What Not To Text

Girl Who Urged Boyfriend's Suicide With Texts Appeals Her Conviction
The woman who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for urging her boyfriend to kill himself through text messages and phone conversations is appealing her conviction, arguing that it violated the First Amendment because it was based on "words alone."  I agree with her attorney that this may be a "novel question of constitutional and criminal law."  I'm just not sure that it deserves to be a question at all.
 
 

Bring It On (again!)

Last week I filed an amicus brief at the Texas Supreme Court in the Kountze cheerleader case (Kountze Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Matthews, 2017 WL 4319908 (Tex.App.—Beaumont 2017) (on appeal, Case No. 17-0988), on behalf of the Texas Association of School Board's Legal Assistance Fund ("TASB-LAF"), supporting the school district's request that the Texas Supreme Court take jurisdiction over the appeal (like the U.S. Supreme Court, the Texas Supreme Court decides which cases it wants to hear).  A copy of the Brief can be found here:  TASB-LAF Amicus Brief
To me, this case is not about the merits of the students' speech (Bible verses on run-through banners at the high school football game).  This case should turn on the school's legitimate ability to decide what speech its official student representatives say to the community on behalf of the school.  These are not students sitting in the stands holding up signs that…

Welcome to “The Oldest Blog” 2.0!

Welcome to my second attempt at launching “The Oldest Blog,” a First Amendment blog that will examine the different First Amendment issues involving students that public school administrators and attorneys are increasingly facing on daily basis.  Since my first attempt fell subject to my failure to timely renew the domain registration, I am starting over.  We will again look at both the serious and the light side of such topics as school prayer, dress codes, student threats and cyberbullying, the distribution of literature, the use of public facilities by outside groups, the celebration of religious holidays, and the rise of esoteric religions and their impact in the public schools.  Hopefully you will find this both entertaining and educational.