Appeals court upholds suspension of Hannibal, Mo., student for online threats

Aug. 2, 2011
Judges say threats to kill fellow students are not protected by First Amendment

From The Quincy Herald-Whig: A federal appeals court has sided with the Hannibal (Mo.) School District in suspending a high school student who had threatened in an online chat to shoot his classmates. The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a district court ruling that Dylan Mardis' instant messages were true threats unprotected by the First Amendment. The appeals court concluded that Mardis' instant messages on Oct. 24, 2006 -- in which he told a friend he wanted to take a gun to school and shoot people he didn't like -- constituted a substantial disruption of the school environment and, as such, were subject to disciplinary action.

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