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New York: Student speech rights set back by federal appeals court ruling against high school blogger

A New York federal appeals court delivered a double whammy to student free speech rights in ruling that a high school administration could punish Avery Doninger for statements in her off-campus blog and subsequently for wearing a “Team Avery” T-shirt at a school assembly to protest the earlier punishment.

The ruling focused on the issue of “qualified immunity”, that government officials cannot be held liable for damages even if they violate the law if the law was not “clearly establish” by a factually similar judicial decision. The appeals court did not address whether the students’ free speech rights were violated. -db

From a press release from the Student Press Law Center, April 25, 2011.

Full release

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