- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A 16-year-old football player has been suspended from his school in Rittman, Ohio, for reciting a poem in English class about his team’s poor performance this season.

The assignment was to write about something that made him angry. Nick Andre, a junior defensive end on the Rittman High School football team, chose to write a poem, titled “Stupid,” about the Indians’ seven losses so far this season, a local Fox affiliate reported.

After hearing of the poem, the school’s principal decided Nick “wrote a mean and disrespectful poem about another student and our athletic director/head coach,” Fox 8 said.

The teen was suspended for four days and removed from the team for the rest of the season for what school officials classified as “hazing, harassment.”

“Who am I harassing or hazing?” Nick asked in an interview with the station. “I mean, I didn’t state any names.”

“It’s like, wow, just over doing my schoolwork, I get in trouble, get thrown off the football team, you know, get suspended for four days, which could potentially really mess up my grades,” he told the station.

Cleveland civil rights attorney Avery Friedman, who is handling Nick’s case, believes the teen’s rights have been violated, Fox 8 reported.

“The breadth of expression, even in public schools, is virtually limitless, unless speech is creating material disruption to the educational process, which certainly isn’t here,” Mr. Friedman said.

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