Three teenage students suspended for calling a teacher a pedophile on the social networking site Facebook.com have settled their lawsuits with the Three Rivers School District in Cincinnati.
The students received 90-day school suspensions for posting a picture of a teacher on the Internet web site and identifying him as a member of the North American Man/Boy Love Association.
In their lawsuit, the boys argued their posting was protected speech because it was a parody. They served 10-day suspensions before a federal judge ordered the district to readmit them. The settlement agreement included an apology from the students and community service, in addition to other undisclosed terms.
Ohio law gives school boards the right to discipline students for harmful out-of-school conduct directed at school employees.
Note: Facebook, MySpace and other social networking web sites have created a whole new arena for harassment. And not just school kids use those sites. Employers have a right to hold employees responsible for their off-duty, online postings if they use them to harass co-workers or customers.