The First Amendment was not violated by the suspension of a student who sent his instant messaging buddies a violent image calling for the death of a teacher, even though the message was a joke, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

Even if the sending of the message could be seen as an expression of opinion, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said “it crosses the boundary of protected speech and constitutes student conduct that poses a reasonably foreseeable risk that the icon would come to the attention of school authorities” and disrupt the work of the school.