Multiple California high school students have filed federal lawsuits alleging they were wrongfully suspended and presented to a mob after interacting with offensive Instagram photos posted by another student.
Future rulings in the cases could have a broad impact on American students’ ability to communicate freely online while not in school, with the lawsuits seeking a judgment that the First Amendment allowed the students to “like” photos and write comments.
The Instagram images were shared using a private account and reportedly included a black doll next to a white-robed figure and a noose, as well as photos of African-American students next to apes, creating an uproar at Albany High School north of Berkeley.
More than a dozen students were disciplined by school officials in March, most of them given short suspensions for commenting on or “liking” the content. At least two, including the account’s alleged creator, still are awaiting possible expulsion.
Four students filed a federal lawsuit earlier this month, and were joined by two others who filed their own lawsuit Friday, seeking to clear their disciplinary records and have their actions declared constitutionally protected speech.
Ohio Governor and former presidential candidate John Kasich speaks to reporters after an event honoring the Cleveland Cavaliers, the 2016 NBA championship team, at the White House in Washington in this file photo dated November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque REUTERS
Donald Trump’s shrinking presidency seems to get smaller by the day, eroded by a series of stumbles, missteps and fumbles by Trump and his key advisers, and escalating accusations against them.
Three more furors have broken into public view during the past two days.
First, and most explosive, there was the claim by former FBI Director James Comey, fired recently by Trump, that the president asked him to call off an FBI investigation of former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Part of this probe involves whether Flynn acted improperly with Russian operatives when the Kremlin was trying to damage Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign last year while Flynn was a Trump campaign adviser. Comey made the claim in a memo he wrote to himself at the time of the alleged request, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
Comey wrote that Trump said, “I hope you can let this go,” referring to the investigation. Comey said he didn’t agree to the request. White House officials denied that this happened.
Legal scholars say that, if Comey’s charge is true, Trump might be guilty of obstruction of justice.
Trump supposedly made the request on Feb. 14, the day after Flynn was ousted following the disclosure that he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States.