by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 1st 2010 4:46am
We've been seeing more and more stories like this, as various schools seem to overstep the boundaries of school property into the online world to try to regulate student speech. It's highly questionable as to whether or not they have the legal right to do so (and, in fact, there are cases that suggest that there's a significant limit to how much schools can even prevent students from speaking out while on campus as well). This latest case, sent in by reader Keyop, highlights a high school in Syracuse that gave detention to a group of students who had joined a Facebook group that made fun of a teacher. The school claims that the page about the group was derogatory and libelous. Even if we accept that's true, this seems to step over the line in a variety of ways. First, students always make fun of teachers they don't like. It's part of being in high school. Pretending you can stop that isn't going to change the human nature of teenagers. Second, even if the content is libelous, at most, shouldn't the detention have only been given to those who actually posted the libelous information, rather than to everyone who became a "fan" or "member" of the group?
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