A federal judge has ruled that an Oregon 8th grader’s rant to a friend on Facebook that his health teacher was “just a bitch” and “she needs to be shot” was not a true threat of violence but was protected free speech.
The student “did not intend to threaten or otherwise communicate with [the teacher] and did not seriously believe that [the teacher] should be shot,” U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman wrote in his ruling last month.
In 2012, the then-14-year-old was given a 3½-day in-school suspension for the comments he made from home to his circle of Facebook friends. He and his mother sued the district, arguing that the boy’s free-speech rights had been violated.
A version of this article appeared in the May 13, 2015 edition of Education Week as Student’s Facebook Rant Ruled Free Speech