Court: Bullying video is free speech

A student who posted a nasty video about a classmate can’t be suspended for bullying, ruled a US District Court judge.

A Beverly Hills girl posted a video calling another girl “spoiled,” a “brat” and a “slut.”  The victim complained to a school counselor.

Judge Stephen Wilson wrote in his judgment: “To allow the school to cast this wide a net and suspend a student simply because another student takes offence to their speech, without any evidence that such speech caused a substantial disruption of the school’s activities, runs afoul [of the law].

“If all cruel teasing led to suicide, the human race would be extinct,” said blogger Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor.

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Comments

  1. The court ruled correctly. Schools should not be disciplining students for activities that take place outside of school or related activities.

  2. Agree with Darren. You can’t make being a jerk illegal.

  3. Is it slander or defamation, though? Posting a video on a public site would be publishing.

  4. Michael E. Lopez says:

    CAVEAT: I am licensed to practice in California, but this comment represents my un-researched, off-the-cuff opinion and should not be relied upon in any way other than for discussion on this blog.

    Right off the top of my head, I’m pretty sure there’s a strong case when you publish something calling a woman a “slut”. I’m reminded of something from law school…. slander per se, I think it was called. It’s right up there with saying someone has a loathesome disease.

    Less of a case for “brat” or “spoiled”.

    Of course, truth is a defense in every case… and one might query whether a young girl apparently already traumatized by exposure really wants to press a case where her sexual morality will be at explicitly at issue.

    I sure as hell would counsel her not to sue.

  5. I’d sure as hell would sue the kid who posted this crap and her idiot parents for say 100 grand or so so (libel/slander/defamation of character). When they win in a court of law (since i’d imagine it would be pretty hard for the kid who posted such garbage to actually PROVE any of what she is saying) then you garnish the parents wages, lien their house, and screw up their credit rating.

    Then we’ll see who gets the last laugh (i’d be willing to bet it won’t be the kid who posted the crap).

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Dan Nosowitz wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptA student who posted a nasty video about a classmate can’t be suspended for bullying, ruled a US District Court judge. A Beverly Hills girl posted a video calling another girl “spoiled,” a “brat” and a “slut.” The victim complained to a … [...]