Lenoir City Update

Krystal will not be pushing the issue, it seems.

She has no hard feelings toward the school, and recognizes their position in trying to control what is published.

I note one big difference between Krystal and Jessica Ahlquist (of Cranston, RI): Krystal takes this stand with the support, but not the agreement, of her parents. This, of course, puts both Krystal and her parents into a different situation than the Ahlquists; I cannot fault them if Krystal chooses not to pursue legal remedies.

But time will tell on that–she does have the support of civil libertarian organizations if she chooses to take that path, and Lenoir City would be smart to revisit their policies and actions in advance of such a choice. Krystal has pointed out a problem, and if they are smart, the school board will address it before Krystal or another student decides to take it to court.


  1. captainahags says

    I would like to say that the issue should indeed be pushed, but it’s easy for someone from a much bluer state to say that. Good on her for shedding some light on the situation though.

  2. echidna says

    Someone, perhaps the ACLU, should have a quiet word with the school administration about the implications of the Ahlquist decision in the light of, say Christian prayer over the loudspeakers. The censorship of the Kystal’s editorial is debatable, the violation of the constitution is not.

  3. Phledge says

    I’m not somewhere where I can watch the bidyo but I hope that her stance is not due to any backlash and threats of violence, emotional or physical. How did kids get so courageous? (Also, get off my lawn.)

  4. Cuttlefish says

    It is not that, Phledge. I’d describe it if I could, but I don’t quite get it, myself. But that’s fine–I’m not in her shoes.

  5. crowepps says

    Krystal is 18 and a senior. I assume she will be graduating with her class in a few months, and after that she won’t attend the school, will therefore no longer have standing, and so would be unable to follow through with a lawsuit.

    There have been persistent problems with bringing suits in similar circumstances in the past because the pervasive harassment and vicious threats towards the students involved, including elementary students, drove they and their families away, and the school’s attorneys could then quite properly point out they no longer had standing and ask that the case be dismissed.

    This is one of the reasons I so admire Jessica Ahlquist — she had the guts to endure all that until the case had been settled and she was proven right.

  6. subbie says

    Actually, standing would not be a problem for her if she wanted to pursue the matter. There’s an exception to the general requirement of standing known as “capable of repetition but evading review.” It applies when the question is one that, by its nature, is not likely to be able to be litigated quickly enough to get a final determination before the situation resolves itself simply by the passage of time but is likely to reoccur to either the same or another similar litigant. The classic example is the abortion issue, although the doctrine predates Roe v Wade.

    In this case, full review of this question all the way to the Supreme Court level is likely to take longer than the four years that most people (yes, even in Tennessee) spend in high school but obviously the same issues will remain as long as the school behavior doesn’t change.

    She’d have to begin suit before she graduates, but that’s all she would need to do to meet the standing requirement. And since she is 18 now, she wouldn’t actually need the participation of her parents. Of course, I mean none of this as any criticism of her personal choice not to pursue it for her own reasons.

  7. DLC says

    It’s a shame that her school is not allowing her to publish, and additionally so that the school environment is such that she felt the need to ask “Where’s my rights” .

  8. echidna says

    So is there anything like a state department of education that can remind schools of legal and illegal practices? Why is it up to people on the bottom of the pile to try to enforce the law?

  9. nemothederv says

    The board’s actions gave her what she wanted and more. Krystal’s article has been reported about on the local news all can be read over the blogosphere.

    Why should she push on this? Her voice is being heard on a scale that she probably never expected.

    Word of advice to the Lenoir high school board.:
    Trying to avoid controversy through censorship is controversial.

  10. truthspeaker says

    Legally, she doesn’t have much to stand on. The school funds the school paper, which makes them the publisher, which means they can kill any article for any reason. In the real world, journalists often find their articles killed or altered because of the whims and prejudices of publishers. In this sense, she has learned an important lesson about being a journalist!

    Now, the reasons the school gave for killing the article are, of course, complete bullshit. If Krystal wanted to make 1500 copies of this article on her own dime (about $15 at her local copy center) and distribute them in school on her own, she would have the law on her side. Schools cannot stop students from distributing literature in schools unless it’s disruptive – which this obviously isn’t.

  11. gvlgeologist says

    @ echidna:

    The really sad thing about this is that the people in charge of the school system probably now feel like they can continue their unconstitutional behavior. Now that they have successfully at best ignored and at worst intimidated one citizen who pointed this out, they will probably feel justified in continuing and even broadening their behavior.

    Typical behavior of bullies.

  12. says

    Brings back fond memories of my high school days. I moved from a large city in Texas to a small one in my junior year of high school. I was appalled first day at school when at the start of the school day, “Please bow your head for the morning devotional” came over the school PA system.

    I raised my hand and told the teacher I wasn’t bowing my head for anyone. OK Mr. Smarty Pants. Off to the principal’s office for disrupting class. The principal (an ordained Baptist minister) had a good solution. During the morning devotional, I was to leave the classroom and stand in the hallway until the devotional was over.

    Gave me time to smoke another cigarette in the men’s room every morning and I became the envy of many other tobacco-using malcontents. Christians included. Praise!

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