Magazine article Techniques

Courts Uphold Internet Free Speech

Magazine article Techniques

Courts Uphold Internet Free Speech

Article excerpt

Recent rulings in Missouri and California have set an important precedent for free speech on the Web and generated intense scrutiny on public Internet access and student use.

In Missouri, the U.S. District Court ruled that a high school student who posted a personal Web site containing vulgar language and criticizing his school's official site cannot be suspended by the Woodland School District in Marble Hill. The school district had suspended Brandon Beussink because his site was "causing a disruption," contained "profanity and slanderous speech" and was linked to the school's site.

U.S. District Court Judge Rodney Sippel noted that a personal Web site expressing one's own views cannot be curbed by the school. "Dislike or being upset by the content of a student's speech is not an acceptable justification for limiting student speech," Sippel said in court reports.

In California, an Alameda County Superior Court judge dismissed a suit against a public library for providing children access to the Internet without filters to screen out pornography. The suit was brought against the city of Livermore by the mother of a 12-year-old boy who accused the Livermore Public Library of providing unrestricted access to pornography on the Internet. …

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