FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit found three essays which a Cook County high school student wrote in a creative writing class to be a "true threat" and not protected speech under the First Amendment. The essays depicted the murder of a teacher by a student who had been expelled, and his subsequent suicide. They contained references to the Columbine killings. The essays were turned over to the poice and the student was examined by a psychiatrist but found not to be dangerous or mentally ill.
(The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska and South Dakota as well as Minnesota).
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
district court judge ruled that a high school student's rights were violated when the principal of the high school in
had told him to take off a sweatshirt that read "Straight Pride." The judge said the school had failed to show that the shirt could disrupt the educational process.
In 2008, a student at a middle school in Hutchinson, Minnesota sued his school after being barred from wearing a Pro-Life T-shirt. In an out of court settlement, the school agreed to pay attorney fees and $1 in damages.
In the early 1990s, Katy Lyle was awarded a $15,000 settlement for "alleged mental anguish and suffering" brought on by the refusal of school officials at
to deal with graffiti aimed at her in the boys' bathroom. The sexually-explicit graffiti, which fueled incessant taunts, remained on the walls for 18 months despite more than 15 complaints by her mother to the school. The bathroom was finally scrubbed clean by her brother on a visit home from college.
In 2005, two members of Straights and Gays for Equality (SAGE) at Maple Grove Senior High sued the Osseo School District, claiming that the group was entitled to the same means of advertising their meetings to the student body as other school groups that are "noncurricular." A federal district court judge ruled in the students' favor and the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit refused to hear an appeal by the school district. In September 2007 the same district court judge ruled that the school must give the group the same access for meetings, communicating with fellow students and other rights as that enjoyed by student groups whose activities are related to the school's curriculum ("curricular"). They should, for example, be able to post posters in the halls and use the school's pubic address system. In August 2008, the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed this ruling.