Tennessee student sues school district after firing him for posting funny memes of his ‘thin-skinned’ principal on Instagram
A Tennessee high school student is suing their school district, claiming their First Amendment rights were violated after being suspended for posting three memes. The postings mocked the school’s principal, with Jason Quick depicting him in various comical situations. The students posted three memes on their personal Instagram accounts, intending to add some personal delicacy.
A Tennessee high school student is suing his school district alleging that they violated his First Amendment rights after suspending him after he posted three memes on Instagram mocking the school’s principal.
The memes depicted the principal in various hilarious situations.
A principal shows Jason Quick holding a box of vegetables with ‘My Brotha’ and ‘On God’ written on it.
Another shows Quik in cat ears and spiked clothing, while a third sees Quik’s head cradled over a cartoon character, from the online game ‘Between Us’.
The student posted these memes on his personal Instagram account as a lighthearted way to poke fun at the principal, who was seen as overly serious, in an attempt to add some levity to the principal’s character.
A Tennessee high school student is suing their school district, claiming their First Amendment rights were violated after being suspended for posting three memes about Principal Jason Quick.
The postings poke fun at the school principal, with Jason Quick portraying him in various hilarious scenes
The school handbook expressly prohibits students from sharing photos or videos that embarrass, defame, or disrespect staff or students. The quick is illustrated above
Attorney Connor Fitzpatrick said, ‘It’s a light-hearted poke at a principal who was supposed to be a bit too serious and brought a bit of levity to the personality’. The identity of the student has been withheld.
School administrators suspended the student for three days, claiming a violation of school policy.
The school handbook expressly prohibits students from sharing photos or videos that embarrass, defame, or disrespect staff or students.
The district also introduced a social media policy in the 2022-2023 handbook, prohibiting students from sharing posts deemed ‘wildcat’ (the name of the school’s football team), but the latest handbook for 2023-2024 did not include such a provision.
Attorney Fitzpatrick argued that the student’s suspension was overly subjective given that the student posted the memes outside of school hours, off school premises, and did not cause a disturbance at school.
The student posted three memes on their personal Instagram account, intending to add some swagger to the principal’s persona but was suspended.
“That’s where the problem lies, is that the school is trying to decide what students are and aren’t allowed to say about them, even when the speech doesn’t affect the school day,” Fitzgerald said.
“Students have been making fun of their principals and teachers on their own time, as long as schools have existed, and the fact that some of it is now on social media doesn’t change the underlying First Amendment principles, which is that if what you say and do doesn’t affect the school, it’s none of the school’s business,” Fitzgerald told Fox71.
Fitzpatrick contends that students have been harassing their principals and teachers outside of schools for some time, and that some of it is now on social media should not change the underlying First Amendment principles.
Quick was the principal of Tullama High School
He insists that if the speech or action does not affect the school environment, it is not the school’s concern.
The lawyer even cited a recent Supreme Court decision declaring that schools cannot punish students for making expressions outside of school, especially when they have no impact on the school environment.
The student is now seeking to have his suspension removed from his school record along with revisions to the school’s photo and video policy.’
Court documents show that the principal depicted in the meme left the school at the end of the school year.