Constitution Doesn’t Protect ‘Shoot You in the Head’ Comment

EUGENE, Ore. — A federal judge ruled that that comments made by a former University of Oregon (UO) instructor where he asked disruptive students if they wanted him to shoot them were not protected by the constitutional right of free speech.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin threw out a lawsuit, filed by Peter Quint, a nontenured American Sign Language instructor, on Jan. 30, The Register-Guard reports. In the suit, Quint stated that a group of students regularly disrupted his class by failing to comply with his no voices policy during sign language classes. On May 4, a frustrated Quint asked, “Do you want me to take out a gun and shoot you in the head?”

Coffin also denied Quint’s claim that the disruptive students created a hostile work environment that violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. He noted that although Quint is hearing-impaired, there was no evidence that the students were disruptive because of his disability.

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