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'N-word' rant creates free-speech dilemma

(PALM BEACH POST) — When a cheerleader in West Virginia created a Web page suggesting a fellow student had herpes and invited 100 classmates to comment, a federal appeals court ruled she had far exceeded her First Amendment rights. She deserved to be suspended for 10 days and stripped of her duties as the school’s reigning “Queen of Charm,” it ruled.

However, when a Pennsylvania teen created a bogus Internet profile of his principal, listing the administrator’s interests as transgender, alcoholic beverages and steroids, a different federal appeals court sided with the student. The school district, it ruled, had trampled on the senior’s constitutional rights when it suspended him and barred him from graduation ceremonies.