Students sue Albany High School after being suspended for ‘liking’ racist posts

ALBANY (KRON) — A group of students at Albany High School is suing the school, claiming that their first amendment rights were violated when they were disciplined in connection with racist images which were posted on Instagram earlier this year.

Some of the images targeted other students at the school and at least one member of the faculty.

The school eventually disciplined more than a dozen kids including several who only liked or commented on the images.

Attorney Darryl Yorkey is representing four of the disciplined students, three of whom were suspended and one who is facing expulsion.

In a lawsuit filed against the school, the students are claiming their first amendments rights were violated because Instagram is not owned or operated by the school. Therefore the school does not have the right to punish them for something posted on that service.

It does not matter what the students said, the images and comments were on a platform that was outside the school, according to Yorkey. The school has essentially over reached their bounds and is trying to regulate what is happening in the home.

In response, the Albany School District released a statement Thursday saying that “The District is currently reviewing the lawsuit and will take appropriate action in responding to it.”

“It’s unacceptable. It shouldn’t be tolerated. Zero tolerance means just that,” said Lerond Mallard, the father of one of the students targeted by the Instagram images.

Mallard feels that because pictures his daughter and other kids were posted on Instagram, it was appropriate for the school district to cast a wide net in disciplining those involved.

“To try to spin this some other way is misguided, wrong headed and it’s not the lessons and the values that you want to be giving to young children,” Mallard said.

The lawsuit, which was filed this week, asks that the school reverse its disciplinary actions against the four students and refrain from taking further action.

Thursday afternoon, the school district issues a statement in response to the lawsuit saying, “The District is currently reviewing the lawsuit and will take appropriate action in responding to it.”

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