The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana today filed a lawsuit against the Monroe Central School Corp, after a student was suspended, in violation of her First Amendment rights, for a video she shared on TikTok.
The student, identified only as I.B. because she is a minor, frequently observed classmates at Monroe Jr.-Sr. High School using language that she considers to be offensive, inappropriate, and racist—including the use of the n-word. She observed students using the racial slurs in text messages, written messages, videos that were shared amongst the student body, and during in-person conversations at the school. In addition, I.B. has been outspoken about her support of the Black Lives Matter movement and racial justice, and as a result faced reoccurring bullying by classmates.
I.B. thus created a short video on TikTok, sharing the fact that several of her classmates used racist language. The video was truthful and accurate, but rather than attempting to address its students’ use of racist language, administrators informed I.B. that it was not her role to “police” other students’ language and suspended I.B.
I.B. created and posted the video on her own time, off of school grounds, and using her own electronic device.
“I.B. felt that it was important to share the ease with which her classmates used racist language,” said Gavin M. Rose, ACLU of Indiana Senior Staff Attorney. “Monroe Central School administrators not only failed to protect her from abuse from fellow classmates, but also chose to suspend her for truthful, non-disruptive, out-of-school speech.”