The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit yesterday “on behalf of a former Pembroke Pines Charter High School student Katherine Evans” according to the Associated Press. The reason? Katherine was suspended for criticizing her teacher on Facebook and now would like to have that suspension removed from her record. The ACLU is claiming that the principal of the high school “violated her First Amendment rights” and I would have to agree.
I once told a teacher that she was the worst teacher I ever had. While it didn’t result in a good grade in her class, it also didn’t result in a suspension. Katherine Evans also was “pulled from her advanced placement classes” and forced into “lesser-weighted honors classes” according to Akilah Johnson. My guess is that the case will be settled pretty quickly as the ACLU has a strong position.
There have been numerous reports about students getting in trouble for their activity on Facebook. Teachers (as well as employees outside of education) have also been fired or punished for their activity on Facebook. While Katherine Evans may have been unjustly punished for her activity on Facebook, many engage in inappropriate behavior on the site which results in job loss, the end of relationships, and other negative side effects.