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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Facebook free speech wins the day for former Broward charter school student



Back in 2007, Katie Evans wrote on her Facebook page that her Pembroke Pines Charter High School teacher was "the worst teacher I've ever met." Her principal accused Evans of cyber-bullying against the teacher and suspended the girl for three days.

Evans sued with the help of the ACLU. And in late December she won a settlement of lawyer fees, $1 in damages and the elimination of the suspension from her permanent record.

"I think Katie is very happy her First Amendment rights were vindicated and the school did the right thing," one of her lawyers told the Sun-Sentinel (via the Miami Herald).

But not all schools are likely to be similarly enthusiastic. Already we hear plenty from teachers who feel they have no good defense to abusive students, making already tough jobs even harder. So don't look for this issue to end here. Other like cases are pending in Pennsylvania, and they're being carefully watched.

"The incidents of students who are doing this are on the rise, and school districts are at a loss to respond," San Diego-based schools attorney Erika Anderson told the paper. "We are walking on eggshells."

[Last modified: Monday, January 3, 2011 6:18am]


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