms purchases have been from private individuals (some at gun shows), some relatives, etc....so, there is not waiting time, no requirement for ID, etc....and best of all...NO RECORD.

In California you must have a handgun safety cert or an exemption thereof to purchase a handgun, regardless of where it is purchased, and all handgun transfers must be reported to the state.

The only time in my life I've ever registered any kind of firearm was when I got my concealed carry years back, and in AR, they did require you to list the weapons on that license.

AFAIK all CCW permits require listing the weapon. I think in some places you even have to pay for a firing and storage of a spent projectile for ballistics matching. But I don't have a CCW (yet - if I move out into the boonies, and I've looked at land in a location which would well be described that way, I will begin to carry.)

Other than that...I've never had to show a 'special' ID of any kind to own or purchase a firearm...even at a commercial site. Never registered a gun either, although I've heard some states require that....anyone know which ones do?

I have a pretty good idea... [fuckinggoogleit.com]

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (1)

maxume (22995) | about 7 years ago | (#18681685)

What's a fid? Anyway, plenty of states let people younger than 16 hunt(with varying degrees of supervision) and ask a boy scout about a knife...

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 7 years ago | (#18682021)

"Most states don't allow minors to get FIDs, and the Supreme Court has never even commented, as far as I know."

I must have missed this one acronym school....what is FID?

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (4, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 7 years ago | (#18681341)

I think this deals more with the broader issue of whether schools can regulate or impose disciplinary actions related to a studen's off-campus activities.
I think you are wrong, because this case doesn't concern school disciplinary action at all. The only school involvement is that the questionable postings were seen and reported by a principal: the delinquency petition was not filed by the school, but by the state, and the authority for it was the state's general juvenile justice authority, not its authority over the school system. So its pretty hard to read this as dealing with the issue you want it to be about.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (1)

mattatwork (988481) | about 7 years ago | (#18681343)

I don't know if I missed something(all the articles I've seen are from the same AP release), but was the students right to free speech revoked due to the probation? I figure that would be one of the guidelines...something along the lines of the student not being able to use MySpace for a certain period of time. I can see where the violation of free speech might be taken from that.
You can have the right to free speech but that does not mean it's absolute.... The students post could be considered hate speech and slander...probably the grounds to appeal this court's decision....

Bong Hits 4 Jesus (1)

wsanders (114993) | about 7 years ago | (#18681387)

The "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case is currently before the Supreme Court this term and covers much of this ground.

If nothing else, it's enormously entertaining just to hear the Supremes uttering the phrase "Bong Hits 4 Jesus".

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4155/i s_20060830/ai_n16693097 [findarticles.com]

Famous Scumbag Lawyer Ken Starr doesn't have any more of a chance here than he did on his other big case a few years ago, since there are plenty of prior rulings protecting students' free speech rights off-campus:

http://lawcrawler.findlaw.com/scripts/lc.pl?countr y=&start=450&lang=&entry=Tinker+v.+Des+Moines&site s=any [findlaw.com]

I THOUGHT I TOLD YOU TO SHUT THE FUCK UP. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18681391)

Hi nigger! Welcome to America. The cotton fields are to your left.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (1)

FlatLine84 (1084689) | about 7 years ago | (#18681537)

Exactly. As I think it is important to instill say respect, or perhaps teach more mature ways of expressing views, what a child does outside of school should have little affect to their school life. Any school (even public) is a private facility that a certain group of individuals belong to. It would be just as ridiculous if students got detention for back-talking to a parent at home. That being said, I'm really appalled at how children are acting these days. It is very bad form for a student to bad mouth their school in any manner, unless there is evidence or cause (like students being beaten by teachers, etc...) It just seems very immature. Then again, they're children, and perhaps they need some guidelines and some lessons taught because of things they do, instead of free reign. Wake up parents, I'm not taking care of YOUR children.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (1)

MutantHamster (816782) | about 7 years ago | (#18682009)

Tinker V. Des Moines, idiot. Stop telling people they don't have a right to free-speach in schools. When associate justice Abe Fortas literally says in the opinion "it can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate," how in the Hell do people keep getting this misconception that THE EXACT OPPOSITE IS TRUE?

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (1)

brouski (827510) | about 7 years ago | (#18682439)

how in the Hell do people keep getting this misconception that THE EXACT OPPOSITE IS TRUE?

Because in practice students' rights to free expression are curtailed all the damn time. It makes the news when a student and/or their parents has the balls to fight it.

Re:Students Not Second-Class Citizens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18682039)

Myspace may have just been the middle man between someone getting their clock cleaned, thankfully the teachers found out. I would agree that if the student was writing things to threated classmates or teachers, he should be punished by the school with suspension or a parent conference. Including a judge and courtroom into this situation is just making myspace founder Tom laugh all the way to the bank. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, but a threat is also a threat. My point would be, taking this issue to higher authority than the school system and parents was uncalled for. It is quite common to blame myspace for the ignorant ways of the users, but I think parents should relax. Be informed and learn about what your kids are doing. Be parents and choose what to restrict and what not, same goes for school systems. It is not hard to block websites, and myspace should be one. It is just a time waster anyway, give the kids a decent book or something.

Glad it was overturned, but... (3, Insightful)

AaxelB (1034884) | about 7 years ago | (#18681063)

It's too bad there's no fair way to clearly define that thin grey line, and it has to be taken on a case-by-case basis (Unless there's some method I'm missing).

The inefficiency of real justice is aggravating.

Insightful? Are you kidding me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18681323)

"It's too bad there's no fair way to clearly define that thin grey line"

It's called context. That's the whole point of a case-by-case basis.
Jeez, the last thing we need is an un-thinking judicial system on top of an already fairly broken one.

Re:Glad it was overturned, but... (1)

businessnerd (1009815) | about 7 years ago | (#18682469)

Fortunately, there is a clear way of defining that line. We have the right to free speech with only two exceptions: Libel and Slander. They are both the same idea, but just pertain to how the statement was disseminated. If you say or write anything that is false about another person, it qualifies as libel/slander. If you say something really really mean, as long as it's the truth, you're in the clear. Calling someone a bitch is not libel/slander as long as you can show that they have at some point or another acted in a manner fitting of the term "bitch". Now I'm not a lawyer, and if there are any lawyers reading feel free to clarify. But the line is whether the statement is true or false. Sometimes that can't be clearly defined. In which case, it's opinion. But even still, this opinion has to be based on something.

But how much? (1)

Mercedes308 (832423) | about 7 years ago | (#18681065)

I think that distinction of criticism is often abused in order to circumvent censorship or prosecution. If the video was a mix of slander and criticism would the court still rule in his favour? If so, what ratio would they allow untill it was unacceptable?

Good! (5, Insightful)

mstahl (701501) | about 7 years ago | (#18681083)

I still remember what it was like to be a teenager, and one of the most frustrating things about it is the feeling of being disenfranchised. I don't think personal attacks and bullying are okay, and I recognize that the Internet is being used more and more frequently for this type of activity, but teenagers still need to feel like they have a voice.

Re:Good! (3, Insightful)

jofny (540291) | about 7 years ago | (#18681775)

I dont like that phrasing...I think teenagers need to HAVE a voice. So much in our society right now is geared to making people FEEL LIKE they have a voice/choice while all the awhile guiding them down a preset path along which theyve unknowingly given away their choices and their say.

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18681875)

I have to disagree. I think that teenagers should know quite clearly that they don't have a voice, that they have no (or precious few) rights, and those can change at the pleasure of authorities over which they have no hold.

The idea is that this way, they can understand in depth the consequences of being powerless. It should be shoved in their faces daily. Rub their noses in it. Make them weep bitter tears for their voice, and mock their tears.

Result: a citizenry which knows, and cares, about rights, privileges and the relationship between government and people.

captcha: protests

A small dose of optimism. (5, Insightful)

PixieDust (971386) | about 7 years ago | (#18681133)

It's refreshing to see this occasionally happen. My teens aren't that far behind me, and I've gone rounds with various entities about similar things. It's nice to see things like this happen where it's recognized that damnit, in this country, we're SUPPOSED to be able to speak our minds.

The original case accused the girl in question of identity theft, because the page she posted on was supposed to be the Principal's page (it was created by someone else entirely). When all that was said and done, they had to save face somehow, and so prosecuted the person and declared her delinquent for being "obscene". Counter damages perhaps? I would sooooooooo go after them for that.

The rant was also not about the principal, but rather about school policy regarding body piercings. Oh how many times I was suspended for criticizing school policy, and faculty for stupidity. Although in some cases, motivating the student body to protest can be helpful. My high school once told us we couldn't bring our purses to school. 2 days of every girl in the school using tampons for hair rollers fixed that one. On the other hand, those of us who organized that, were suspended for a week for insubordination.

I love seeing cases like this stick it to the man. It's sad that the Constitution so often (aside from being trampled daily) doesn't seem to apply to anyone under the age of 18. With the advent of the internet, however, and online social societies of their own, teens seem to be able to fight for a few more rights, and correct a few more injustices than they were able to even just 10 years ago. That's a great thought. Bolstered by victories now, perhaps the next generation will be less inclined to just roll over while their rights are trampled on than the current generation.

Time will tell.

Re:A small dose of optimism. (1)

HolyCrapSCOsux (700114) | about 7 years ago | (#18681567)

Couldn't bring purses -> tampon hair curlers.
What did you do with the other 100 or so misc. knickknacks women carry in their purses? Brushes, makeup, paperbacks, etc?

Re:A small dose of optimism. (4, Interesting)

PixieDust (971386) | about 7 years ago | (#18681679)

Safetey pins, medical tape, belt loops, basically we wore the entire contents of our purses attached to our clothes, in our hair, anywhere we could get them to latch on. A friend of mine made what, i can only describe as a duct tape belt, with keyrings going through it that she could hang things on.

After 2 days the faculty caved, and let us carry our purses again (though they had to stay in our lockers, because then we wouldn't be able to shoot up the school with the guns we were all carrying in them). Then they started finding out who organized it, and suspended us for insubordination. About 3 weeks later, there was a sit-out at the school, which didn't end well (not for those of us organizing it).

Yea, I used to be a big pusher for people's rights not getting trampled. But after becoming so disillusioned in those years, then my stint in the Army, and current political happenings, it's enough that I'm willing to make /. posts.

It's sad really.

Re:A small dose of optimism. (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 7 years ago | (#18682143)

Safetey pins, medical tape, belt loops, basically we wore the entire contents of our purses attached to our clothes, in our hair, anywhere we could get them to latch on. A friend of mine made what, i can only describe as a duct tape belt, with keyrings going through it that she could hang things on.

All I can say is "beautiful, kudos to you all, and a large stinking rotten egg for the administration." Sometimes bureaucrats need to be taught their place.

-b.

Re:A small dose of optimism. (1)

wuice (71668) | about 7 years ago | (#18682025)

I'm glad to see smoeone who still cares about the Constitution.. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to apply much to people over 18 anymore either. As George Bush Jr. said, "The Constitution is just a goddamn piece of paper."

Re:A small dose of optimism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18682303)

I salute you and your tampon-as-hair-roller-wearing sisters!

That is the funniest thing I've seen all day. If you couldn't carry purses, where did they think you were going to keep stuff like tampons? Carrying tampons in a pocket doesn't work too well, since they always get bent or crushed when you sit. I just bet the person who thought of the no-purse policy was a man. Okay, so maybe you could have bought tampons out of a machine in the restroom. On the other hand, the tampon machines in the girls' restrooms in my school didn't work most of the time, and they only dispensed these primitive cardboard applicator things and maxi pads the size of Huggies diapers. It was always better to bring your own products. Heh heh heh. I bet the guys reading this on /. are lying passed out on the floor in shock from discovering that there are actually females present here and from the horror of seeing the word "tampon" mentioned in two posts!

I can't help but be curious about the reason why the school banned girls from carrying purses. I mean, what did they think you were all carrying in your purses? Did they ban book bags from the school as well? If not, the policy seems a little inconsistent to me. If the reason for banning purses was because they were afraid of someone smuggling in drugs or a concealed weapon, then they should have banned all backpacks and bags. Of course, if a school bans purses or other bags because they are afraid students are using them to smuggle illegal items into school, the students will just find another way to conceal the items. Searching all students might help, but then again, getting searched everywhere you go starts to feel like harassment. Getting to know the kids and their parents seems like a much better way to protect students than harassing them about whether or not they carry a purse.

Safe Schools Act (5, Interesting)

Eyezen (548114) | about 7 years ago | (#18681165)

They tend to get away with it because rightly are wrongly the schools invoke the Safe Schools Act when suppressing speech/activities outside the physical school environment.

The Safe Schools Act is to school age children what the Patriot Act is to the common citizenry.

Good (1, Redundant)

kungfujesus (969971) | about 7 years ago | (#18681175)

It's time that they stopped treating us High School students like we're animals, and started respecting our rights. I'm sick of the feeling that I'm a second class citizen, without the rights of adults. The school should have no say on what we do outside of school grounds. "The land of the free [unless you're a kid]"

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

pintpusher (854001) | about 7 years ago | (#18681349)

I think part of what you are experiencing is the natural progression from the apparent total freedom a child experiences to the much more restrictive life of an adult. All teens go through this. Its part of what drives teens to break away from the home and live an independent adult life.

You may respond "what restrictive adult life" but its true. We adults may appear more free than you (and in many respects we are), but we are burdened with self-imposed restrictions, societally imposed restrictions, burdens of responsibility etc that can strongly curtail that apparent freedom we have.

I recall that I was frustrated by visions of adults having the "Freedom" to drink, drive (not necessarily together), and all sorts of other fun stuff that I couldn't do. But, you know what, now that I'm an adult, I realise that those are largely the only freedoms we have that are worth anything. Free speech be damned, give me a beer and a woman!

Re:Good (5, Funny)

lilomar (1072448) | about 7 years ago | (#18681413)

Free speech be damned, give me a beer and a woman! Rarely has the current American public sentiment been so concisely put.

Re:Good (2, Interesting)

kebes (861706) | about 7 years ago | (#18681817)

While I agree that "being an adult" has many self-imposed restrictions (paying bills, holding down a job, taking care of dependents, being reliable, etc.), I have to disagree that an adult has less freedom than a teenager in high-school.

Frankly, alot of high-school was learning to fit into a mold (both for your peers and teachers), and following rules. Yes, to a certain extent you have to deal with those kinds of rules in "real life," but frankly I feel much more free and empowered now as an adult than I ever did as a teenager.

Part of it is financial independence, of course. But there's also much less fear of "not fitting in" or whatever. I mean, in high-school I would never mention to people that I played tabletop RPGs in my free time. Now, as an adult, I really don't care who knows (even though it is even less "normal" for an adult to play RPGs...). The restrictions of jobs and rent are nothing compared to the restrictions of high-school (and, for some people, their parents). Moreover, the very fact that these restrictions are self-imposed makes a huge difference.

All I can say to readers who are still stuck in High-School is: "Don't worry... Life gets better!"

Re:Good (1)

pintpusher (854001) | about 7 years ago | (#18681953)

I suppose it looks like it, but I wasn't intending to imply that being an adult is less free than being a teen. But it certainly appears to be more lopsided than it is. The transition from the apparent freedom of childhood to a decidedly not-free-adulthood is difficult and to a teen probably seems worse than it is. A teen looks at an adult's freedom and thinks its all wine and roses, but its not. It's merely a perception. That was the point I was after.

Oh, and your comments are spot on IMO.

Re:Good (1)

k_187 (61692) | about 7 years ago | (#18681395)

Umm, unless you're 18 (which I have no way of telling), you don't have the rights of adults to begin with.

Re:Good (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18681445)

>>>It's time that they stopped treating us High School students like we're animals, and started respecting our rights. I'm sick of the feeling that I'm a second class citizen, without the rights of adults. The school should have no say on what we do outside of school grounds. "The land of the free [unless you're a kid]"

Ignore my next statement if you happen to be 18 or older...

By definition "without the rights of adults" makes sense when you are not an adult.
I applaud the ruling, and agree with the concept of maintaining essential rights for kids in school. But to the point, and to one of a previous post.... I do not think the constitution ever intendeded to grant the same rights to minors as adults. Minors can also not vote, drink, or run for public office. These rights are conferred upon adulthood, as defined by 18 years of age. Other rights - freedom of press/expression/religion/bear arms are granted on a limited basis outside of school by the authority of parents/guardians.

soapbox

So PARENTS - get involved in your kids' schools! The administration will continue to implement stupid things and introduce curriculum you disagree with unless you are involved! If you are already involved GREAT - otherwise, either get off your duff or stop whining about how your kids are being treated. AND get involved in your kids lives/activities! Not to be invasive, or uber-chaperone, and not to be their best friend, but to help them get through one of the most confusing periods of life with some sense that somebody cares what they do, who they are, and how they turn out!

/soapbox

Re:Good (1)

Altus (1034) | about 7 years ago | (#18681863)


Im not sure I agree that minors shouldn't get "adult rights." sure there are some things that they do not get. The right to vote, to drink, to drive ect... but should they lack freedom of speech? what about religion? assembly?

I dont know... I don't see anything in the constitution that implies that these rights should be restricted to adults. One could make the argument that the right to bear arms does not apply to minors due to the militia clause but I'm not so sure about the others.

What was the age of majority back when the constitution was framed anyway? if it was younger than 18 I think you have to take that into account when you consider the founding fathers intent.

Re:Good (1)

MacsSuck (1086759) | about 7 years ago | (#18682017)

i dont recall any rule not granting minors the right to speech, religion or assembly. But when you're a minor you have to obey your parents/school. Meaning, if you're parents want you to be christians, then really you dont have much of a choice. If your teacher tells you to shut the F-up so she can teach, then you need to shut the F-up. As for assembly...dont you have stuff like Proms and all that bs?

Re:Good (1)

Altus (1034) | about 7 years ago | (#18682297)


you are required to obey your teachers at school thats for sure. You have to be there by law (unless you go to a private school) and you are not allowed to be disruptive. I agree with all of this and I have no problem with it... but I really dont think that applies to off campus activites. posting stuff on myspace about how your schools administration sucks or holding a "bong-hits-for-jesus" poster off school ground should probably not apply.

Im not so sure about the parents thing... I mean, they can punish you (with limits) but can they really make you be a Christian or not be a pagan (these are beliefs, not really controllable) can they honestly make you go to church under force of law? they could take away your privileges to use their TV or internet or send you to bed without supper but I don't know that they have the legal right to force you to go to church (or anywhere for that matter)... I'm kind of curious now.

Functionally of course they really do have this power because they can legally make a kids life most miserable if the kid doesn't listen to them... but if a kid was truly determined, what powers would the parents have.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 7 years ago | (#18682063)

Minors can also not vote, drink, or run for public office.
In the United States, most of those aren't even 18. The legal drinking age (I believe in all states) is 21. You have to be 25 to run for the House of Representatives, 30 to run for the Senate, and 35 to run for President. 18 isn't the only somewhat-arbitrary age limit.

Re:Good (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 years ago | (#18681633)

While I agree with the decsion, you don't have the same rights as adults.
There are many reasons for this, but I will leave that up to you to look up.

You think your restricted now? Wait until you relize that in the corporate world, you would be fired for expressing your negative opinion aboput your work place outside of work.
They would call it that, but you would still be put out of work.

Why do people tolerate it? Because they have people like you to raise.

Here are the 2 most important lesson you can learn about life:
1) Do what you love, never settle.
2) Always live as far below your means as possible. This will always give you power in your chosen profession.

Only following those principles will you ever be free.
oh, and pay attention to this guy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penn_Jillette [wikipedia.org]

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18682415)

Not meaning to troll, just disagree, and flip the thought process on the other end:

"Think of the children!" is all you ever hear.

It's funny how children demand the rights of an adult. Yet at the same time, demand that if an adults rights go too far, then take the rights away from the adult for the sake of the child.

I do agree that a child should have freedoms like adults, but at the same time, people keep pushing this "Think of the children" nonsense. Therefor children have no rights, to protect themselves ironically.

Either children and adults take the same rights and freedoms, otherwise deal with it. In my opinion, its all about equality though, but for those people pushing the nonsense, actually "Think of " HOW " the children" FEEL.

Disenfranchisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18681267)

Disenfranchisement is horrible, especially when you can't speak out against silly school rules. Anyone have any of those rules like "no hats in class", "no chewing gum", "no whistling", "no Pogs", "no trading cards", "no fizzy drinks", the list goes on (good "ask slashdot" topic IMO).

Re:Disenfranchisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18681693)

As time goes on, you will probably realize that there is a time and a place for everything.

Guess what, for us "adults" we can't bring half of that "fun" stuff to work either. Depending on the job, you can't even have something as simple as a glass of water at your desk. Besides, why the hell are you bringing half of that to school anyway. Leave it at home, and deal with it then. When at school try concentrating on school, it will be better for you in the long run.

Now get off my lawn you damn kids.

Cool! A Minnie Driver/Anne Hathaway love scene. (0, Offtopic)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 7 years ago | (#18681377)

> You might remember HD209458b as a 'hot Jupiter' that boils under the glow of its very nearby star.

No, I don't remember th...wait. Did you say HD209458 b ?

Nevermind.

Decided on the Indiana Constitution (4, Informative)

radarjd (931774) | about 7 years ago | (#18681399)

It's important to note that the Court of Appeals based the polical speech portion of its opinion [in.gov] on the Indiana Constitution and not the Federal Constitution. State Constitutions can allow greater freedom to the people that the Federal Constitution, but not less. In other words, it's possible this would have come out differently in another state. Of course, I'm from Indiana, so it applies around here.

Re:Decided on the Indiana Constitution (2, Interesting)

Comatose51 (687974) | about 7 years ago | (#18681989)

Uh... not sure about that but California law legalized marijuana but Federal courts said Federal law trumps it.

Re:Decided on the Indiana Constitution (1)

IthnkImParanoid (410494) | about 7 years ago | (#18682309)

IANAL, so this may not be technically accurate.

IIRC that was because the regulation of certain substances was seen as falling under the Interstate Commerce Clause. The Interstate Commerce Clause trumps pretty much every question of states' rights, and is the driving force behind a lot of the growth of federal power. If the actions of this kid were in violation of a federal law, and that federal law was related, however tangentially, to interstate commerce, the outcome may have been very different.

No, MySpace is not Free Speech. (4, Interesting)

ScentCone (795499) | about 7 years ago | (#18681473)

MySpeech is a communciations method. You can use it in keeping with the First Amendment, or you can use it outside of those very real bounds. Saying "MySpace is Free Speech" is like saying "the sounds coming out of your mouth are Free Speech." Well, yeah, unless they're not. As in slander, fraud, incitement, conspiracy, threats, etc.

Re:No, MySpace is not Free Speech. (2, Insightful)

radarjd (931774) | about 7 years ago | (#18681665)

You can use it in keeping with the First Amendment, or you can use it outside of those very real bounds. Saying "MySpace is Free Speech" is like saying "the sounds coming out of your mouth are Free Speech." Well, yeah, unless they're not. As in slander, fraud, incitement, conspiracy, threats, etc.

I think that's exactly what the case said. The Court considered at least one of the girl's postings:
Hey you piece of greencastle shit.
What the fuck do you think of me [now] that you can['t] control me? Huh?
Ha ha ha guess what I'll wear my fucking piercings all day long and to
school and you can['t] do shit about it! Ha ha fucking ha! Stupid bastard!
Oh and kudos to whomever made this ([I'm] pretty sure I know who).
Get a background.
formatting left as in the opinion [in.gov].

The Court found that somewhere in there is a protected expression of displeasure towards the actions of a government actor -- that is, she was mad he banned wearing of jewelry in decorative piercings and expressed her thoughts on the matter.

It's not Shakespeare, but freedom can't only apply to those who speak eloquently.

Re:No, MySpace is not Free Speech. (1)

ScentCone (795499) | about 7 years ago | (#18682061)

I think that's exactly what the case said.

Right! But it's not what the slashdot headline says! That's my point. There was no finding that MySpace is free speech, and that wasn't even really being discussed, per se. What the court is talking about is whether free speech is free speech... and the MySpace piece of the puzzle is really something of a red herring, and was just there to stoke flames here.

Re:No, MySpace is not Free Speech. (2, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 7 years ago | (#18682165)

MySpeech is a communciations method.

I am thinking that you are relying too much on the title of an article to imply it's meaning. Slashdot titles are limited in characters so submitters have to be as brief as possible. Sometimes being brief changes the meaning but there isn't much choice. You should RTFA. All it is saying is that anything posted or said on MySpace has as much protection as anything said in real life. Of course it includes the same limitations like libel and treason and harassment. The student was arguing her comments on MySpace were protected under the First Amendment guidelines of free speech as they relayed a criticism of her school's public policy on body piercings. She should not be punished criminally for expressing a political view point. The court of appeals agreed with her.

While we have little regard for A.B.'s use of vulgar epithets, we conclude that her overall message constitutes political speech.

This follows many court decisions that although some speech may be distasteful, they are protected. The US Supreme Court ruled in Hustler v. Falwell:

But in the world of debate about public affairs, many things done with motives that are less than admirable are protected by the First Amendment.

Childrens rights... (4, Insightful)

bbambrey (582419) | about 7 years ago | (#18681609)

I have long been an advocate of children's/teens rights. They have thoughts, ideas and opinions like adults and have as much, if not more, to gain or lose from the decisions made. In regards to the US:

-We have and do prosecute children/teens as adults.
-Spend social security.
-Go to war.
-Enact laws on education. (including college funding and rules).
-Many states allow driving at 16.
-Some states consider 17 to be a legal adult.

The decisions we make can have very big impacts and yet we give no voice to children/teens? Why??? What could we do??

-Lower the voting age.
-Create children/teen lobbyist or activist groups.

I have yet to hear a good argument why we can't make these things happen. Why young adults/children/teens can't have more of a say.

If we can prosecute a teen as an adult then they should have a voice on how the laws impact their lives.

I welcome ideas...

/random thoughts.... and probably unorganized
//should probably get back to work
///did not proofread :)

Re:Childrens rights... (1)

BlueTrin (683373) | about 7 years ago | (#18681695)

/random thoughts.... and probably unorganized
//should probably get back to work
///did not proofread :)


Don't try to fool us, you teen scum ! Get back to school ! :)

Re:Childrens rights... (1)

astonishedelf (845821) | about 7 years ago | (#18681839)

Children rarely get prosecuted as adults unless the crime is particularly serious - this is England. Its certainly the common view among those in the Criminal Justice System that children and young people need protecting from themselves more than anything else. Juveniles lack the maturity and experience to make considered decisions about themselves and the societies they live in. Their lack of real world experience leads to them often substitute wishful thinking for serious decision making. I was a kid myself once and I certainly wouldn't have trusted myself with the vote, etc. I would agree that there are some adults that I wouldn't trust with the vote, etc. but the line has to be drawn somewhere. If you haven't heard a good argument as to why young adults / children / teens can't have more of a say, then all I can say is that you have't been listening hard enough. Young adults have enough on their hands coping with the physical, emotional, and hormonal changes they are experiencing. What you're suggesting is irresponsible and damaging. Kids need to learn that rights are earned by those prepared to live up to their responsibilities.

Re:Childrens rights... (1)

bbambrey (582419) | about 7 years ago | (#18682049)

Interesting response. Many of the same reasons were used against females and blacks well into the 20th century to keep them from having a voice. Adults also have physical, emotional, and hormonal changes that they endure in addition to work, bills, stress etc...

We entrust teens with the right to work and the right to drive along with ability to spend money and act as part of society. We encourage them to take part in activities and do things with their lives and we make massive decisions for them that could have impact down the road... Kids are smarter these days, they have information readily available and can be informed on how to vote and the impacts they can create by doing so.

Maybe if we allowed them to have a voice and participate at a younger age then as adults we would have more informed voters and higher turnout.

Lowering the voting age isn't the only solution but activist groups or lobbyists working in favor of children to help give them a voice about things that affect them.

I am not saying this is the right solution but rather something worthy of strong discussion. The world is an increasingly different place from even 50 years ago and that includes the way children/teens think and act.

Re:Childrens rights... (1)

MacsSuck (1086759) | about 7 years ago | (#18682105)

the majority of minors lack the competence level and full knowledge of whats going on, and what is good for the country to vote. I think most of the country would feel safer at night if we keep it the way it is right now. In fact, we should even increase the voting age to something like 21 if you ask me.

Re:Childrens rights... (1)

imemyself (757318) | about 7 years ago | (#18682385)

the majority of minors lack the competence level and full knowledge of whats going on, and what is good for the country to vote.

While I don't necessarily disagree with that (I do strongly disagree with raising the voting age though), do you actually think that most adults have a clue? Yeah, I'm sure some are competent (as some minors are competent), but a lot of them (the think-of-the-children, bible-belt, "I have the right to be a lazy American" people) are just as clueless as they were when they were minors. People do not automatically gain wisdom when they turn eighteen.

I'm an 18 year old American in Kansas.

Not a radical decision (4, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | about 7 years ago | (#18681767)

The speech occurred off campus and wasn't illegal. Punishing the student for it was a violation of the US Constitution, and the judge ruled accordingly. Too bad the original district judge was too stupid to realize that.

Who cares? (1)

dbitch (553938) | about 7 years ago | (#18681805)

So your speech is free on MySpace. Who cares? Does anyone care what you say if you're on MySpace?

On another note (2, Interesting)

BlueTrin (683373) | about 7 years ago | (#18681851)

While I am quite happy to see freedom of speech win, I found this article [mtv.com], and was shocked by this part:

From MTV News:
One of the students named in the suit, Justin Layshock, 19, allegedly created an account in Trosch's name, in which he's described as "a big steroid freak" and "too drunk to remember" his birthday. The profile also suggested that Trosch smoked marijuana and kept a keg of beer behind his desk.

A different profile, created by student Thomas Cooper, also claimed Trosch was a fan of pornography, while a third, the work of brothers Brendan and Christopher Gebhart, depicted more graphic activities.

The fake profiles "went far and beyond what you would see on a bathroom wall in a school," Trosch's lawyer, John E. Quinn, told the AP. He added that the person behind a fourth MySpace profile, which he called "the most graphic and lurid of them all," has not yet been identified, but would be a party to the action if and when the person is.


Although I am for freedom of speech, this looks more like diffamation, I am sure that the myspace page about this girl has nothing to do with this case.

Although it is not related, I was wondering if you would agree that creating such a fake page could be categorized as diffamation and should be condemned, which is what Zonk [slashdot.org] is saying at the top of this page.

Re:On another note (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 7 years ago | (#18682159)

I would guess that those people could be accused of libel and/or defamation, since they claim specific facts that reasonably could damage the person's standing in his job and career. Unless the claims are actually true, of course.

Re:On another note (2, Interesting)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 7 years ago | (#18682241)

Although I am for freedom of speech, this looks more like diffamation, I am sure that the myspace page about this girl has nothing to do with this case.

Well, if it was obviously and patently fake, it could be considered a satire, and thus protected as free speech. Even if it was defamation, defamation is a _civil_ offense, not one that an adult would draw probation for. A lawsuit verdict or an injunction, sure; but not a criminal's sentence.

-b.

It's not that way in my state. (3, Interesting)

AciesD (881178) | about 7 years ago | (#18682051)

At my high school a friend of mine was expelled his sophomore year for posting "hurtful" comments about a teacher on his blog. They expelled him based on precedent, or so said the school board. So apparently it has happened before. I hope this ruling will lead to some changes in other places.

Delinquency charges == bullshit (3, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | about 7 years ago | (#18682111)

Translation: "we can't find an actual crime that would stick in a court of law in front of a competent judge or jury, so we'll charge her for not knowing her place in society (under the stomping feet of her elders)"

Catch-all laws like that annoy me, even if they were originally well meant.

-b.

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