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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Teens Sue High School That Punished Them for Racy MySpace Pics

Two Indiana teenagers have sued their school district after they were punished for posting suggestive photos on MySpace.

The girls, 10th-graders at Churubusco High School in Churubusco, Indiana, say they were humiliated after the school banned them from fall semester extracurricular activities and forced them to apologize to the all-male Athletics Board (composed of varsity coaches). The girls also had to attend three counseling sessions.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed the proposed class-action suit on behalf of the girls and all present and future students at the school who participate or may participate in extracurricular activities. The ACLU argues the district violated the girls’ First Amendment rights and should not have punished them for activities conducted outside school. The suit names the girls’ high school, school district and principal.

According to the complaint, the photos in question were taken at a slumber party (.pdf) that occurred during the summer school break. The girls were photographed “pretending to kiss or lick a large multi-colored lollipop shaped phallus.” Other pictures showed them in lingerie with dollar bills tucked into the underwear.

The girls each posted the pictures to their MySpace pages. Only “friends” could view the photos on their pages. But after someone copied the images, they found their way to the school principal.

According to the school’s student handbook, the principal “may exclude any student-athlete from representing Churubusco High School if his/her conduct in or out of school reflects discredit” upon the school or creates a “disruptive influence on the discipline, good order, moral, or educational environment” at the school.

The ACLU says the photos were meant to be a joke shared among friends and had “no effect on the school whatsoever.” The girls’ self-expression has been curbed as a result of the school’s activity, the suit alleges. They’ve since become afraid to post any photos or otherwise communicate in writing to friends for fear of garnering additional punishment.

The suit seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages. It also seeks a temporary injunction preventing the school from punishing the girls and a permanent injunction to strike any mention of the incident from the girls’ student record and to destroy the counseling reports.


Source : WireNews
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