Federal court rules punishment for off-campus web site unconstitutional

On Feb. 18 a Federal court ruled suspensions given to two students, in August 2004, for comments made in an off-campus strip was unconstitutional. The ruling was in response to a suit by the two senior students attending Greenwood High School in Arkansas.

U.S. District Court Judge Jimm Hendren ruled that the postings on Neal and Kuhl’s Web are protected under the First Amendment [and] that under the standard created by the Supreme Court’s decision in the 1969 case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, Greenwood school officials did not have permission to regulate the students’ content.

The ruling goes further to say that under this standard it was the school’s investigation into their website which caused the disruption which officials claim was the reason for the suspension. For those who are aware of the nature of Neal’s strip you can understand how this ruling and others like it pretty much clear comics online to be about anything and say anything. Web comics are simply not restricted like their cousins in the print world.

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