BY SAM FIELDS
(Sam Fields is a Fort Lauderdale attorney, a screaming liberal Democrat and a major movie fan.)
The brouhaha between high school student Katherine Evans and her English teacher Sarah Phelps played out exactly like the Founding Fathers envisioned when they wrote the First Amendment.
At least until Vernon Wormer and Ed Rooney stuck their noses in the debate. Now the only things certain are that the lawyers will make a small fortune and the poor taxpayer will foot the bill.
First the back story.
Katherine Evans was a senior at Pembroke Pines Charter School who had an immense dislike for Sarah Phelps her Honors English teacher.
Hardly the type to pull a “Columbine or something along those lines she opened a Facebook debate about Ms. Phelps: “Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I’ve ever met.“
Within a couple of days Evans was unanimously hooted down by other students who proclaimed that Phelps is a combination of Professor Kingsfield, Mr. Rogers and Mr. Chips.
Thoroughly beaten, Evans took down the Facebook page three days later.
The First Amendment, which was intended to promote and protect robust debate, worked like a charmalmost.
Enter Principal Peter Bayer, a.k.a. “Principal Ed Rooney from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and his henchman Steve Bruns a.k.a. “Dean Vernon Wormer from Animal House.
As far as they were concerned Phelps was worse than their respective nemeses: Ferris Bueller and Bluto Blutarsky. It seems like they viewed Evans as a “cyberbully’ with the potential to become the next Columbine High School killer Dylan Klebold.
I can just hear Principal Bayer/Rooney demanding retribution against the evildoer Evans : “What’s so dangerous about a character like Bueller/Evans is [s]he gives good kids bad ideas. The last thing I need as this point in my career is fifteen hundred Ferris Bueller/Katherine Evans disciples running around these halls.
Enter Dean Steve Bruns/Vernon Wormer: “The time has come for someone to put his foot down. And that foot is me.
But unlike the boys at Delta House in Animal House, who faced only “double secret probation, Evans was suspended for three days and removed from AP classes. An “A student with an unblemished record, Evans was declared a “Cyber Bully in her permanent school record.
Both Bayer and Bruns, a school behavior specialist, signed her notice of suspension.
Rightfully believing that this was a free speech issue Evans hooked up with attorney Matthew Bavaro and the American Civil Liberties Union. Here is the complaint.
Evans and the school are now in Federal Court where her lawyers have alleged a civil rights violation. The only thing she is asking is that her record is cleared.
Hopefully the Judge will first rule that the only bullies at Pines Charter are the incarnates of Rooney and Wormer. Second, that Rooney and Wormer’s First Amendment GPA is “ZERO POINT ZERO.