A Tennessee excessive schooler who was suspended for posting social media memes poking enjoyable at his principal is suing the district for violating his free speech — claiming he was punished as revenge by an embarrassed and “thin-skinned” administrator.
The 17-year-old — who is simply recognized by his initials “IP” — filed the federal lawsuit within the Eastern District of Tennessee Winchester Division final week, almost a 12 months after being suspended for 3 days from the Tullahoma High School campus, roughly 75 miles southeast of Nashville.
“This case is a couple of thin-skinned highschool principal defying the First Amendment and suspending a scholar for lampooning the principal on the scholar’s Instagram web page although the posts brought on no disruption at college,” states the 48-page lawsuit, which additionally named the principal and assistant principal.
The rising senior had shared all three footage of Principal Jason Quick to his Instagram story between May and August of final 12 months exterior of faculty hours and off faculty grounds, the swimsuit claims.
One of the photographs, which IP reposted quite than created, is of the typically-serious Quick making an unflattering, foolish face and holding a field of vegatables and fruits — that was initially posted to Quick’s personal account — with the textual content “My brotha” and “like a sister however not a sister <33.”
Another depicts Quick as an anime cat with cat ears and whiskers carrying a costume, whereas a 3rd reveals the principal superimposed on a hand-drawn cartoon character hugging Mordecai, a personality from the present “Regular Show.”
IP claims he had meant for the photographs to be “tongue-in-cheek commentary satirizing a college administrator” that was deeply unappreciated by Quick.
Quick and Assistant Principal Crutchfield reportedly slapped IP with a five-day, out-of-school suspension after leaning on a Tullahoma City Schools district coverage prohibiting college students from posting photos on social media “ensuing within the embarrassment, demeaning, or discrediting of any scholar or employees.”
The directors additionally relied on a obscure, unregulated coverage that daunts college students from taking part in social media exercise that’s “unbecoming of a Wildcat,” IP’s attorneys at The Fire agency stated in an announcement.
“Here, Quick tried to make sure college students couldn’t satirize him ‘in any respect,’” the lawsuit states.
“Quick’s standing as I.P.’s Principal doesn’t permit him to override I.P.’s First Amendment rights. I.P. brings this lawsuit to guard the core First Amendment proper of Tullahoma college students to precise themselves and satirize these in energy.”
IP — who was being handled for medical melancholy and nervousness — suffered a panic assault in entrance of his directors as they handed down the punishment, which IP apprehensive would irreversibly have an effect on his educational profession.
The scholar’s five-day sentence was later diminished to 3 days, which can be the varsity’s punishment for a fistfight, his attorneys identified.
According to his attorneys, IP was an in any other case stellar scholar that was undeserving of a disproportionate punishment — he boasted a 3.4 GPA, performed the trombone within the faculty band and was the Senior Patrol Leader of his Boy Scout Troop on the time of his suspension.
“I.P.’s accidents are ongoing as a result of Defendants’ suspension is a part of I.P.’s everlasting report and can doubtless impair I.P.’s skill to obtain scholarships and achieve admission to prime schools and universities as a result of faculties assess candidates’ educational and disciplinary data,” based on the lawsuit.
IP’s attorneys cited the 2021 case wherein the US Supreme Court sided with a highschool scholar — additionally represented by The Fire — that had been kicked off her cheerleading squad for writing “F-k faculty f–ok softball f–ok cheer f–ok the whole lot” on her personal Snapchat story.
The court docket dominated that except a scholar’s off-campus expression causes “a considerable disruption” at college, the job of policing their speech belongs to oldsters, not the federal government.
“The First Amendment bars public faculty staff from appearing as a round the clock board of censors over scholar expression,” IP’s lawsuit states.
Tullahoma City Schools didn’t instantly reply to The Post’s request for remark.