Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Monday, October 3, 2011

School administrators did not violate a student’s Constitutional right to “free speech” when it disciplined her for harassing a fellow student via after-school posting on the Internet


Kowalski v. Berkeley County Schools, United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, Docket #10-1098
A student sued West Virginia’s Berkeley County School District contending that it had violated her Constitutional right to free speech when it suspended her for creating a MySpace page ridiculing a fellow student. A federal District Court judge granted the school district’s motion for summary judgment, which ruling was affirmed by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In this 42 USC 1983 action the court found that the student’s after-school “conduct was sufficiently connected to the school environment so as to implicate the [district’s] recognized authority to discipline speech which materially and substantially interferes with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school and collides with the rights of others.”
The full text of the decision is posted on the Internet at:
Reprinted with permission New York Public Personnel Law
Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Education Law, First Amendment | Permalink


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