What you say can, and will be used against you…not only in the court of law, but anywhere…
Three Douglas County middle school students were disciplined with expulsion or suspension after they wrote disparaging comments on Facebook about a teacher, according to a media report.
Neither officials in the Douglas County school system nor two of the students identified in the article on myfoxatlanta.com were immediately available for comment Wednesday.
The article says two of the students were suspended for writing that a teacher at Chapel Hill Middle School was a pedophile and rapist. A third student was expelled for saying the teacher had bipolar disorder.
William Lambert, Jr., the father of one of the suspended students, told myfoxatlanta.com that while he did not condone the actions of the children they should not be subjected to school discipline for posting things online at home “because it is a privacy issue.”
Except Facebook is anything but private. The courts consider comments posted on the service to be published and therefore public, said Gerry Weber, an adjunct professor of civil rights at Georgia State University. Comments online are subject to the same libel laws that apply to newspapers and other media, and they are also protected by the First Amendment right to free speech, he said.
School systems can sanction students whose public comments cause a “disruption” on campus, he said, but they can’t sanction speech merely because officials find it “distasteful.”
The line between the two is gray enough, and the popularity of Facebook among youths is great enough, that Facebook-related school sanctions have led to lawsuits across the country, Weber said. “It’s clearly a hot issue of litigation.”
Now the question is, is the school monitoring EVERY students’ Facebook page or is somebody snitching?? Think we’ll go with the latter…
Should Facebook, Twitter, and social networking comments be subject to monitoring by schools?