Contact an Education Lawyer at Maya Law

If you have any questions regarding student discipline, it may be beneficial to speak to an education lawyer. The attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. have extensive experience handling Connecticut education law matters, including school discipline, suspension, expulsion, and readmission, and are well-equipped to assist you in these proceedings.

Internet Footprint

“Parents and students should be aware that companies exist that are capable of scouring the Internet for everything a person may have said or done online in the course of the last seven (7) years…While many such companies presently research candidates for employment or personal injury litigants, rather than students, their import for the future is clear: nothing said or done on the Internet is private.”

The Takeaway for Parents or Students

  • “Students retain their constitutional rights of freedom of speech or expression while in or out of school. BUT
  • School administrators may prohibit student expression that will materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school.
  • Educators are permitted to exercise editorial control over school-sponsored expressive activities such as school publications or theatrical productions.
  • Public school administrators may take steps to safeguard students from speech that can reasonably be regarded as encouraging illegal drug use.
  • A student may be disciplined for expressive conduct occurring off school grounds when such conduct would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment, at least to the extent that it was similarly foreseeable that such off-campus expression might also reach campus.
  • A school may regulate in the classroom ‘plainly offensive’ speech, i.e., speech that is offensively lewd and indecent.
  • Off-campus, the risk from student speech of substantial disruption within the school environment depends upon a number of factors including the language used, the truth or falsity of the communication, and whether the student serves as a student government leader.
  • Participation in extracurricular activities is a privilege and not a right.”

So, Students Should Presume

  • “That any electronic communication (e.g., text, tweet, email) or creation (e.g., MySpace profile) that can be forwarded beyond its initial addressee may be forwarded to parties unknown, or may be seen by teachers or school administrators.
  • That any school-related electronic communication (i.e., one relating or referring to students, teachers, administrators, or school activities) can be expected to find its way ‘on-campus.’
  • Going forward, with respect to electronic communications, students should presume no practical or legal difference between on and off-campus.
  • What constitutes ‘substantial disruption within the school environment’ depends entirely on the circumstances. Virtually any deviation from the daily routine resulting from a student communication can be described as ‘disruption’ sufficient to support student discipline.”

The Bottom Line

“Any off-campus electronic communication relating or referring to students, teachers, administrators, or school activities has the potential to result in student discipline. As of now, the unsettled status of the law affords school administrators wide latitude in deciding when a student communication can be reasonably seen to create a foreseeable risk of academic disruption. Exclusion from extracurricular activities is now a judicially accepted punishment. Other types of student discipline may in the future also be countenanced by the courts. In the meantime, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.”

Read more about student discipline and other aspects of education law in our education publication here:

Maya Murphy P.C. has proudly been included in the 2024 Edition of Best Law Firms®, ranked among the top firms in the nation. In addition, Managing Partner Joseph C. Maya has been selected to The Best Lawyers in America® 2024 for his work in Employment Law and Education Law in Connecticut. Recognition in Best Lawyers® is awarded to firms and attorneys who demonstrate excellence in the industry and is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor.

Our firm in Westport, Connecticut serves clients with legal assistance all over the state, including the towns of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Bethel, Branford, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Cheshire, Danbury, Darien, Derby, East Haven, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meriden, Middlebury, Milford, Monroe, Naugatuck, New Canaan, New Fairfield, New Haven, Newton, North Branford, North Haven, Norwalk, Orange, Oxford, Prospect, Redding, Ridgefield, Seymour, Shelton, Sherman, Southbury, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Weston, Westport, Wilton, and Woodbridge. In addition to assisting clients in Connecticut, our firm handles education law matters in New York as well.

If you have any questions about education law in Connecticut or would like to speak to an attorney about a legal matter, please contact Joseph C. Maya and the other experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or to schedule a free initial consultation today.