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Federal court to hear arguments from Mississippi student challenging suspension over rap song


JACKSON, Mississippi — Oral arguments in a lawsuit over whether a Mississippi high school student was exercising his right of free speech when he posted a rap song online criticizing two coaches he accused of misconduct toward female students are now set for May 12.

The full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the case in New Orleans.

Last December, a three-judge panel overturned Taylor Bell's suspension, ruling that his actions occurred off school grounds. The full court granted the Itawamba County School District's motion for a hearing.

School officials say Bell caused a major disruption at school by posting the video in early 2011.

Bell was suspended for seven days.

Bell and his mother, Dora Bell, of Fulton, sued the county school district in 2011.

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