Student Webmaster wins $30,000 settlement
A teenager in Cleveland, Ohio brought new meaning to the word, WebMaster. He received a $30,000 payment for agreeing to drop his lawsuit against his school district, which suspended him because of his website. The site said that the school’s band teacher was “an overweight middle-aged man who doesn’t like to get haircuts.” After serving 8 days of the suspension, a judge forced the school to reinstate him. Then he filed a lawsuit, which claimed that the school had violated his First Amendment rights.
Most court cases are settled out of court to avoid lawyer fees and also because one party usually expects to lose the case. In this example, the government knew that it would lose so they paid the student $30,000, after bargaining down from $50,000.
This case proves that you definitely have the right to post comments about your teachers on your personal website. If your school principal tries to suspend you, tell him about the victorious teenager in Cleveland. If he still suspends you are even punishes you, then sue him and the school for violating your right to free speech.
This case also shows you the power of the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects your right to make a sarcastic website and your right to stay out past curfew, if you’re making a political statement. If you’re arrested after curfew while wearing a “Repeal the Curfew” sticker, sue your town and then hope for a settlement or if necessary, a win.