ACLU: Don't punish Shaker Heights student who exposed racist posts

Published: Nov. 14, 2016 at 7:31 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2016 at 9:40 PM EST
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SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) - A civil rights organization is asking an Ohio high school to rescind discipline leveled against a student who tried to expose a schoolmate's racism by reposting the classmate's remarks.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio said Monday it had asked Shaker Heights school officials to cancel a one-day, in-school suspension Tuesday against one of two teenage girls accused of being disruptive for reposting the schoolmate's comments. The other teen served her suspension last week.

The Shaker Heights schools superintendent wrote on the district's website that the situation has been addressed but wouldn't comment further on student discipline.

The ACLU says the comments were reposted away from school and the teens are entitled to First Amendment rights of free speech.

"The First Amendment protects us all, regardless of our age. These young women saw statements by another student that went against their values and used social media to speak out about it," said Mike Brickner, ACLU of Ohio senior policy director. "Unfortunately, school officials decided to punish these students for exercising their free speech rights. It's disappointing that instead of using this situation as an opportunity to teach young people about free speech and racial justice, school officials resorted to punishing these students for standing up for their convictions."

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