Students First Amendment

News & Analysis as of

National Anthem Protests: How Should Schools, Colleges, And Universities Respond?

It’s the night of the big game. Parents, students, and fans fill the stands. The marching band takes the field, but as the band begins to play the national anthem, the football team’s star player drops to one knee – similar...more

Back to School: NLRB Takes Aim at Colleges and Universities

Seyfarth Synopsis: The National Labor Relations Board issued three important decisions this week that will significantly impact private colleges and universities....more

North Carolina Cyberbullying statute struck down as unconstitutional

On February 9, 2012, Robert Bishop was arrested and charged with one count of cyberbullying under the North Carolina Cyberbullying statute, which states that it is “unlawful for any person to use a computer or computer...more

Teacher’s Verbal Abuse of Student Does Not Rise to “Conscious-Shocking” Level Necessary to Support Due Process Claim

L.H. and C.H. v. Pittston Area Sch. Dist., 130 F. Supp. 3d 918 (M.D. Pa 2015) (Decided September 10, 2015). The District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania determined that verbal abuse by a teacher, by itself,...more

North Carolina Supreme Court Strikes Down Cyberbullying Statute On Free Speech Grounds

In State v. Bishop (June 10, 2016), the Supreme Court of North Carolina reversed a unanimous panel of the Court of Appeals and struck down the state’s cyberbullying statute, N.C.G.S. § 14-458.1 as unconstitutional....more

School Restriction on Decorating Graduation Cap Upheld

It is graduation season and issues concerning graduation conduct and dress come to the forefront during this time of the year. A recent decision by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma...more

Anti-SLAPP Statute Raised in Planned Parenthood Protest Lawsuit

The DC anti-SLAPP statute has been invoked in a Superior Court lawsuit in which plaintiffs arguing that students need to be free from disruptions in the school environment are facing off against anti-abortion protestors....more

Don’t Shoot the Messenger—Student Art Removed, First Amendment Notwithstanding

Last fall we had occasion to address the extent to which public displays of art and attempts at controlling the content of them can run afoul of the First Amendment. In that case, public outrage at artwork submitted by...more

Supreme Court Refuses to Provide Clarity on Discipline for Off-Campus, Online Student Speech

The Supreme Court has a lot to worry about these days, like a year plus of finding out first hand what can happen (or not happen) to your ability to make precedent when you have a 4-4 deadlock on the Court. So its recent...more

See You In Court - April 2015

The almost-interminable winter was finally over, and Peter Principal saw a significant uptick in the number of suspensions for offenses ranging from horseplay to assault. To make things worse, many of the students had their...more

Can Public Schools Ban “I Can’t Breathe” T-Shirts?

Citing safety concerns, Fort Bragg High School, a public high school located in Mendocino County CA, decided on December 26, 2014 to ban athletes from wearing t-shirts with the slogan “I Can’t Breathe” – the words uttered by...more

Court of Appeals Holds That Student Safety Concerns Outweighed Teachers’ Picketing Rights

On May 6, 2014, in Santer v. Board of Education of East Meadow Union Free School District, the New York Court of Appeals held that a school district did not violate the First Amendment by disciplining teachers who...more

California Federal Court Finds that the First Amendment Does Not Preclude Sporting Event Participants from Asserting...

On April 11, 2014, a California federal court issued a First Amendment ruling that has potentially significant implications for broadcasters in the sports-media industry. Specifically, the Northern District of California’s...more

California Federal Court Finds that the First Amendment Does Not Preclude Sporting Event Participants from Asserting...

On April 11, 2014, a California federal court issued a First Amendment ruling that has potentially significant implications for broadcasters in the sports-media industry. Specifically, the Northern District of California’s...more

NCAA’s Battle Continues in the Fight Over Who Should Pay for the Use of Student-Athlete Likenesses

Since 2009, former student-athletes have been litigating the issue of whether the apparent commodification of student-athlete likenesses in video games entitles the athletes to compensation. Defendants in these lawsuits...more

Balancing Freedom Of Expression And The Right Of Publicity: Implications For The Future Of Interactive Entertainment

Freedom of expression bowed to the right of publicity on July 31, 2013, when a divided panel at the Ninth Circuit ruled that college athletes could proceed in litigation against Electronic Arts (“EA”) for making sports-based...more

Seventh Circuit Dismisses Lawsuit Against Guidance Counselor For Defamation

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the highest federal court with jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, recently rejected a claim by a parent that a school guidance counselor’s statement to his...more

Ninth Circuit Fumbles The Ball In Videogame Likeness Cases

Creating a new rule that gives videogames much more limited protection than other expressive works, the Ninth Circuit has ruled that realistically depicting college athletes in videogames showing them doing what they became...more

Ninth Circuit Says Schools May Discipline Students Whose Off-Campus Speech Threaten Classmates

Ruling Strengthens Ability of School Districts to Suspend and Expel Students to Protect Students and Staff - Recognizing the increasing difficulties school administrators face in evaluating potential threats of...more

Can Schools Prohibit “I ♡ Boobies” Bracelets . . . Or Not?

This month, two courts issued dramatically different opinions about whether school districts can prohibit breast cancer awareness bracelets reading “I ? boobies” without running afoul of students’ First Amendment free speech...more

Setting the Record Straight on the DMCA: UK Blogger Censored by Questionable Use of US Copyright Law

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is sometimes criticized for creating more problems than it solves. Section 512 of the DMCA provides a mechanism for copyright owners to demand that Internet Service Providers...more

Litigation Alert: Ninth Circuit Assesses Use of Player Likenesses in Video Games

On Wednesday, July 31, 2013, the Ninth Circuit issued two opinions assessing the parameters of use of individual player likenesses in video games in two highly watched cases...more

Hitler A Part Of The Justice League?

As part of a long-standing tradition, freshman art students at Thailand’s premier Chulalongkorn University designed a mural for the graduating class....more

#Edchat Followup: Legal Issues For BYOD And 1:1 Programs In Schools

Each Tuesday the #Edchat hashtag brings together educators from across the globe to discuss education-related topics on Twitter. Last week one of the questions on #Edchat was “How do we train educators to teach in programs...more

Elvis Presley Song Lyrics Causing Trouble In 2013?

Elvis Presley certainly stirred up controversy in the 1950s but who would have thought that his songs would create an uproar in 2013. A Utah school district nearly canceled a production of “All Shook Up” after finding that...more

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