A 7th grader’s sexual harassment of two younger students in a city park adjacent to their school was not protected under the First Amendment as off-campus speech, a federal appeals court has ruled.
A three-judge panel upheld the two-day suspension of a student, who along with several other 7th graders at Monroe Middle School in Eugene, Ore., teased and harassed a 6th grade boy and girl over several days, using vulgar language, court papers say. The students were traveling a path from the school that crossed into a city park and adjoins the school’s athletic fields.
In its decision this month, the court said after-school speech at a shopping mall or movie theater might present a different case, but those locations are not the same as a piece of property adjacent to school grounds. The court also cited the sexual content of the speech and the age of the victims.