Published June 13, 2011
PHILADELPHIA – A divided federal appeals court says two Pennsylvania teens cannot be disciplined at school for MySpace parodies of their principals created offsite.
The majority of 3rd U.S. Circuit judges say the postings are protected under previous Supreme Court case law on student speech.
The judges say the parodies do not fit the exceptions, which include lewd language or the likelihood they would cause significant disruptions at school.
The case involves the Blue Mountain School District in eastern Pennsylvania and the Hermitage School District in western Pennsylvania.
Eight of 14 judges ruled with the majority on Monday. The court heard oral arguments last year after issuing conflicting rulings in the two cases.
The American Civil Liberties Union says school officials infringe on student speech when they reach beyond school grounds to impose discipline.