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Fake Instagram Suspension Lawsuit

Amy E. Feldman

It’s all fun and games until someone gets suspended for impersonating a teacher on Instagram.

A fake Instagram account created by a Michigan high school student that purported to be by his high school biology teacher got out of hand when the student’s friends began adding graphic and harassing posts of their own. The student who created the account shut it down, but not before it garnered the attention of lots of students and teachers who were also tagged.

The student was given a ten day suspension, and the student’s dad sued, saying the suspension was a violation of his son’s First Amendment rights because it was an effort to regulate his off campus speech.  But while students do have first amendment rights, they are limited in certain cases, like here, where even off campus speech can be regulated if it creates a substantial disruption in school—like the court found happened here, which was an entirely foreseeable outcome and a lesson learned the hard way for that student.

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