Blogging Rights

Another boon for blogging rights:

OCEANPORT, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey school district will pay $117,500 to a student who was punished for creating a website that included critical statements about his middle school.

The settlement of the lawsuit brought nearly two years ago follows a decision by a federal judge ruling that Oceanport school administrators violated Ryan Dwyer’s free speech rights.

The settlement was announced Sunday by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.

"While my parents and I are happy the case is resolved, most importantly, I’m hopeful this will help ensure that free speech rights of students aren’t trampled on again in the future," said Dwyer, who is now in 11th grade.

Dwyer created the website containing criticism of Maple Place School in April 2003, on his own time from his home computer. Comments posted on the site’s "guest book" section angered school officials, who suspended Dwyer for a week, benched him from playing on the baseball team for a month, and barred him from going on his class trip, among other discipline. The district’s lawsuit said anti-Semitic remarks were posted on the site, which Dwyer denied writing.

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