An Indiana High School Student has been expelled for using the F-word multiple times on a twitter post. According to Austin Carroll’s tweet:
Though the comment is not directed at anyone, and is in a playful, rather than derogatory tone, Garrett High School still found it to be inappropriate enough to warrant expulsion.
The Tweet is certainly inappropriate, especially for school, but Austin wasn’t in school at the time. The tweet was sent at 2:30 A.M.
The principal has said the school may track a student’s tweets no matter where it is placed, from school or from home. The offending tweet was probably tracked from the school’s watchdog system when the student logged in at school, even if he wasn’t there when he posted it.
“If my account is on my own personal account, I don’t think the school or other people should be looking at it. Because it’s my own personal stuff and it’s none of their business,” said Austin, in and interview with INC Now.
The Senior was just months away from graduation, but that did not seem to phase the school board. Austin is now finishing school at an alternative facility, but he admits that he is missing out on the things that make senior year special.
This situation begs the bigger question: How much authority does a school have outside of school grounds? To me, they have far exceeded their power in this case. If every kid was expelled for cursing outside of school there would be practically no one left. It is not illegal for a student to curse, especially on his own time. This goes far beyond the typical monitoring of student social media activity, which is typically in place to deter bullying and harassment. He committed no violent act, and the use of the word wasn’t even confrontational in this case.
He also happens to be right. “F***” is one of the most versatile words in the English language. It can be used in basically any part of speech.
What do you think? Did the school board act responsibly in this case? What role, if any, should a school take in monitoring student’s social media habits? Tell us in the comments below.