A Tennessee highschool scholar has filed a First Modification lawsuit towards their college district after being suspended for posting memes of the principal throughout non-school hours.
The 17-year-old senior, recognized solely as “I.P.” in court docket filings, is suing Tullahoma Metropolis Colleges.
Final August, the scholar was referred to as to the workplace for making memes of Tullahoma Excessive Faculty Principal Jason Fast and posting them to their Instagram account over summer time break and at their residence after the second day of college.
The photographs function the principal holding a field of greens, dressed as an anime cat lady, and with a cartoon chicken from the “Common Present” clinging to his leg.
Finally, the scholar was suspended for 3 days. The college official cited a rule towards college students posting pictures supposed to “embarrass, demean or discredit any scholar or employees.”
“It has been a part of American tradition for the reason that founding to criticize and satirize these in energy,” Conor Fitzpatrick, an legal professional with the Basis for Particular person Rights and Expression (FIRE), instructed Fox Information. “It teaches a really harmful lesson to youngsters about what America and our Structure is about in the event that they’re taught from a younger age that in the event that they criticize or satirize any individual in energy that they’ll get in hassle for it.”
Fitzpatrick mentioned the memes have been innocent and mocked the principal’s overly severe demeanor.
“The memes have been very tame,” Fitzpatrick mentioned. “They didn’t threaten anybody. They didn’t comprise any dangerous phrases. However what they did do is poke enjoyable on the principal’s overly severe nature.”
The lawsuit says, “the First Modification bars public college staff from performing as a round the clock board of censors over scholar expression. The Supreme Courtroom has been clear: Except a scholar’s off-campus expression causes a considerable disruption in school, the job of policing their speech falls to folks, not the federal government.”
“Right here, Fast tried to make sure college students couldn’t satirize him ‘in any respect,’” the lawsuit continues. “However I.P., like each American, has a First Modification proper to satirize or criticize authorities officers with out concern of retribution as long as he does so in a method that doesn’t considerably disrupt or threaten to considerably disrupt college.”