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Federal appeals court denies Mississippi student's challenge of 2011 suspension over rap song


JACKSON, Mississippi — A federal court has ruled that a Mississippi high school student was not exercising his right of free speech when he posted a rap song online criticizing two coaches he claimed were guilty of misconduct toward female students.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Thursday upheld the Itawamba County school district's 2011 suspension of Taylor Bell.

The court's majority says Bell wanted the song to be heard by the school community and it was. The majority says Bell's song was posted to threaten, harass and intimidate the two coaches.

Bell was suspended for seven days. Weeks later, he and his mother, Dora Bell, of Fulton, sued the school district.

A federal judge in Mississippi upheld the suspension, and Bell appealed to the 5th Circuit.

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