A Mississippi student is suing her high school after a cheerleading coach demanded her Facebook password, then used it to access and disseminate private email.

According to the lawsuit the coach, Tommie Hill, told the Pearl High School cheerleading squad that they would all have to give her their Facebook passwords. Several squad members responded by deleting their accounts from their cell phones, but sophomore Mandi Jackson complied with the request.

The suit claims that Hill accessed Jackson’s account later that day, and forwarded Jackson’s private Facebook messages to at least four other school officials. The officials then “publicly reprimanded … and humiliated” Jackson, suspended her from cheerleader training, and banned her from other school events.

Jackson’s attorney, Rita Nahlik Silin, told the Student Press Law Center that Hill’s actions were “a blatant violation of her right to privacy, her right to free speech, her right to free association and her right to due process. It’s egregious to me,” she said, “that a 14-year-old girl is essentially told you can’t speak your mind, can’t publish anything, can’t be honest or have an open discussion with someone without someone else essentially eavesdropping.”

As Lee Baker of the Citizen Media Law Project notes, this incident reflects a not-uncommon belief on the part of authority figures that “they have the right to invade others’ privacy and eavesdrop on private or semi-private conversations merely because these conversations take place online.” In Baker’s words, “asking for a student’s Facebook password in order to read private messages is akin to asking the student’s permission to install a wiretap on his or her phone.”