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