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Barbieri Letter

Barbieri Letter

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Published by BostonMagazine
ACLU Letter
ACLU Letter

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Published by: BostonMagazine on Feb 13, 2014
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Sarah Wunsch, Staff AttorneyACLU Foundation f Massachusetts211 Congress Street, Boston, Massachusetts 2110Phone: 617-482-3170. xt. 323 Fax: 617-451-0009emai : swu nsch@acl m.orgliebruary 10. 2014
I}Y }JMAII,Mr. Scott Iolcomb, Principal SI olcombfrD,Naschools.nctMs. Lee Annc 'odd" Asst. Principal I.A'l'odd(r)naschools.nclNorth Attlcborough ligh SchoolI Wilson W. Whitty WayNorth Attlcboroush. MA 02760Rc: Nick IlarbicriDcar Mr. Ilolcomb and Ms. l'odd:I am writing on bchalf of Nick llarbicri. an 1 B ycar old scnior t your school. Youradrninistration as disciplincd ick for posting twcct. ronr outsidc 1'school. hal c-twectcd nc'rticc f schooi anccllation long with thc addition f a ine o1- ommcnl outaining nccrplctivc n common sagc. lccausc ick's spcech as cxprcssion rotcctcd y thc ItirstAmcndmcnt o thc j.S. Constitution s wcll as by thc Massachusctts tuclcnt rrccdottr flixpression ct. G.t.. c.lI,S\ 82, am askingthatyor-rrcscindthc lisciplinc. clnovc t fiontNick's ccord. nd cnsurc hat school mployccs ndcrstand hc mportaut icc spccch rinciplcsthat you arc chargcd with teaching tudcnts bout by word and decd.'l'hc facts as undcrstand hem arc as bllows. Ms. l'odd callcd Nick at homc on Ircbruary5. 2014 and dcmandcd hat hc rcmovc a tweet rom his trvittcr si1c. l'hc off-cnding w-cct was arctwect o1 a school wcct annolurcing no school omorrow scc you in .lunc ". although withthe addition f thc inc "liuck olf liscniorsl/nomakeupl/chirpchirp." ick imurcdiatcly crnovcdthe ol nding wect. although c bclicved hat Ms.'l'odd's demar-rd iolatcd his right o liccdornof spccch.Whcn hc rcturncd o school on Iicbru ry 7 ^ Nick w'as nllcd out o1'class hrcc in-rcs hatday br discussions bout hc twcct and his punishment. Ic was givctt at oudltct cf'crralcl-rarging inr with "lnappro lang/comlncllt" ith thc ocation l-thc ncidcnt cscribcd s"Outsidc". l'hc dcscription f thc ollcnding onduct was Nick twcctcd r4\orthlligltl "lrr-rck
Ms.'l'odd nlirrmcdNick hat hc could cccive llvc day out-o1--schclol uspcnsion l-hcdid not cooperatc nd shc also ccluircd im to dclctc hrcc othcr wccts hat containcd oprofanity ut only mcnlioncd hc school's csporlse o his lvcct. In thc cnd. Nick r,vas ivcn wothrce-hour elenlions o bc scrvcd'l'r-rcsday nd'l'hursda,v ltcr school his wcck. lc was pr-rllcdout of class or a lburth ime today or a further discussion f this mattcr atrd qucstioncd boutthc possible nvolvcmcnt l'thc ACLIJ o1-Massachusctts n his behall.
Mr. Scott lolcomb, PrincipalMs. I-ce Anne fodd. Asst. PrincipalIiebruary 0. 201 Pagc Rc: Nick llarbicriI am writing o request hat hcse wo detentions e dclayccl cnding our rcsolution lthclegal ssucs nvolvcd. Schools lficials imply do not have hc authority. onsistcnt vith he rirslAmcndment, o pr-rnish tudents or their spccch utside f school. vcn f it rclates o the school.Without vidcncc f a substantial isruption l school. ot prcsent crc. hc adntinistration lla)'not awlr-rlly isciplinc studcnt ccausc t docs not approvc l'his spccch.Our willingncss o dcl'cr o thc schoolmaster's xpcrlisc r"r clministcring chtloldisciplinc csts" n largc mcasurc. pon hc supposition hat hc artn of authority lclcs otreach eyond hc schoolhouse atc. Whcn an cducator ccks o crtcnd his dominionbeyond hcse or-rnds. hcrcforc. c must answcrto hc salrc cctnstitutional omntaudsthat bind all othcr nstitutions f govcrnmcnt.'l'horna.s v. Jourcl .f-l,.duculion, ranville Cenlrul School Dislricl. 601 t 2d 1043. 1044-1045Qnd Cir. 1979). See lso leussinkv. Woodlund -IL'school Dis'tric't" 0 F.Supp. d 1175 11.1).Mo. i 998) granting reliminary njunction gainst uspension 1'studcnt irr crudc. vulgarlanguagc oncerning hc school on Intcrnet web pagc crcatcd t homc on his owtl computcrcltrringncln-school ours); Killionv. I"ranklin Regionul c'hool islric'l. 36 F. Supp.2d 446.456-57(W.D. cnn. 001) "lcwd and obsccne pcech ccurring ff school rottuds" vithoutcxtraordinary ircumstances anuot c punished y school l-llcials).Assuming hat hc erw ovcrning tudcnt pccch n school pplics crc and uot hcgrcatcr rotcctions iom govcrnnrcnt cnsorship or any pcrson's pccch utsidc l-a school).'|inker v. )es Moine.y nd. ,\c:hool isl., 393 .J.S. 03 (1969) and hc statc studcnt iccdon-r 1'exprcssion tatutc rovidc hat students n thc public schools may not bc punishcd br thcirspeech nless t matcriall.v nd substantially isrupts he school. Sce P1'le . School )omm. 4-5.Ilttdley,.423 ass. 83 1996) non-disruptivc ulgar pccch n school rotcctccl ndcr statcstatutc ven f not protcctecl y ltirst Arncndmcnt). t would bc impropcr o imposc anypr-urishmcnt n Nick bccausc is tweet did not matcrially and substantiaily isrupt hc school.'l'hc only disruption hat occurrcd erc was he disruptiou l'\ick's cdttcation. auscd y schooladministrators avins, im lcavc class our imes.While school ol-llcials avc a right o control hc conducl of studcnts n class ancl t othcrschool ctivities. hey cernnot ossibly unish ccnagcrs br thcir pcrsonal onvcrsations ndcorrlntcnts bout hc chool. specially utsidc f school. t is cluitc imply'' tinclboggling ocontcmplatc chools n-rposing iscipline or every usc of a swcar ",ord r-r clation o thc schoolthat a young pcrson osts n iaccbook. I'wittcr" or other ocial rccliat. imply bccausc ocialmcdia may makc hcsc omrlcnts morc widely availablc ocs uot chaugc hc basic ulcsprotccting hc ft'ccdom f'specch 1- tudcnts utsidc f school.'l'his is onc ol'thosc nstanccs ,vhcrc n apology o a studcnt s u,arrautccl. ick is atrcrccllcnt tudcnt n thrcc A.P. classcs. l'his is the 1'trs1 imc hc -ras ccn clisciplincd br anything,and his understanding f liccdom of spcech s corrcct. Ccrlainly. chool adrtrinistrators ud

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