Wednesday, March 21, 2007

School Pays Up For Teddy Bear Movie Suspensions

I've written previously about the stupid expulsions of students involved in making a "threatening" movie about teddy bears attacking a teacher. The second link shows that a federal judge made the right 1st Amendment call and had the students reinstated in school, but apparently that wasn't satisfactory.

KNIGHTSTOWN, Ind. — Three students expelled for making a movie in which evil teddy bears attack a teacher will share $69,000 in a settlement of their civil rights lawsuit...

In the movie, the "teddy bear master" orders stuffed animals to kill a teacher who had embarrassed him, but students battle the toy beasts, according to documents filed in court...

School officials last year expelled the four students who made the film, arguing that it was disruptive and they saw it as a threat to Knightstown Intermediate School teacher Dan Clevenger.

Two of the students sued, claiming their free-speech rights were violated. A federal judge in December ordered that school officials allow them back into class, saying that although the students should apologize for the "humiliating" and "obscene" movie, district officials had not proven that the work disrupted school.

Here's the text of the apology letter I'd write.

"I'm sorry I hurt your feelings and made you feel threatened because of my teddy bear movie. I will endeavor to be more sensitive to your feelings in the future.

In fact, I'll start being sensitive on my way to the bank! Thank you for showing yourself to be such a wuss. Because of you, I now have money for college!"

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