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Teen Suspended for Protesting School Bullying Launches Lawsuit


Amber Hatch refuses to be bullied when it comes to her efforts to stop bullying.

Hatch, 15, of DeSoto High School in Fort Myers, Florida is suing the school’s principal, dean of students and the local school board, claiming she was suspended last year after officials tried to force her not to take part in the national Day of Silence, in which people protest anti-gay bullying in schools.

Hatch says she was rebuffed when she requested permission to participate in the Day of Silence and that principal Shannon Fusco said “peaceful protests are against district policy.”

After taking her case to the school board on three separate occasions, Amber says she was warned the day before the Day of Silence that if she came to school and remained quiet “there would be disciplinary consequences.” Fusco even urged Amber’s parents to keep her home from school to avoid any problems, but she would have none of it and arrived on campus with a shirt saying, “DOS April 20, 2012: Shhhhh.”

After her third period class, Amber was suspended.

It’s unclear what she is seeking in her suit, in which she says the school violated her First Amendment rights.

This is the latest controversial issue to plague the schools of Fort Myers. Recently, another teen was suspended after he helped subdue another student armed with a gun on the bus.

[New Times Broward-Palm Beach]

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