Student Punished Over After-School Tweets - My9 New Jersey

Student Punished Over After-School Tweets

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A senior at Sterling High School in Somerdale, New Jersey is suing the school after she was punished for her tweets.

On Jan 7, 2014 the student, whose name will be protected since she’s a minor, tweeted some harsh words towards the school’s Principal Mark Napoleon.

“Principal Napoleon is a p***y a** b***h”

The problem is that Principal Napoleon wound up somehow seeing this tweet and along with the superintendent, chastised her at a meeting a few days later resulting in her getting upset and walking out.

Then, in a January 14th letter, the superintendent tells the girl’s mother that they reviewed other tweets, including one like this:

“Who wants to smoke with me before school tomorrow?”

And therefore the district demanded she take a drug test. The district also banned her from prom, the senior trip and graduation.

Mark Tannenbaum is the lawyer representing the student. He said this could be a precedent-setting free-speech case in New Jersey. He feels the school punished her for out-of-school tweets that did not cause any disruption at school and should therefore not be subject to punishment by the school.

“In their letter they didn’t say there was any problem at the school or anything like that, they said because of your tweet, we are demanding a drug test. And I’m saying that’s also a violation of our free speech rights,” he explained.

Tannenbaum says he’s pushing for a judge to reverse the school’s decision to ban her from graduation and prom, as these are quickly approaching and missing out on these once-in-a-lifetime events would cause the senior irreparable harm.

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