Free Doninger!

Avery Doninger, 16, called her administration a bunch of douchbags (sic) on her livejournal. For it, she lost her seat as class secretary and is barred from running again this year. Now her mom is suing:

On April 24, according to the lawsuit, school officials told Doninger and the other student council officers that a “Jamfest” scheduled for April 28 could not be held in the school auditorium because there was not a staff member available to run new equipment. The event is an annual battle of the bands organized by the student council in which local musicians perform for the community, according to the complaint.

Another student council member sent an electronic mail message that day to high school parents and students, encouraging them to call the school board for Region 10, which covers Harwinton and Burlington, to express support for Jamfest. Doninger was among four students to sign that message, but it was drafted and sent by another student, according to the lawsuit.

When Doninger encountered Niehoff in the school hallway, the principal scolded her for the message and said the superintendent was angered by it and that Jamfest might be canceled, the lawsuit says.

Later that night, about 9:25 p.m., Doninger used her personal computer to post the entry on the blog.

“Jamfest is canceled due to the douchbags in central office. Here is an e-mail that we sent out to a ton of people and asked them to forward to everyone in their address book to help get support for Jamfest,” she wrote. “Basically, because we sent it out, Paula Schwartz is getting a TON of phone calls and e-mails and such. We have so much support and we really appreciate it. However, she got pissed off and decided to just cancel the whole thing all [sic] together.”

A few weeks later, on May 17, Doninger went to the school office to accept her nomination for class secretary. Niehoff handed a copy of the blog entry to Doninger and told her to apologize to Schwartz, tell her mother about the blog entry, resign as class secretary and withdraw her candidacy, according to the lawsuit.

Avery said she apologized and told her mother, but would not resign or withdraw. Niehoff then dismissed her from the post and barred her from running for the office, according to the lawsuit.

My goodness. Spellcheck aside, it certainly is problematic to imagine the outcome of this case decision after the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case or how it might, say, affect the future of the internet itself. What would Wesleying be if it lost the right to point out douchebags at will? Blogging is freedom! Calling people douchebags is freedom! We support you, Avery Doninger!

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14 thoughts on “Free Doninger!

  1. 5-4 rulings suck

    ehh…you can’t just say what you want on the interenet, especially in high school. it’s a pretty solid legal tradition that admins can punish high school students for online conduct, especially if that conduct is detrimental to the school atmosphere. I mean, look at what happened with myspace and the like. students were held accountable for comments made on these websites, andin certain cases, even expelled. As a high school student, you really cant say whatever you want online. As much as it seems like it, the first amendment isn’t absolute.

  2. 5-4 rulings suck

    ehh…you can’t just say what you want on the interenet, especially in high school. it’s a pretty solid legal tradition that admins can punish high school students for online conduct, especially if that conduct is detrimental to the school atmosphere. I mean, look at what happened with myspace and the like. students were held accountable for comments made on these websites, andin certain cases, even expelled. As a high school student, you really cant say whatever you want online. As much as it seems like it, the first amendment isn’t absolute.

  3. Anonymous

    She doesn’t go to a private school, she goes to a public school. She should be able to say whatever she wants, but the douche bag school board (and post-bong-hits-for-jesus the douche bags on the US Supreme Court) apparently feel otherwise. At least Wesleyan will never punish anyone for saying Mike Roth’s a cumbucket.

  4. Anonymous

    She doesn’t go to a private school, she goes to a public school.

    She should be able to say whatever she wants, but the douche bag school board (and post-bong-hits-for-jesus the douche bags on the US Supreme Court) apparently feel otherwise.

    At least Wesleyan will never punish anyone for saying Mike Roth’s a cumbucket.

  5. Anonymous

    As much as her administration probably is one huge douche bag, If she goes to a private school, they can do whatever they want to her.If not, she’s got the right to write whatever she wants online, outside of school.

  6. Anonymous

    As much as her administration probably is one huge douche bag, If she goes to a private school, they can do whatever they want to her.

    If not, she’s got the right to write whatever she wants online, outside of school.

  7. Justin

    That’s not a very classy thing to say. Especially when she’s supposed to be in a position of some standing, and would presumably have to work with these people in the future. Bad move, Labels.

  8. Justin

    That’s not a very classy thing to say. Especially when she’s supposed to be in a position of some standing, and would presumably have to work with these people in the future. Bad move, Labels.

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