Student tweets raise First Amendment questions

24 Feb

A few weeks ago, a student at my high school was suspended for tweeting a message that used expletives referring negatively toward a teacher. Two of our administrators who actively use Twitter saw the tweet, and suspended him for three days. This raised questions among students as to how far administrators can go in punishing students for online activity. The administration classified the incident as a classroom disruption, but specific consequences regarding social media have yet to be included in the student handbook.

Luckily, our publication and student body has a great relationship with the administration. We’ve won several Scholastic Press Freedom Awards, and they deserve credit for allowing students to express their opinions and views. However, I’m still not sure if this act by a student deserves suspension, especially when no punishment-requirement is in place. Below I posted the link to the story by Claire Salzman, editor on our publication, on the issue. If you have any comments or concerns on an issue related to this topic, feel free to contact 45words over Facebook, Twitter or this blog site.

Remember, Scholastic Journalism Week is about free expression of high school publications, but it should remind us to be aware of our rights in all educational environments. Whenever an issue of First Amendment freedom occurs in your school, the voice of your publication may be the only voice of reason. Keep your student body informed.

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