01/30/2012 - A student who created a MySpace page to ridicule another student is not protected by the First Amendment. A federal appeals court ruled that the school’s discipline of the student was permissible because “the student used the Internet to orchestrate a targeted attack on a classmate.” Other courts have ruled that students’ social media postings are protected so long as they do not cause disruptions and are created off school property.
12/20/2011 - A university did not violate a mortuary science student’s rights to free speech when it sanctioned her for writing that she wanted to “stab a certain someone in the throat” on her Facebook page. The court found that the student’s posts could be construed as serious threats and that the university had the right to address potentially threatening conduct.
09/29/2011 - A bill (H.R. 2342) introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) would establish a National Center for Campus Public Safety. The center would train public safety agencies and their partners on campus crime issues and increase cooperation between law enforcement and mental health agencies. The center would be tasked with collecting and disseminating information about best practices in campus safety as well as developing protocols to prevent, respond to, and recover from emergencies on campuses.
08/30/2011 - In two similar cases, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that students who created unflattering fake MySpace pages that seemed to come from their principals were protected under the First Amendment. The courts ruled that the schools could not discipline the students for activities conducted off school grounds.
08/05/2011 - After a campus shooting—especially a mass shooting as occurred at Virginia Tech in 2007—there are suggestions that if students or faculty had been armed, they could have defended themselves. Others see the mixture of concealed carry of firearms and campus life as a recipe for disaster.
07/28/2011 - The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that a retired school bus teacher may obtain a concealed handgun license even though she also has authorization to use medical marijuana. The case is the latest in a round of cases seeking to clarify how medical marijuana factors into existing laws governing everything from weapons to employment.