Disregarding judge's order, Mont. school board punishes creator of 'hot girls' Web page
Restraining order citing First Amendment was issued days before board handed down punishment
© 2002 Student Press Law Center
March 14, 2002
MONTANA — The Great Falls school board decided Monday
to defy a judge's order and expel a high school student who had
posted photographs of female classmates on his personal Web site.
The board's unanimous decision instructed Great Falls High
senior Kenny Volk to transfer to C.M. Russell High School. Volk
told the Great Falls Tribune on Monday that he would file
an injunction in state court challenging the decision.
Just days before Monday's board meeting, Montana District Judge
Julie Macek issued a restraining order on March 8 preventing the
school from enforcing the punishment. In February, Volk posted
a section titled "10 hottest freshman girls," with photographs
and short biographies, on his Web site. He took the pictures at
school with a disposable camera.
Principal Gary Davis, who had previously asked Volk not to
post the photos, suspended the student on Feb. 20 for "insubordination"
and instructed him to transfer to another high school, Volk told
the Great Falls Tribune. Superintendent Bryan Dunn and
Davis have since stressed earlier disciplinary problems as the
reason for the punishment.
"This is not simply about a student posting something
on a Web site," Dunn told the Tribune.
Macek's ruling last week followed seven hours of testimony
that lasted for three days. In it, she wrote, "The testimony
was clear that [Volk] was not in any danger of being suspended
or otherwise disciplined after Jan. 9, 2002, for the actual taking
of the photographs. It was only when Mr. Volk engaged in First
Amendment activity that he was disciplined by the school."
Macek's temporary order on Feb. 28 had allowed Volk to return
to school. After the March 8 hearing, Macek made the order permanent.
Some of Volk's peers welcomed him with high-fives and handshakes,
he told the Tribune. More than 50 students had staged a
brief sit-in outside Davis' office on Feb. 25 in protest of Volk's