Classroom Essay is “protected speech”

Allen Lee, the suburban Chicago high school student arrested for a classroom essay, responds:

“At the very last sentence, I said that this teacher’s method of teaching could lead to a school shooting,” Lee said Wednesday. He said he’d intended the entire essay as a joke…

Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, said an essay done for homework would ordinarily be “protected speech.”

“He turned it in to a teacher. He didn’t post it online,” he said. “It’s not a communication between him and the broader world.”

On Wednesday, students at the school showed support for Lee with a petition drive to let him back into school.

Via Facebook, I asked a student at Lee’s Cary-Grove High School to share some thoughts on the arrest. With a request for anonymity, here was the response:

 i think that everyone is taking this to far. it was an essay for creative writing. and he didnt deserve to go to jail for no reason. this breaks the laws in the constitution.

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