This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
A student at a Tennessee high school lampooned his school principal, off-campus and outside of school hours, by posting some mocking memes online.
One showed the principal holding a box of vegetables, another showed him in a dress with cat ears and a third showed his face "on a video game character."
But the "thin-skinned" principal erupted, suspending the student, and now for his response has been sued.
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression said it launched the case on behalf of "I.P." a student in the Tullahoma city schools, and administrators Jason Quick and Derrick Crutchfield.
The memes did not cause any disruption at school, FIRE explained.
The case seeks to have affirmed a Supreme Court precedent that "schools cannot punish students for nondisruptive, private, off-campus speech."
"The First Amendment bars public school employees from acting as a 24/7 board of censors," explained lawyer Conor Fitzpatrick. "As long as a student’s posts do not substantially disrupt school, what teens post on social media on their own time is between them and their parents, not the government."
FIRE explained, "The First Amendment bars public schools from acting as round-the-clock censors. But on Aug. 10, 2022, Tullahoma High School’s principal and assistant principal called the student to their office and interrogated him about three memes he posted to Instagram off school grounds and outside school hours."
The end result was a suspension, based on school claims that such actions would "embarrass" or "discredit" student officials.
"But the Supreme Court held in 2021 that if a student’s off-campus online speech does not cause disruption at school, the school cannot censor it," the FIRE explained. "The Constitution … requires laws regulating speech to provide enough information so parents and students know how to comply."
The action seeks the removal of the suspension from the student's record.