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3rd circuit reinforces student expression,
California system goes opposite direction

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Two items of note to scholastic media and student expression so far  this first full week of August, and the week is just starting. Both issues could be localized into solid stories no matter where your school is.

I heart boobies: The 3rd circuit ruled en banc Aug. 5 that a PA school’s ban of “I heart boobies” bracelets was unconstitutional because such expression was about political or social issues and did not qualify as lewd speech.

The school had argued that the bracelets were “harmful and confusing” to middle school students, the Student Press Law Center reported. The SPLC also indicated the decision allowed schools to ban speech that is “plainly” lewd and cannot be seen has having a political or social message.

According to the Washington Post’s report, the school’s lawyer said the ruling leaves schools no guidance  for interpretation about how to interpret a growing amount of double-entendres they say will cause disruption.

Restrictive social media policy: The Lodi Unified, California, schools intend to enforce what students call a repressive social media policy requiring students in activities from athletics to clubs to sign before they can participate. The policy, according to a report from a Aug. 5 recordnet.com story, would allow school officials to punish students for social media posts made on or off school grounds, including retweets and likes that the school finds “inappropriate.”

The policy, recordnet.com reports, “The policy cracks down on threats towards other people and other bullying techniques. It allows schools to bench athletes or remove students from clubs if officials learn they have posted inappropriate, profane or sexual language on a social media site – or boasted or endorsed illegal or violent activity.”

The SPLC has called the policy “outlandishly illegal” and cites California laws to support student views.

The Lodi policy is explained more in this article from the Lodi News.

Additional resources:

• Federal court strikes down ‘I (heart) boobies’ ban
http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-easton-boobies-case-decision-20130805,0,3957568.story 

•US Appeals court: PA school can’t ban ‘boobies’ bracelets because message isn’t lewd
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/us-appeals-court-pa-school-cant-ban-boobies-bracelets-because-message-isnt-lewd/2013/08/05/f442bf88-fdee-11e2-8294-0ee5075b840d_story.html

•Appeals court says school can’t ban breast-cancer awareness bracelet
http://www.wisconsingazette.com/breaking-news/appeals-court-says-school-cant-ban-boobies-bracelet.html 

•Third circuit appeals court backs students in ‘Boobies’ bracelet case
http://www.splc.org/news/newsflash.asp?id=2594

• #dislike: Lodi Unified students protest social media policy aimed at bullying
http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130805/A_NEWS/308050305

• Students railing against social media contract implemented by school district
http://fox40.com/2013/08/02/school-district-forcing-student-athletes-to-sign-social-media-contract/#ixzz2ax4tffnu

* California students pro test social media contract banning ‘inappropriate’ posts
http://www.splc.org/news/newsflash.asp?id=2595

• Lodi Unified district social contract
http://www.splc.org/pdf/LUSD_social_media_contract.pdf

 

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