The ACLU of Georgia filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Georgia middle school student who was expelled for writing a poem that school administrators deemed threatening. The student had written several poems in a book, but administrators focused on this single poem without reading any of the others. They did this despite other students and teachers feeling that the poems were a great expression of creativity.

Many schools across the United States have developed vague school policies in direct response to the Columbine massacre that took place on April 20, 1999. Though current middle school students are too young to remember this infamous day, they are often held to a course of behavior that is largely influenced by administrators’ attempts to avoid a day like this.

The ACLU challenged the school’s policies as vague, and argued that looking at the poem book as a whole, the school could not reasonably view it as a threat and therefore the suspension violated the free speech rights of the student. The case was eventually settled with concessions made to the expelled student.

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