For Discussion: Should Schools Punish Students For Something They Do At Home??

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Categories: Facebook, For Discussion, For the Children, News

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The internet has created all kinds of new issues for parents and teachers to deal with… some, way more valid than others.

What’s your take on this one.

A Sacramento-area high school sophomore who called his biology teacher a “fat ass” on Facebook was suspended for a day for cyber-bullying – an action the school has now erased from his record after a First Amendment lecture from the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Constitution “bars schools from disciplining students for speech, unless the speech creates a material and substantial disruption of the school environment,” ACLU attorney Linda Lye said in a letter last month to the principal of Mesa Verde High in Citrus Heights (Sacramento County).

California law also protects student expression, and the school was exposing itself to a potential lawsuit, Lye said. On Tuesday, the San Juan Unified School District told her the suspension had been expunged.

The boy’s mother, Kristina Dunlap, was relieved.

Her 15-year-old son, Donny, an honor student and a football star, “was just venting like the rest of us used to do, sitting on the grass at lunchtime,” she said. “Students will always talk about their teachers.”

She said his Facebook posting was inappropriate – “I don’t want him to talk about any kind of authority figure that way” – but wasn’t grounds for discipline that would stay on his record.

“He didn’t pose any kind of danger,” she said.

Should the student have been punished for his posting? Would you feel the same way if he had been talking about another student?

And more importantly, should schools be able to punish students for anything they do off campus and outside of school hours, short of committing a crime?

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