Support, both financial and moral, for Avery Doninger's appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit has spread across the country.
Doninger is seeking an injunction to overturn the 2008 class officer election results of Lewis S. Mills High School on the grounds that school officials unconstitutionally denied her candidacy. Although she won the election with write-in votes by her classmates, school officials still refuse to allow her to take the 2008 class secretary position.
Doninger alleges she was stripped of her junior class secretary title and not allowed to run for senior class office because she exercised her right to free speech and expressed a grievance on a blog site from her home computer.
On Aug. 31, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Kravitz denied Doninger's motion for a temporary injunction, issuing a 34-page memorandum on his ruling 45 minutes after the close of court.
"A battle is lost, the war is not over," said Avery's mother, Lauren. "We now head to the 2nd Circuit to appeal the denial and continue to seek injunctive relief. Additionally, we will file trial paperwork. Unlike the very rushed hearing, this will be a jury trial."
With the appeal expected to cost approximately $20,000, not including payment to attorney John Schoenhorn for his representation, Doninger set up an online donation site. She did not expect support for her appeal would ripple across the nation.
As I've pointed out in previous posts, this is a decision with potentially devastating effects upon the First Amendment rights of students -- after all the speech for which this student is being punished took place away from school outside of school hours, but the school wants to regulate it and discipline based upon it.
I'm particularly struck by the wisdom of this commentator.
Greg Aydt, a world history high school teacher and right-wing conservative from Houston, Texas, also posted a link to Doninger's fund on his site, http://rhymeswithright.mu.nu. He said he put the link on his site because very often he sees school administrators take a very narrow and cramped view of students' rights.
"When you are in your home at [9 p.m.] on your computer, that's not a place the school has any right to intrude, unless it presents a direct threat to student or school safety," Aydt said. "In this case, we have administrators who got their knickers in a twist because you have a student who isn't deferential to them 24 hours a day."
Yeah, I was contacted the other day requesting an interview. I'll concede, its a first. And while I don't know why Jacqueline Manning chose to describe me as a "right-wing conservative" rather than merely as a conservative (I'm the only person whose political orientation is noted). But that's neither here nor there. I was honored to be asked and even more honored to be included in the article. Heck, I'm simply honored to be able to lend my voice in support of a good cause.
And by the way, here is a way to help Avery and her mom continue their fight for freedom of speech.
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