DENVER — A Cherry Creek High School student has credibly alleged school officials violated his First Amendment rights when they expelled him for an offensive social media post, the federal appeals court based in Denver decided on Wednesday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit reinstated the lawsuit of a teenager identified as C.G., largely due to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from last year limiting the authority of administrators to regulate students' off-campus speech. Senior Judge Paul J. Kelly Jr., writing for the three-judge panel that heard C.G.'s appeal, called the two cases "materially similar."
> The video above aired when the lawsuit was first filed
"C.G.’s speech would generally receive First Amendment protection because it does not constitute a true threat, fighting words, or obscenity," he wrote in the July 6 opinion.
C.G.'s case drew substantial interest from multiple outside organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and school board associations representing the six states included in the 10th Circuit. Even his supporters called C.G.'s anti-Semitic social media post "dumb," "offensive" and "ignorant," and the Cherry Creek School District's backers claimed it "suggested imminent violence."
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