Indiana high school student expelled…for Tweeting

Indiana high school student expelled...for Tweeting

Be careful what you tweet. It could get you expelled. (photo illustration)

Madison Dearie, staff writer and photographer, foregin correspondent

If the use of profanity on campus risks expulsion, some schools say its use online should have the same risk.

So,when Garrett High senior Austin Carroll sent out a Tweet featuring a certain four letter word which starts with an F, the school decided he was no longer allowed to continue his education at their school. Carroll had only three months left until graduation. Now attending an alternative high school, Carroll will no longer have the chance to attend a senior prom or grad night or any other senior activities.

So what was the Tweet which ended Carroll’s high school career at Garrett?

“F*** is one of those F****** words you can F****** put anywhere in a F****** sentence and it still F****** makes sense.”

Was it witty? Not really. Juvenile? Maybe. But rude enough to get him kicked out of school? Fellow Garret high students had issue with this one and last Friday threatened to protest until police were called to break it up.

Carroll alleges the tweet to have been sent from his personal computer at 2:30 a.m.; definitely not during school hours. His high school, though, believes the tweet to have come from an IP address on the school’s network, and so on a school computer. Bloggers have come to Carroll’s defense claiming the expulsion a violation of his right to free speech.

Recently, schools across the country have utilized or are considering policies which will make clear what a school’s role should be concerning students, teachers and social media. Where to draw the line, they aren’t quite sure. Carroll’s incident is just another example of this and can be added to a list that includes:

Two other Indiana high school students were expelled for creating a fake Twitter account on which they impersonated their principal; sending racially and sexually charged tweets.

A Kansas teenager who tweeted criticizing remarks about her Governor, on her personal Twitter account, and was ordered by her high school to formally apologize.

A Florida high school teacher who was suspended for posting anti-gay slurs to his Facebook page.

While the courts have most often ruled on the side of students and free speech, consider this, employers are now asking for not only your FB name when applying for a job, but also, the password to your account.

So maybe the best policy, in Twitter style: