ACLU plaintiffs from East Bakersfield High School
When student journalists at East Bakersfield High School’s award-winning newspaper, The Kernal, planned a series of articles about the struggles of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students at their school, they were extremely careful to make sure they had the full consent and support of not only the youth they interviewed, but their parents as well. But school officials blocked publication of the articles, claiming unsubstantiated threats against LGBT students who were interviewed for the articles.
The ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Project sued the school on behalf of the newspaper staff and the students who had been interviewed, arguing that the school must deal with potential disruption by punishing those making any threats, not by squelching the free speech rights of the students who are being threatened.
Status: Victory! Settlement reached. School enacted a free speech policy and paid attorneys' fees to the ACLU.