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Katherine Evans - Free Speech In Public Schools


Back in late 2007, the 18-year-old Evans, studying in Pembroke Pines Charter High School in Florida, had created a Facebook page to give vent to her annoyance against her English teacher.Way back in 2007, Katherine Evans created a Facebook page titled "Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I've ever met." That little act of defiance set into motion a lawsuit after the high schooler was suspended from school for three days and removed from all of her advanced placement courses and put into regular clases.

Evans, now 19 and in college, has been granted a case in Florida against her school and principal. Though Evans' page posting was met with animosity from three fellow students who defended the teacher whose abilities were in question, which prompted her to take it down soon after, Evans' case has met with support across the internet, as this case is seen as important to internet users and lawmakers in the U.S. Magistrate Barry Garber wrote of the case, "Evans' speech falls under the wide umbrella of protected speech....

It was an opinion of a student about a teacher, that was published off-campus ... was not lewd, vulgar, threatening, or advocating illegal or dangerous behavior.

The American Civil Liberties Union has also gotten in on the case, with ACLU attorney Matthew Bavaro telling CNN, "The First Amendment provides protection for free speech regardless of the forum, being the Internet, the living room or a restaurant." He is representing Evans and says that they are seeking to have the court remove all record of her suspension and declare the actions taken by Principal Peter Bayer to be invalid.

Neither Bayer nor his attorney were willing to return CNN's requests for comment. Meanwhile, students across America can sigh in relief knowing that, even though the American government might not agree with your statement that "'Stacy Smith' is a huge slut," they will most certainly defend your right to say so!

 


 

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