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Opening Statement:

Hello and good morning, esteemed members of the jury, and of course, the honorable
Judge Cullen. My name is Nate Bodner, and I am here to speak in defense of the actions of the
Missoula County School Board. We believe that the Missoula County School Board had the right
to suspend Principal Jane Bennett, of Willard Alternative High School, for her failure to stop the
publication of a profane, disruptive, and crude newspaper article. This case, that I am here to
argue today is a case simply about following the rules. I am not going to try and sway you with
cute rhymes and alliteration. Following the rules. It is a simple theme, for what we believe to be
a straightforward case. Follow the rules, and no one gets hurt.
The groundwork for this case was laid in January 2016 when the students journalists of
the Willard Wire submit a copy of the paper to be reviewed by Principal Bennett, as they always
do prior to a publication day. As usual, Principal Bennett skims over the paper, then gives the
journalism teacher, Lisa Waller, the OK to print it, without reviewing articles individually, or
taking notice of the content of any articles. Soon after, special free the nipple articles are sent
out with the rest of the paper to hundreds and hundreds of children. Not only does every student
in the school get a copy, but every business that the staff sold advertisement space to gets one,
too. Many hundreds of people outside of the high school are exposed to the incredible profanity
and vulgar images in the paper. It did not take long for angry complaints from concerned parents
to come flooding in, not only to the school, but the School Board. After a lengthy discussion by
the School Board, Principal Bennett was given a three day suspension without pay, which she
served in early February. This punishment was given for her failure to censor the article, which
she had the power and authority to do. Bennett then tries to file an appeal to the Board of
Trustees of Missoula County Public Schools on Feb. 22. And that, ladies and gentlemen of the
jury, is where we stand.
We have five witnesses that are set to be questioned in front of you today.
First is Expert witness Elizabeth Kaleva, a Legal Consultant to the Missoula
County School Board, advises them on their decisions regarding school policy.
Second is John Smith, a concerned father of a freshman at Willard. Both him and
his child were affected by the free the nipple editorial.
Third is Diane Lorenzen, an influential board member of Missoula County
Schools. Shes been on the board since 2013 and in fact lived in Missoula County her
entire life
Fourth is Ms. Morgan Freeman, a Social Studies teacher at Willard. She provides
an inside look at the effect of this newspaper in the classroom
Finally, Expert witness Eugene Volokh, a professor who teaches free speech law
at UCLA, and will give us an in-depth look at the court cases surrounding student press
law.
All witnesses brought to the stand today posses hard evidence pointing at Jane Bennett as the
culprit in the free the nipple incident.
At the end of the day, what we hope to have proven to you all, members of the jury, is
that the Missoula County School Board's suspension of Principal Bennett is appropriate, and

completely legal under district law. I feel that at the end of this case, it will be impossible to
ignore the facts. The article, entitled Free the nipple was profane by the definition of the
School Board and It did violate district policy. So, the definition of profanity is NOT subjective
in this instance.
These are facts. They are not in question. District Policy defines it very clearly. Principal
Bennett had the authority and the opportunity to stop this article from ever being run in the paper
and completely neglected to do so. That is also a fact. And as a principal, it is Jane Bennetts duty
to uphold the laws and policies of the County in which she is employed, whether she wants to or
not. That day in January Principal Bennett decided not to follow these rules, and she was dealt a
fair punishment, at least fair in the eyes of the school board. And so, today, in this very
courtroom, you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, get to decide whether or not someone should
receive a punishment for breaking the rules. Especially rules they promised to uphold.