Judge agrees Itawamba County student Taylor Bell's rap song posed threat to school order

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

FULTON – Taylor and Dora Bell’s attorney said Thursday they will appeal a federal judge’s dismissal of their lawsuit against Itawamba County School Board and others.
The lawsuit came from Taylor’s January 2011 suspension at Itawamba Agricultural School after he posted on the Internet a rap song deriding the school and two male coaches.
Senior U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers Jr. said the school board’s actions were correct and that Bell’s song’s lyrics “in fact caused a material and/or substantial disruption” at school and that it was “reasonably foreseeable” by school officials that it would do so.
Scott Colom of Columbus, the Bells’ attorney, said he disagreed with Biggers’ opinion and will take their issues to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
“It’s an unsettled area of the law,” he said. “It’s most troubling that the First Amendment protects corporations’ rights to give unlimited sums of money to campaigns but not a student’s right to do a video off school grounds.”
Itawamba’s counsel, Mike Carr of Cleveland, disagreed, saying Biggers is right and his clients await the appeal.
For more details, read Friday’s Daily Journal.

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