Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Indiana Students Reinstated

Remember the students who were expelled for making the movie about teddy bears attacking a teacher? Well a Federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction requiring the school to lift their expulsion and allow them to make up any work they missed. The judge also had some words for the students:

The judge said the movie was “vulgar,” “tasteless,” “humiliating” and “obscene,” but ruled that school officials did not prove it disrupted school.

The judge said she did not believe it was a coincidence that the teacher in the movie had the same name as a math teacher at Knightstown Intermediate School. She urged the teens to apologize to the teacher and the school administration.

“School officials need to know you’ve learned a lesson,” Barker said.

Sounds reasonable to me.

Comments

  1. #1 J-Dog
    December 26, 2006

    Damn activest judges! Looks like the judge has indicated that the students can skip the rest of their schooling and go right to Fox News – “vulgar, tastelss, humilitating and obscene” puts them right up there with O’Reilly.

  2. #2 Matthew
    December 26, 2006

    Doesn’t sound reasonable to me. I don’t think judges should insert their opinions into their rulings, or give (non-law related) suggestions. It carries an air of authority.

  3. #3 Melody
    December 26, 2006

    Doesn’t sound reasonable to me. I don’t think judges should insert their opinions into their rulings, or give (non-law related) suggestions. It carries an air of authority.

    When the judge is the fact-finder, he must “insert” opinions and make “non-law” suggestions. That’s the way it works.

  4. #4 Matthew
    December 26, 2006

    I don’t understand what you are saying Melody. If you are saying that he must insert his opinion on whether or not the school had made a case for disruption, then of course he has to insert his opinion on this.

    I was talking about calling the video vulgar, and suggesting that they apologize. That belongs in his blog, not his judicial rulings.

  5. #5 kehrsam
    December 26, 2006

    “School officials need to know you’ve learned a lesson,” Barker said.

    Apparently, the lesson is that there is no freedom of speech, even when not on school property.

    Melody: This is just a preliminary injunction, so the judge has only to rule on Plaintiff’s claim that they are likely to win at trial and that granting the injunction will not cause an undue hardship to defendant. The judge’s opinion concerning anything else is dicta.

    My assumption is the judge is trying to force a settlement by encouraging both sides to make nice. Yes, judges do it all the time, but that doesn’t make the encouragement of self-censorship something else.

  6. #6 sam
    December 26, 2006

    I would have assumed that the judge’s job would be concerned with the law and whether or not either side has broken the law and what their repayment should be should either side be shown to have broken the law. I don’t see how his opinion could be seen as anything other than trying to effect some outcome in a case that he found bothersome on a level not concerned with issues of law. I don’t see that justice was done here, and I think the students may have their own grounds for a lawsuit.

    So, what’s the lesson to be learned? That the school owns our children and can tell them what to do outside of school? That we have no right to make movies that someone else may not like? That people’s feelings can supersede our constitutional rights?

  7. #7 stogoe
    December 26, 2006

    Going back to the video, weren’t the students saving the teacher from the evil toys? There’s nothing to apologize for.

  8. #8 Russell Miller
    December 26, 2006

    stogoe, sure there is. I mean, after all, a teacher felt offended, and one of the primary purposes of the school system is to ingrain a mindless trust of all authority figures and destroy creativity and any urge towards free speech. The students should apologize for daring to take that case to court and wasting the time of the teacher and school district who are just trying to do their aforementioned job.

  9. #9 Melody
    December 27, 2006

    I understand the frustration with the judge’s dicta — but it’s just that, dicta. Any hope that judges will issue opinions with absolutely nothing more than an analysis of the dry legal question is simply futile, and in some senses, as silly as railing against the “liberal activist” judges. Utimately the lesson here for the kiddies is not that they have no first amendment right — but quite the opposite: even when the judge thinks your project is vulgar and without merit, you have the right to make it. That doesn’t bother me.