United States Third Circuit

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Layshock v. Hermitage Sch. Dist., 07-4465

In plaintiffs' 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action arising after defendant-school district punished their son for creating a fake internet "profile" of his high school principal on MySpace.com, district court's judgment is affirmed where: 1) district court correctly ruled that the school district's response to the student's expressive conduct violated the First Amendment guarantee of free expression as allowing the school to punish him for conduct he engaged in using his grandmother's computer while at his grandmother's house would create an unseemly and dangerous precedent; 2) the school cannot punish the student merely because his speech reached inside the school; and 3) district court correctly concluded that the parents have not shown how their liberty interest was infringed by the School District's violation of their son's First Amendment right of expression.

Appellate Information

  • Argued 12/10/2008
  • Decided 02/04/2010
  • Published 02/04/2010


  • Before McKEE, SMITH and ROTH, Circuit Judges.


  • United States Third Circuit


  • For Appellees:
  • Anthony G. Sanchez, Esq., (Argued), Christina Lane, Esq., Andrews & Price, Pittsburgh, PA, Attorneys for Appellant/Cross-Appellee, Hermitage School District., Sean A. Fields, Esq., Associate Counsel, Pennsylvania School Boards Association, Mechanicsburg, PA, Attorney for Amicus Curiae, Pennsylvania School Boards Association, filed in support Appellant/Cross-Appellee, Hermitage School District., Kim M. Watterson, Esq., Richard T. Ting, Esq., William J. Sheridan, Esq., Reed Smith LLP, Pittsburgh, PA, Witold J. Walczak, Esq., (Argued), Sara J. Rose, Esq., American Civil Liberties Foundation of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, PA, Attorneys for Appellees/Cross-Appellants, Donald Layshock, Cheryl Layshock., John W. Whitehead, Esq., The Rutherford Institute, Charlottesville, VA, Attorney for Amicus Curiae, The Rutherford Institute, in support of Appellees/Cross-Appellants, Donald Layshock, Cheryl Layshock., Joanna J. Cline, Esq., Brian A. Berkley, Esq., Joshua B. Hirshey, Esq., Emmett M. Hogan, Esq., Pepper Hamilton LLP, Philadelphia, PA, Frank D. Lomonte, Esq., Michael C. Hiestand, Esq., Adam Goldstein, Esq., Arlington, VA, Attorneys for Amicus Curiae, The Student Press Law Center, in support of Appellees/CrossAppellants, Donald Layshock, Cheryl Layshock., Robert D. Richards, Esq., Clay Calvert, Esq., University Park, PA, Attorneys for Amicus Curiae, Pennsylvania Center for the First Amendment, in support of Appellees/Cross-Appellants, Donald Layshock, Cheryl Layshock.
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