The Arizona Supreme Court says that a school child must use “fighting words,” not merely curse, to be found guilty of abusing a teacher.
Monday’s ruling overturns the delinquency finding of a student known in court papers as Nickolas S. His age, city of residence and school year aren’t included in the ruling.
The boy was serving an on-campus suspension when he twice made foul comments to his teacher.
He was convicted of teacher abuse in both cases, but an appeals court overturned one conviction because his comment was minor. A second conviction where he used extremely vulgar language had been upheld.
Monday’s ruling says his words did not meet the U.S. Supreme Court’s standard that the language must provoke an ordinary person to “exchange fisticuffs.”