High-school students suspended over Twitter comments

Whereas Facebook is a place for privately masturbating over your best female friend's bikini pictures, Twitter has become the place where you publicly bash everyone and everything you hate. For people who've forgotten that all your information is available on the Internet, and that every stupid thing your little monkey brain can fart into 140 characters or less becomes public information, Twitter has become a hotbed of controversy. And that bed is en fuego for North Carolina high-school students being suspended over their posts on the social-networking site. One of the students compared the school's principal to Hitler, and, chances are, he wasn't praising the principal of Forestview High for his dedicated vegetarian diet or distaste for cigarettes. Frankly, I suspect he was bringing up the bad things associated with Hitler. 

After a large fight broke out at the school, officials reportedly singled students out, had them log into their Twitter accounts and read their tweets out loud — this is apparently the incident that warranted the Hitler comparison. 

“I don’t think they should be able to go through anybody’s tweets." said Pat Harris. Harris went on to say that his third-period class held talks regarding freedom of speech, which puts him in the minority of teenagers, apparently — First Amendment experts say that many students aren't aware of their right to free speech, meaning that many violations go unchecked. “It’s not like students have anybody telling them what their civil rights are,” said Adam Goldstein, attorney for the Student Press Law Center.

Of course, if school officials are tackling the aggregated internet idiocy of hundreds of high-school kids, they're going to wade through an Olympic-sized swimming pool of bullshit, misspellings, and probably about a hundred more examples of Godwin's Law, so maybe they'll realize this is more trouble than it's worth and back off.  

Then again, last Wednesday, a student was suspended after making a bomb threat to the school over Twitter. Christ, what happened to the good old days when kids would just draw pictures of male genitalia all over the bathroom walls and call each other gay? Now they're threatening murder over the internet? Oh, the humanity. 

Tags Twitter

Commentarium (8 Comments)

Apr 04 12 - 12:23pm
nope

101 ways to prove you're not at all like Hitler: #47. Severely punishing anyone who voices critical opinions of you.

Apr 04 12 - 6:47pm
condition Fillsons

a. Suspending a student for something said on Twitter is akin to suspending a student for something they said to their friends at a bowling alley.

b. Here we go again with the false First Amendment stuff. The First Amendment protects our right to free speech against infringement by the government. No one else. Not another person, not a school (even a public school), not a company, no one except the government.

Apr 04 12 - 7:38pm
NN

Right cause a public school is not an arm of the state.

Apr 04 12 - 9:20pm
Rj

Pretty sure those aren't the limits of the first amendment.. High school taught me that.

Apr 05 12 - 8:18am
gd anon

public schools are, in many cases, considered state or municipal actors. the real problem is that politicians decided that students have fewer rights as identified in the bill of rights than citizens who are not in school. ergo, it's not unreasonable to have your locker regularly or randomly searched, but searching a random person on the street without probably cause would be a violation of rights. the school absolutely could have violated the students' first amendment rights, but calling someone hitler is probably not what we consider protected speech. (see also commercial speech, hate speech, political speech in your copy of black's law dictionary.)

Apr 05 12 - 7:34am
etsba

Utter side issue but...
Why do folks still think Hitler was a vegetarian? Figured it was well common knowledge now that twas a myth. I know people might dig the whole contradiction of mass murdering monster with animal rights sympathies but g-d knows where this myth came from but the fucker was no vego, this isn't some German stereotype but his favourite food was apparently schnitzel. And he had a dog named Blondie that he taught to climb ladders...

Apr 05 12 - 10:23am
Bruce Lee

I was with you until the dog... Did he eat the dog? Is that why he's not a vegetarian?

Apr 06 12 - 2:10am
G

I could be wrong, as I don't know much about American law, but couldn't posting on twitter about how your principal is Hitler be considered defamation of character, and therefore illegal?