June 26, 2017

Student punished for exercising First Amendment rights

By Student punished for exercising First Amendment rights

Following a warning letter from Pacific Legal Foundation, officials at Vero Beach High School and the Indian River County School Board have finally withdrawn all punishment of student J.P. Krause – a rising senior whom they unlawfully penalized for the “offense” of delivering a tongue-in-cheek speech in his successful candidacy for student body president.

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Krause v. School Board of Indian River County, Florida

In May of his junior year at Vero Beach High School, J.P. Krause was on the verge of winning the senior class president election when he gave an impromptu campaign speech in his AP U.S. History class, with his teacher’s permission. The 90-second humorous speech skewered some of the tropes of the Trump campaign – “my opponent will raise taxes!” – and contained other satirical remarks. Krause won the election, but then his principal disqualified him from taking office because his speech allegedly “humiliated” the second-place finisher, in violation of the district’s anti-harassment policy. When PLF, representing J.P. and his mother, informed the school district by letter that its actions violated the First Amendment, the district quickly reversed course and reinstated J.P. as senior class president.

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