Tennessee teen suspended for posting ‘tongue-in-cheek’ memes about HS principal sues district

Tennessee teen suspended for posting ‘tongue-in-cheek’ memes about HS principal sues district

A Tennessee excessive schooler who was suspended for posting social media memes poking enjoyable at his principal is suing the district for violating his free speech — claiming he was punished as revenge by an embarrassed and “thin-skinned” administrator.

The 17-year-old — who is just recognized by his initials “IP” — filed the federal lawsuit within the Japanese District of Tennessee Winchester Division final week, almost a 12 months after being suspended for 3 days from the Tullahoma Excessive College campus, roughly 75 miles southeast of Nashville.

“This case is a couple of thin-skinned highschool principal defying the First Modification and suspending a scholar for lampooning the principal on the coed’s Instagram web page although the posts brought about no disruption in school,” states the 48-page lawsuit, which additionally named the principal and assistant principal.

The rising senior had shared all three photos of Principal Jason Fast to his Instagram story between Could and August of final 12 months outdoors of college hours and off faculty grounds, the go well with claims.

One of many photos, which IP reposted relatively than created, is of the typically-serious Fast making an unflattering, foolish face and holding a field of fruit and veggies — that was initially posted to Fast’s personal account — with the textual content “My brotha” and “like a sister however not a sister <33.”

One other depicts Fast as an anime cat with cat ears and whiskers carrying a costume, whereas a 3rd exhibits the principal superimposed on a hand-drawn cartoon character hugging Mordecai, a personality from the present “Common Present.”

A Tennessee scholar posted three unflattering Instagram posts about this principal between Could and August 2022.

IP claims he had meant for the pictures to be “tongue-in-cheek commentary satirizing a college administrator” that was deeply unappreciated by Fast.

Fast and Assistant Principal Crutchfield reportedly slapped IP with a five-day, out-of-school suspension after leaning on a Tullahoma Metropolis Faculties district coverage prohibiting college students from posting photographs on social media “ensuing within the embarrassment, demeaning, or discrediting of any scholar or employees.”

The directors additionally relied on a imprecise, unregulated coverage that daunts college students from collaborating in social media exercise that’s “unbecoming of a Wildcat,” IP’s legal professionals at The Hearth agency mentioned in a press release.

“Right here, Fast tried to make sure college students couldn’t satirize him ‘in any respect,’” the lawsuit states.

“Fast’s standing as I.P.’s Principal doesn’t permit him to override I.P.’s First Modification rights. I.P. brings this lawsuit to guard the core First Modification proper of Tullahoma college students to specific themselves and satirize these in energy.”

Principal Jason Quick
Principal Jason Fast initially suspended the coed for 5 days, however later lowered the sentence to 3.

IP — who was being handled for scientific despair and anxiousness — suffered a panic assault in entrance of his directors as they handed down the punishment, which IP nervous would irreversibly have an effect on his educational profession.

The scholar’s five-day sentence was later lowered to 3 days, which can be the varsity’s punishment for a fistfight, his legal professionals identified.

Based on his legal professionals, IP was an in any other case stellar scholar that was undeserving of a disproportionate punishment — he boasted a 3.4 GPA, performed the trombone within the faculty band and was the Senior Patrol Chief of his Boy Scout Troop on the time of his suspension.

“I.P.’s accidents are ongoing as a result of Defendants’ suspension is a part of I.P.’s everlasting report and can doubtless impair I.P.’s capability to obtain scholarships and acquire admission to high faculties and universities as a result of faculties assess candidates’ educational and disciplinary information,” in line with the lawsuit.

Tullahoma High School
Tullahoma Excessive College has a coverage that daunts college students from collaborating in social media exercise that’s “unbecoming of a Wildcat.”
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IP’s legal professionals cited the 2021 case through which the US Supreme Courtroom sided with a highschool scholar — additionally represented by The Hearth — that had been kicked off her cheerleading squad for writing “F-k faculty f–okay softball f–okay cheer f–okay all the pieces” on her non-public Snapchat story.

The courtroom dominated that until a scholar’s off-campus expression causes “a considerable disruption” in school, the job of policing their speech belongs to oldsters, not the federal government.

“The First Modification bars public faculty workers from appearing as a round the clock board of censors over scholar expression,” IP’s lawsuit states.

Tullahoma Metropolis Faculties didn’t instantly reply to The Submit’s request for remark.

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