Thought the "rubber rooms" where New York City teachers were sent to wait for disciplinary hearings were closed? Not so much. [more inside]
An anonymous, tenured, mid-career faculty member at a Tier One law school shares his/her observations on the state of contemporary American legal education.
Though President Obama has signed no laws since taking office that prohibit gun purchases and ownership, that hasn't stopped permit applications and weapons sales in the United States from rising through the roof and worried state legislators from passing laws they wouldn't otherwise pass, which greatly ease access and allow carrying weapons in, among other public areas, city, state and national parks. Schools may have to get their kids prepared.
From the guy who brought you the Whitewater scandal and the impeachment of President Clinton for lying about oval antics in the Oral Office, a legal push to make the Supreme Court just say no to "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." Ken Starr's petition to the Court [PDF] makes clear that Starr believes this is no laughing matter, but a chance for the Court to make a landmark ruling that will give school adminstrators the power to limit student speech: "This case presents the Court with a much-needed opportunity to resolve a sharp conflict among federal courts (and to eliminate confusion on the part of school boards, administrators, teachers, and students) over whether the First Amendment permits regulation of student speech when such speech is advocating or making light of illegal substances."
The Ninth Circuit (maligned by many as a hotbed of extreme liberal judicial activism, but defended by others PDF) issued its opinion in the case of Harper v. Poway Unified School District last week. Judge Stephen Reinhardt - who, to some people, embodies the alleged evils of the Ninth Circuit - issued the majority opinion, and Judge Alex Kozinski filed a strong dissent. The majority opinion held that a high school principal who ordered a student to remove his T-shirt that said "Homosexuality is Shameful" did not violate the student's First Amendment rights, reasoning that "limitations on speech" are permissible in cases where speech is "derogatory and injurious remarks directed at students' minority status such as race religion and sexual orientation," and the limitation is "narrow, and applied with sensitivity and for reasons that are consistent with the fundamental First Amendment mandate." [more inside]
"We just want to provide a safe environment where the students can thrive." Cussing at school can get you ticketed and/or sent to juvenile hall now. Student free speech rights at risk? Tinker vs. Des Moines all over again?