Cyberbullying or free speech?

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear three cases involving students suspended for malicious online comments.

School boards and principals had hoped for guidance on the clash between free speech and civility, reports the LA Times.

A middle school principal in northeastern Pennsylvania was shocked to see his photo online along with a description of him as a “hairy sex addict” and a “pervert” who liked “hitting on students” in his office.

A high school principal north of Pittsburgh saw a MySpace profile of himself that called him a “big fag,” a “whore” and a drug user.

And in West Virginia, a school principal found out that a girl had created an online site to maliciously mock another girl as a “slut” with herpes.

All three students were suspended and filed suit, claiming their free speech rights had been abridged. The two students who charged their principals with misconduct won in the lower courts. The girl who mocked a classmate lost.