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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Board snubs blogger

Barnegat Board of Education members can use a lesson in the First Amendment. They barred a parent, by unanimous vote Monday, from volunteering at school activities because she blogs on her own Web site. Lisa Becker's site focuses on Barnegat's municipal government and school board. It seems the board is afraid the district will be named a defendant in any lawsuit prompted by anything offensive posted online on a volunteer's Web site such as Becker's.

The board members are being overly cautious, even in our overly litigious society. They're not impressed that Becker already deletes parent or teacher names from reader comments on her blog. The board has to recognize that Internet blogs - like newspapers, fliers or other soapboxes - are a form of opinion protected by the First Amendment. It's not clear yet whether barring Becker from volunteering because she's exercising her right of expression violates the Constitution. It should be a violation. The consequences of free speech cannot be separated from the right itself.

By making such a big issue about her blog, the board is inadvertently doing Becker a favor. More people know about her Web site and her volunteer spirit than ever before. She's gained name-recognition - and a cause - she can use if she goes through with plans to run for a school board seat in April. The board members would have been much better off had they left well enough alone and allowed her to continue volunteering.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A governmental agency that punishes someone for excercising her First Amendment rights is, in effect, suppressing those rights. Becker should sue the Board of Education and the BOE should get a new, competent lawyer.

8:09 PM, October 31, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To volunteer at a school is not a right. Governmental agencies do have the right to supress first amendment rights.

11:38 AM, November 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The school board can NOT make any policy that by, in or of its nature violates any guaranteed right under the Constitution of the United States. They may have policies and guidelines - they can not violate the Constitution in doing so.

3:53 PM, November 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is the blog's URL, I'd like to check it out. I'd love to hear the school board attorney's explaination for this one. I think the explaination is alot of hooey. They are most probably afraid that by being in the schools she could gain access to potentially damaging information that could be posted on her blog. They don't want to give her the easy track to a story.

5:56 PM, November 18, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Tim. Just wanted to say hi to the forum, I been creeping around here for a while now, but tend to participate more. Looking forward to make some new friends. Ciao!

Tim

NY, NY

7:48 PM, March 12, 2010  

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