Katherine Evans was fed up with her high school English teacher. “To those select students who have had the displeasure of having Ms. Sarah Phelps, or simply knowing her and her insane antics: Here is the place to express your feelings of hatred,” she wrote on her Facebook page, according to the New York Times. Two months later, the honors student received a three-day suspension for cyberbullying.
Now a freshman at the University of Florida, Evans is suing the principal of Pembroke Pines Charter High School for infringing on her freedom of speech. She is requesting compensation for her legal fees and removal of the blemish from her record.
Many who oversee school disciplinary policy, such as Pamela Brown who handles expulsions for the Broward County School District, believe the punishment was fair. “We don’t want teachers to work in fear, looking over their shoulders when they walk to their cars after school,” Brown stated.
However, Howard Simon of the American Civil Liberties Union sees the case differently. “If Katie Evans said what she said over burgers with her friends at the mall, there is no question it would be protected by free speech.” The legal complaint was filed in December and the principal has yet to respond.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.