Paul's DeadJournal

Monday, February 10th, 2003

3:55 am The Schools Never Quit

Well.. A lot of people have heard about Shawn Diveglia's problem with the faggot-ass principals at school. He recorded a song making fun of Josh Aboud and posted it on his website. His PERSONAL website that he made AT HOME. And the school is threatening to give him 10 days out if he doesn't take the song off of his site. The song by the way can be found here: http://www.people.iup.edu/ykbl/ thanks to Ian Nagle. In Shawn's defense, I'm sending out letters to the different principals. Here is the letter:

Dear (principal's name):

It has come to my attention that my friend Shawn Diveglia is being threatened with ten days suspension because of a satirical song he wrote for his web site, a site that has nothing to do with the school district or Altoona High School in particular. This is outrageous. His web site is a personal project that he works on outside of school. You have no right to discipline a student for anything he does outside of school, past school hours. Your persecution of him in this matter smacks of the most ridiculous and insidious power-hungry despotism. You cannot control a studentís thoughts and actions, particularly outside of school! What is the matter with you people? You spend your energies on illegal nonsense like this--which the ACLU would love to hear about, Iím sure!--and meanwhile you pass students with questionable educations, but insist on trying to lengthen your tentacles of control into our very homes. This concept of your educational duties is horribly un-American. Your job is to educate, not to run the lives of students.

Words cannot describe the shock I felt when I heard about this situation. Iíd like you to read this excerpt from the ACLUís site. You can check the authenticity of this article by going to http://www.aclu.org/StudentsRights/StudentsRights.cfm?ID=7909&c=160

Or, you could simply visit the ACLUís homepage and search for it.

KENT, WA -- A settlement between student Nick Emmett and Kent School District has ended the district's attempt to punish the student because of a Web site created on his home computer. Under terms of the settlement negotiated by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington State, the suburban Seattle district will not pursue disciplinary action against Emmett over the Web site and will pay his attorney fees.

The agreement comes after one of the first court rulings on student free speech in cyberspace. In February, Chief Judge John Coughenour of the U.S. District Court in Seattle issued a Temporary Restraining Order preventing Kentlake High School administrators from suspending Emmett.

"The court recognized that school officials do not have authority to punish students for exercising their freedom of speech outside of school. School administrators need to learn that they can't discipline students who create satires on the Internet," said Aaron Caplan, ACLU Staff Attorney who represented the student.

Emmett is a college-bound senior and a co-captain of the Kentlake High School basketball team. On the weekend of February 12 and 13, Nick and a friend posted their own site on the Internet, using the Emmett family computer and AOL account. Nick's father helped set up the graphics. Titled the "Unofficial Kentlake High Home Page," the site was intended as a light-hearted vehicle to promote discussion among the King County school's students. Nick posted compliments to the school's administration, and the home page included the disclaimer, "This website is meant for entertainment purposes only."

At a friend's suggestion, Emmett added a fake obituary to the friend's memory; the idea came, in part, from a creative writing class in which students had been assigned to write mock obituaries. This and another obituary written in jest (with the student's permission) proved so popular that other students began posting requests for parody death notices about themselves to be written. As a humorous touch, a feature was added to the Web site enabling people to vote for the next fake obituary. At school Emmett received praise for the Web site from students and teachers alike.

After a misleading television news report aired which suggested that the site had a "hit list," Emmett and his co-creator closed the site. Two days later, Kentlake officials imposed a five-day suspension, causing him to miss a basketball playoff game. He and his parents enlisted the ACLU's help to contest the suspension in federal court. "I went to court to fight for my rights because I don't think administrators should be able to make unfair punishments. I care about school and want to go to class," Emmett said.

On February 23, Judge Coughenour stopped the school district from enforcing the suspension. In his ruling, Judge Coughenour said: "Although the intended audience was undoubtedly connected to Kentlake High School, the speech was entirely outside of the school's supervision or control." Judge Coughenour cited the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal's ruling in a 1988 ACLU-WA case (Burch v. Barker), which held that student distribution of non- school-sponsored material cannot be prohibited "on the basis of undifferentiated fears of possible disturbances or embarrassment to school officials."

The judge noted that the school district presented "no evidence that the mock obituaries and voting were intended to threaten anyone, did actually threaten anyone, or manifested any violent tendencies whatsover."

I hope you will reconsider your handling of this matter after reading that article and finding that the courts would rule against you. There is no way you would possibly get away with it. I have been in correspondence with representatives from the ACLU and I know that they would represent Shawn if you pressed this issue. You would not win. Please realize that you are supposed to be enriching teenagersí lives, not dictating them.

Sincerely,

Paul Szebin

Anyone that is the least bit offended by this whole situation should take action against it. Write letters to the school and let them know that it won't be overlooked.

A Letter From A Crazy Pissed Off Friend

I'm so angry right now! I want to kill soemone! Why do you do this to me? The stream of hatred that I want to wreak upon you from my mouth must be contained and that only makes it worse. I hate you right now. You hurt me so much. The restraint I am employing right now is ridiculousness. Oh how I long to say the most hateful horrible things to you. You are so inconsiderate! There are other people living in the world. Don't you ever appreciate the things that I have done for you? Why does this keep happening???? You are pure evil and that is not something that I like about you at all. I'll snap soon. You better find a way to save this, because you're hurting me so much, and I'll be the one who gets hurt when it all ends. If you care for me at all you will save our relationship. And if you don't know how then you better not tell me that because that will only fuel the fire. If this e-mail makes you angry I don't give a fucking shit! For once you can be hurt too! And now I'd like to tell you what I wrote to you on Valentine's Day because I should have let you read it so you would understand what it is like to be wounded by the one you love. I just re-read this e-mail and deleted what was written here. You can guess what it said.

Valentine's Day: A Poem For ?????

You stabbed me,

And then you twisted,

And then you pulled the blade out,

As slowly as you possibly could have.

And then you watched me die.

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