The ACLU has brought suit in federal court against the Hermitage, PA, school district on behalf of Justin Layshock, a 17-year-old senior at Hickory High School. Layshock was suspended for posting a parody of Eric W. Trosch, the school's principal, on myspace.com. Don't bother looking for it; it's been removed.
The school's list of grievances against young Layshock is long:
On Jan. 6, a hearing was held by the school to consider disciplinary action against Justin on charges of disrespect; harassment; gross misbehavior; obscene, vulgar and profane language; and for violating the school's computer policy for using a picture without permission.
At that hearing, the school gave Justin a 10-day, out-of-school suspension and ordered him to finish high school in the Alternative Education Program. He has been told he cannot go to any of his regular classes.
The administration also banned Justin from participating in any school events, including the French tutoring he did for middle school students and attending his own graduation in the spring.
"Is it offensive? Probably. Is it likely to make the principal feel bad? Probably," Justin's lawyer, Witold Walczak, legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said. "But it's done in his own home, and the school has no business, or no authority to punish the student for this."