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Frame The Importance of

Commercial Truck Insurance in Tullahoma, TN

  • Let's face it - truckers in America have always been the backbone of our great country. They still are in modern times. On any given day, thousands of trucks traverse our highways and local roads, delivering goods and products on time so that businesses and consumers have what they need to live life. And while commercial trucking can be an incredibly lucrative way to make a living and put food on the table, it can also be risky and expensive.
  • Whether you're the owner of a fleet, an independent trucker, or have a business that uses big rigs to transport goods, you need commercial trucking insurance to protect you and your client's investments, shield you from liability, and more.
  • That's where working with a reliable truck insurance agency comes into play. Unfortunately, for many commercial truck insurance providers, serving the needs of truckers is low on the proverbial totem pole. At Independence Insurance Agency, nothing could be further from the truth.

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percent The Commercial Truck

Insurance Agency in Tullahoma, TN You Can Trust

Much like you pride yourself on running a successful trucking business, Independence Insurance Agency prides itself on its years of experience providing truck insurance for hardworking men and women across the country. And in our experience, insurance rates for truckers are just too high - so high, in fact, that they eat away at their bottom line, making it more difficult to run a business and make a profit. Fortunately, at Independence Insurance Agency, we provide truckers the freedom they need from astronomically high insurance rates so they can stay on the road and keep driving America forward.

As one of the most trusted commercial trucking insurance agencies in the U.S., we understand the challenges that you face daily as a trucker. We also know how important it is to protect your business. That's why we go above and beyond to find you the best-priced coverage available, whether you're an operator, own a small fleet, a large fleet, or something in between.

Commercial Truck Insurance Tullahoma, TN

We Put Truckers First Because Others Don't

 Truck Insurance Tullahoma, TN

Truckers across the country choose to work with Independence Insurance Agency because we put their needs first before anything else. As experts in transportation insurance, we proudly offer a range of quality insurance products that are both practical and affordable for them. Our industry-leading carriers provide coverage that caters to the unique challenges faced by the trucking industry, ensuring that your business is protected at all times.

At our core, we are committed to finding the best possible price for your coverage without compromising the quality of service you deserve. The truth is, we understand how essential truckers are to the United States and take pride in making their insurance experience more streamlined and affordable.

One way we do so is by simplifying the insurance process. Our transportation specialists take the time to understand your specific needs and budget to tailor a comprehensive plan that works for you. You won't ever have to worry about cookie-cutter plans or uninterested agents when you work with our commercial trucking insurance agency. We take an educational approach to ensure that the entire big rig insurance process is quick, painless, and easy to understand. If there's something you don't understand, we're happy to take the time to explain. After all, the success and safety of your business are on the line.

Looking to the future, we are committed to providing innovative new products that cater to the ever-changing needs of truck drivers. As your one-stop shop for commercial trucking insurance, we are dedicated to your success, one policy at a time.

If you're a commercial trucker looking to ensure your rig, you can rest easy knowing that Independence Insurance Agency provides:

  • Affordable Trucking Insurance Plans for Any Budget
  • Exemplary Customer Service
  • Seasoned Transportation Specialists Who Customize Plans to Your Needs
  • A+ Carriers Across the Country
  • Simple, Easy Quote and Bind Process
  • Multiple Insurance Carriers Quoted to Find You the Best Rates
  • Truck Insurance for New Ventures

Call us or send us a message today to learn more about the best 18-wheeler insurance options for your trucking business.

chart The Commercial Truck

Common Types of Big Rig Truck Insurance in Tullahoma, TN

At Independence Insurance Agency, we offer several types of insurance coverage for local, intermediate, and long-haul trucking needs. Here are just a few categories of trucking insurance coverage that our agency offers.

As the foundation of your insurance policy, liability coverage is required by law in most states in the U.S. It provides coverage for damage or injuries caused to properties or other people if your 18-wheeler is responsible for the crash. Without liability coverage, it's almost impossible to drive a truck or run a trucking business without major legal consequences.

Having physical damage coverage is an essential component that shouldn't be overlooked. This insurance is responsible for covering the expenses related to repairing or replacing your truck in situations such as accidents, theft, vandalism, and other damaging events. By having this coverage, you can rest assured that your business won't be affected significantly by unexpected incidents, and you can continue running your operations smoothly even in challenging times.

For trucking companies, the goods they transport are crucial to their operations. To protect these goods from damage, loss, or theft while in transit, cargo insurance is essential. This coverage provides much-needed peace of mind for both you and your clients, allowing you to reimburse clients for any losses sustained while protecting your reputation and brand identity.

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance is designed to cover property damage or bodily injury that may occur during personal time when the driver/truck is not under dispatch. This coverage can be applied with or without a trailer and is added to a commercial policy as an endorsement.

While Independence Insurance Agency has built a reputation of excellence in serving the needs of truckers, we also offer general liability. Also known as Truckers General Liability, this coverage insures for bodily injuries or property damage that happen due to business activities that are NOT the cause of operating a truck. It covers accidents that occur in parking lots, rest stops, also while loading or unloading. General liability can also cover losses related to theft and vandalism. Most brokers and shippers will require this coverage to work with you.

Bobtail insurance is a type of coverage that is comparable to non-trucking liability, which is designed to offer protection when driving a truck without a trailer attached. This is commonly referred to as "bobtailing." With bobtail insurance, the tractor is covered at all times, even when it is not attached to a trailer, regardless of whether or not the truck is under dispatch.

Trailer interchange insurance is a must-have if you're involved in a trailer interchange agreement. This essential coverage offers protection for trailers owned by other parties that you're using under a contractual agreement. It covers damages caused by collisions, fire, theft, and vandalism, providing assurance to all parties involved.

Curious whether our commercial truck insurance agency in cityname, state offers additional coverage? The following options can be bound in your insurance policy:

  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Reefer Breakdown Insurance
  • Occupational Accident with Contract Liability Insurance
  • Rental Reimbursement Insurance
  • Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance
  • Towing Insurance
  • Electronics Insurance
  • Much More

Three plus 3 Safe Driving Tips to

Lower the Cost of Truck Insurance in Tullahoma, TN

Keeping your drivers safe on the road is crucial not only for their own well-being but also for the safety of other motorists and the financial stability of your business. The Department of Labor has identified the trucking industry as one of the most hazardous sectors in the U.S. In fact, trucking and logistics fleets are known for their high injury and fatality rates. By improving how safely your truckers drive, you can help reduce expenses related to claim payouts, accidents, and insurance premium hikes.

Whether you own a large fleet or you're the owner and operator of a single rig, keep these safe driving tips in mind to help lower your insurance costs.

Implement Preventative Maintenance Plans

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

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 Trucking Insurance Tullahoma, TN

Practice Defensive Driving

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
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 Commercial Liability Insurance For Truckers Tullahoma, TN

Find Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

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 Commercial Truck Insurance Quote Tullahoma, TN

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

 Low Priced Commercial Truck Insurance Tullahoma, TN phone Call Now

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
Commercial Truck Insurance Tullahoma, TN phone Call Now

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

 Truck Insurance Tullahoma, TN phone Call Now

check light FAQs About

Independence Insurance Agency

If you're looking for a commercial trucking insurance agency for your business, chances are you have some questions - and we've got answers. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from truckers like you.

Why go with a "jack of all trades" when you can work with specialists who focus exclusively on transportation insurance? We have excellent relationships with major trucking insurance carriers and, as such, can provide the best assistance and reasonable rates.

Typically, companies will look at claims that date back three years or less.

We proudly work with more than 20 carriers to provide our clients with the most advantageous options at competitive prices, catering to the needs of owner-operators and big fleets alike.

Permit filings are typically done by insurance companies on the next business day. Federal (FMCSA) filings are completed online and updated immediately, while some states may take up to three weeks to process.

Independence Insurance Agency: Committed to the Trucking Industry

There's no question about it - you've got to protect your staff, your rig, and your trucking business with insurance. But choosing the right insurance partner isn't always easy. Thankfully, with Independence Insurance Agency by your side, you can rest easy knowing you're covered no matter where the road takes you. If you're in need of a commercial truck insurance agency in Tullahoma, TN that caters to truckers like you, pick up the phone and contact one of our transportation specialists today. That way, you can get back on the road with confidence tomorrow.

 Trucking Insurance Tullahoma, TN

Latest News in Tullahoma, TN

Eclipse visible in Middle Tennessee Saturday

While Middle Tennessee won’t get the full effect of the “Ring of Fire” eclipse like the Southwestern U.S. this Saturday, the sky will dim as the moon passes between the Earth and Sun during the Oct. 14 annular eclipse.Middle Tennessee will see 60 percent of the Sun obscured at the peak of the celestial event which will happen around 12:05 p.m. Saturday. First contact will begin at 10:38 a.m. and the overall event will end at 1:36 p.m. Total time in middle Tennessee will be two hours, 58 minutes, with the peak occurri...

While Middle Tennessee won’t get the full effect of the “Ring of Fire” eclipse like the Southwestern U.S. this Saturday, the sky will dim as the moon passes between the Earth and Sun during the Oct. 14 annular eclipse.

Middle Tennessee will see 60 percent of the Sun obscured at the peak of the celestial event which will happen around 12:05 p.m. Saturday. First contact will begin at 10:38 a.m. and the overall event will end at 1:36 p.m. Total time in middle Tennessee will be two hours, 58 minutes, with the peak occurring at 12:05 p.m.

Locally, the Hands-On Science Center will be having its “Eclipse Day” event during the annular eclipse on Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some of the event highlights include science spectacles about eclipses, DIY crafts, a bounce house and food and drinks.

“Don't miss this chance to witness the science of eclipses up close and personal,” HOSC officials said. “We'll see you there, ready to eclipse expectations!”

The “Ring of Fire” solar eclipse will be visible to those along a narrow path sweeping over North and South America. At mid-eclipse, those along that eclipse path will see the sun in a ring around the moon. Those outside the shadow path, like middle Tennessee, will see a partial solar eclipse. Astronomers are quick to point out that this is not a total eclipse. At no time during this eclipse will it be safe to look at the sun without proper eye protection since there will be that “Ring of Fire” visible even where it is close to full.

Astronomers call this an annular eclipse of the Sun. That name comes from the Latin word for ring: annulus. At maximum eclipse – for those along the eclipse path – the sun will be 0.907 percent covered by the moon. In middle Tennessee it will peak at 0.622 percent.

The part of the sun that will visible is its outer surface. The main shadow will move southeast from just south of Portland, Ore., just north of Las Vegas, Nev., cutting through Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M. and just south of San Antonio, Texas. It will then sweep over the Yucatan Peninsula and parts of Central America.

When watching an annular solar eclipse directly with your eyes, you must look through safe solar viewing glasses (“eclipse glasses”) or a safe handheld solar viewer at all times, according to NASA. Eclipse glasses are not regular sunglasses; regular sunglasses, no matter how dark, are not safe for viewing the Sun. Safe solar viewers are thousands of times darker and ought to comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard. Do not look at the Sun through a camera lens, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while wearing eclipse glasses or using a handheld solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will burn through the filter and cause serious eye injury.

If you don’t have eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer, you can use an indirect viewing method, which does not involve looking directly at the Sun. One way is to use a pinhole projector, which has a small opening (for example, a hole punched in an index card) and projects an image of the Sun onto a nearby surface. With the Sun at your back, you can then safely view the projected image. Do not look at the Sun through the pinhole.

The next annular eclipse will happen on Oct. 2, 2024, and will be visible from the Southeast Pacific and Southern America. In 2024, U.S. residents will be treated to a total solar eclipse on April 8. The narrow strip of totality for that eclipse will fall just outside Tennessee, crossing parts of Texas, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

While location is important for viewing, so is the weather. Presently long range forecasts for the area give a 30 percent chance of rain for Saturday and predict it will be partly cloudy.

School will clear suspension record for Tullahoma student who posted memes about principal

TULLAHOMA, Tenn. (WZTV) — Newly-filed court documents show progress for a Middle Tennessee student suing his school district.Tullahoma City Schools suspended a student for posting three memes poking fun at high school principal Jason Quick last school year. Court papers argue the memes are pro...

TULLAHOMA, Tenn. (WZTV) — Newly-filed court documents show progress for a Middle Tennessee student suing his school district.

Tullahoma City Schools suspended a student for posting three memes poking fun at high school principal Jason Quick last school year. Court papers argue the memes are protected speech, not deserving of punishment.

Attorneys representing the student say he posted the memes outside of school hours, on his personal devices, and the memes did not lead to a disruption at school.

“America's teens have First Amendment rights. They don't just get to learn about the First Amendment, they get to use the First Amendment. And that means they have every right to express themselves on social media or anywhere else, as long as what they're doing does not substantially disrupt the school day,” attorney Conor Fitzpatrick said.

RELATED STORY | High school student sues TN school district after getting suspended for social media posts

Fitzpatrick is representing the student with the law firm Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, also known as FIRE. Attorneys are keeping the identity of the student private.

New court papers just filed this week show the district has agreed to clear the suspension from the student’s record as the case moves through the court. The removal is not an admission of error or wrongdoing by the district, according to court records.

“We consider it a very positive development. This means that the student will be able to apply to college without the blemish of this suspension on his permanent record,” Fitzpatrick said.

Court papers say the district also agrees to remove two policies from the student handbook that the lawsuit calls vague and unconstitutional.

One policy said students couldn’t post “unbecoming” things on social media.

Another prohibited students from posting things that “discredit, embarrass, or humiliate” students or staff.

“The policy simply didn't give students enough information to know what they're allowed to do and not allowed to do. And that's where the constitution comes in,” Fitzpatrick said.

A spokesperson with the school district says they do not comment on pending litigation.

Principal Quick left the district at the end of last school year. FOX 17 News reached out to his personal attorneys for comment and did not hear back.

Get reports like this and all the news of the day in Middle Tennessee delivered to your inbox each morning with the FOX 17 News Daily Newsletter.

Tullahoma student sues high school after suspension over Instagram memes

TULLAHOMA, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Tullahoma High School student is suing his school. The student was suspended for posting satirical memes of his principal on Instagram, and he says that suspension violates his First Amendment right.“What a student posts on their own time, on their own social media account ...

TULLAHOMA, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Tullahoma High School student is suing his school. The student was suspended for posting satirical memes of his principal on Instagram, and he says that suspension violates his First Amendment right.

“What a student posts on their own time, on their own social media account is between them and their parents,” said attorney Conor Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick, with the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, filed the complaint Wednesday. It names Tullahoma City Schools, the principal, and the assistant principal.

“We are seeking for the student’s suspension to be expunged from his record. He was engaging in expression protected by the First Amendment, and never should have been suspended for it,” said Fitzpatrick.

In one meme, the student satirizes Principal Jason Quick as an anime cat wearing a dress; the second meme shows the principal holding a box of vegetables; and the third shows the principal hugged by a cartoon bird. The student was suspended for three days for those Instagram posts.

“People have been making fun of their principal and their teachers on their own time, away from school as long as there have been schools. And the fact that it’s on social media does not change the underlying First Amendment principles,” said Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick said the school cites its handbook, where students are prohibited from posting video that “embarrasses, demeans, or discredits the reputation of any student or staff,” or posting any social media that is “unbecoming of a wildcat.

“The problem with that is it is also vague. What does it mean to behave like or unlike a wildcat? Presumably, they do not mean an actual wildcat that frequently does not use social media,” said Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick said the Supreme Court decision in Tinker v. Des Moines, where the court decided students can wear armbands at school protesting the Vietnam War, supports this case in Tullahoma High School.

“The Supreme Court held that as long as the student’s private expression does not significantly disrupt the school day, the school has no business acting as a censor.”

News 2 reached out to the director for Tullahoma City Schools, the principal and assistant principal for a comment. Communications Specialist Zach Birdsong said the district “does not comment on pending litigation.”

Tennessee National Guard hosts career day

TULLAHOMA, Tenn. – More than 90 local high school students from the Coffee County area participated in a career day at the Tennessee Army National Guard Armory in Tullahoma on Thursday, April 6.Two groups of students, from Coffee County Central and Tullahoma High Schools, who volunteered to attend the event, spent the day learning about what the Tennessee National Guard does for the community and opportunities available to them following high school.“I have been looking forward to attending this car...

TULLAHOMA, Tenn. – More than 90 local high school students from the Coffee County area participated in a career day at the Tennessee Army National Guard Armory in Tullahoma on Thursday, April 6.

Two groups of students, from Coffee County Central and Tullahoma High Schools, who volunteered to attend the event, spent the day learning about what the Tennessee National Guard does for the community and opportunities available to them following high school.

“I have been looking forward to attending this career day for some time,” said one of the students. “I have been wanting to learn about the military equipment and get an up-close experience with the Guard.”

Throughout the day, students and school faculty met and talked with current guardsmen, toured the facilities, and were rotated through multiple stations to learn about the equipment and the many missions that the National Guard can do.

The first station the students visited highlighted military vehicles which included a HIMARS, or High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, and a M-ATV or Mine-resistant, ambush protected, All-Terrain Vehicle. The HIMARS is a wheeled system designed for launching rockets offensively and defensively. The M-ATV is a well armored, multi-purpose vehicle utilized in different ways depending on the needs of the troops and mission. Students toured each vehicle and received an in-depth explanation of the function of each one.

Next, the students were bused to the aircraft drop-zone training area where they were introduced to an M-109 Paladin, which is a self-propelled Howitzer, an M-60 Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge, and an M1070 tank-transporting vehicle. Each student was given tours of the vehicles and then watched a demonstration by National Guardsmen as they launched the M-60 bridge layer.

At the final station, the students toured the Tennessee National Guard maintenance facility, where they saw where most of the weapons, vehicles, and equipment is maintained and repaired. Here, they were also able to climb abord an M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, an armored backhoe, and a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck or HEMTT wrecker.

“To be able to talk to these high school students and their faculty about the career opportunities available in the Army Guard, and what benefits the Guard brings to their community, is a privilege,” said Staff Sgt. Erik Brown, the event organizer. “We hope that each of these students left today knowing a little more about what we do and how we support our communities, state, and nation.”

Students from Coffee County Central and Tullahoma High Schools tour a HIMARS, or High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, and an M-ATV, or Mine-resistant ambush protected All-Terrain Vehicle, during a career day at the Tullahoma National Guard Armory on April 6. (photo by Lt. Col. Marty Malone)

High school student sues TN school district after getting suspended for social media posts

TULLAHOMA, Tenn. (WZTV) — A Tennessee high school student is suing Tullahoma City Schools, saying the district violated his first amendment rights when administrators suspended him for posting three memes of his principal on Instagram.One meme depicts the principal holding a box of fruit and vegetables with the words “my brotha” and “on god” over the screen. Another shows the principal as an anime cat and wearing a dress. Court papers say the third meme shows the principal’s head superimposed on a h...

TULLAHOMA, Tenn. (WZTV) — A Tennessee high school student is suing Tullahoma City Schools, saying the district violated his first amendment rights when administrators suspended him for posting three memes of his principal on Instagram.

One meme depicts the principal holding a box of fruit and vegetables with the words “my brotha” and “on god” over the screen. Another shows the principal as an anime cat and wearing a dress. Court papers say the third meme shows the principal’s head superimposed on a hand-drawn cartoon meant to resemble a character from the online game "Among Us," with a cartoon bird clinging to his leg.

Court papers say the student posted these to his personal Instagram account last summer joking about their school principal.

“It was to lightly poke fun at a principal who was thought of as being a little bit overly serious and bring a little bit of levity to the personality,” attorney Conor Fitzpatrick said. Fitzpatrick is representing the student with the law firm Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, also known as FIRE. Attorneys are keeping the identity of the student private.

Court papers say administrators suspended the student for three days for violating school policy. It’s the same punishment given to students for fighting at school.

The school handbook prohibits students from sharing photos or videos that embarrasses, demeans, or discredits students or staff.

Court papers show the district also included a social media policy in the 2022-2023 handbook prohibiting students from sharing social media posts that were “unbecoming of a wildcat.”

The social media section is not included in the new handbook for the 2023-2024 school year.

“It's incredibly subjective and that's what the problem is,” Fitzpatrick said.

The lawsuit says administrators violated the student’s first amendment rights by suspending him for the posts.

A recent Supreme Court decision says schools cannot punish students for expression that happens outside of school and does not disturb the school environment. The 2021 ruling found the Mahanoy Area School District violated a student’s right to free speech when they suspended a cheerleader from the junior varsity cheer team for posting images on Snapchat using vulgar language while voicing frustration for not making the varsity squad.

Fitzpatrick says the student did not post the memes during school hours or on school property, and they did not result in a disturbance at school.

“That's the problem here, which is the school is trying to decide what students are and aren't allowed to say about them, even when the speech doesn't have an impact on the school day,” Fitzgerald said.

The student is suing to get the suspension wiped off his record, and for the district to change their photo and video policy.

“Students have been making fun of their principal and teachers on their own time, as long as there have been schools," Fitzgerald said. "And the mere fact that some of it is now on social media does not change the underlying first amendment principles, which is that if what you're saying and doing doesn't affect school, it's not the school's business."

FOX 17 News asked the district to share their side, but a spokesperson said they do not comment on pending litigation.

Court papers say the principal featured in the memes left at the end of the school year. See the full lawsuit here.

Submit your Crisis in the Classroom tips to news@fox17.com or by calling our tip line at (615) 266-4149.

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