In may, First Coast Technical College in St. Augustine, Florida suspended student Dia’mon Dallas for a photo of herself and her fiance at a shooting range that was posted on Facebook. An administrator allegedly told her she was being suspended because the photo glorified violence.
Dallas has sued the school for violating her First and Fourth Amendment rights. Last week, the school filed a motion to dismiss the suit.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education explains what “this attempt at pathos” means if adopted by the court:
If one follows [First Coast Technical College]’s argument to its logical conclusion, then every photo, movie, and artistic rendition of crime would be a “glorification” of the underlying acts. Surely even FCTC administrators watch crime thrillers from time to time, and their counsel is at least familiar enough with a film about Bonnie and Clyde to quote from it. If anything, by invoking the movie, FCTC illustrated that visual depictions of infamous criminals are protected speech.
The college’s argument that subjective unintelligibility nullifies the First Amendment gets the case law backwards, FIRE continues. A Facebook photo and text are “pure expression,” protected even more than conduct, which must be understood to convey a “particularized message” to be protected.