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Students Fight Punishment for MySpace Pics

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CN) - Two high school students filed a constitutional class action against their school district and the principal who banned them from extracurricular activities after seeing MySpace pictures of the girls kissing and licking a phallus-shaped lollipop and wearing lingerie decorated with dollar bills.

The federal lawsuit seeks to reverse the sports ban and get the unfair policy that gives the principal unfettered power and violates students' constitutional rights.

Sophomore plaintiffs T.V. and M.K. say the pictures were taken at a slumber party over the summer, off school grounds. They say they posted them on their MySpace pages because they are "humorous."

An unknown person printed the pictures and gave them to Churubusco High School Principal Austin Couch, who suspended the girls from sports for the fall season based on the school's "code of conduct" for extracurricular activities.

Named as defendant with Couch is the Smith-Green Community School Association.

The code of conduct state that a principal can exclude a student from extracurricular activities if his or her conduct "in or out of school reflects discredit upon Churubusco High School ... or creates a disruptive influence on the discipline, good order, moral, or educational environment."

The girls say they were allowed to play for part of the season after they went to counseling and apologized to an all-male panel of coaches.

They say the policy is unfair because it gives Couch the power to punish without appeal or recourse.

The girls say they have been "humiliated" and are afraid to send e-mails and pictures to their friends.

They want Couch and Smith-Green enjoined from punishing students for out-of-school behavior that is "in no way disruptive of school activities," and they want their records expunged.

They are represented by Kenneth Falk with the Indiana ACLU.

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