[caption id="attachment_67363" align="alignleft" width="191" caption="Students' online behavior has created negative headlines in recent months."][/caption]

How far has student free speech come since Mary Beth and John Tinker and Christopher Eckhardt wore black armbands to school in Des Moines to protest the Vietnam War and got suspended as though they were common hooligans? Now, online-savvy teens get in trouble for rudely mocking their elders on social networking sites, and the ensuing court battles rattle—and redefine—free-speech boundaries.

In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, Justice Abe Fortas famously wrote for the...

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