Teens Suspended Over Retweeting Gossip About Teacher
byKaitlin StanfordMar 19, 2014
High school and gossip pretty much go hand-in-hand. But for 20 students at McKay High School in Salem, Ore., they learned a tough lesson recently: Keep it off Twitter.
It all started when one student spotted a juicy little rumor on the anonymous gossip account, Salem Confessions. The short post claimed that one of the high school's teachers shamelessly flirts with her own students, and even mentioned the name of the teacher's son.
But a split-second decision to retweet the post wound up coming back to haunt her—and 19 of her classmates—when administrators caught wind and cracked down, suspending them all.
According to the school, the tweet was just another form of cyberbullying, and by retweeting it, the students were violating their own student handbook, which states clearly that the "use of any electronic communication device to harass, intimidate or bully" is strictly prohibited.
As you might imagine, the students are not very happy about their suspension—but neither are their parents.
One parent, Patty Davis, spoke with KPTV and admitted her daughter should have probably been disciplined in some way; but suspension? That seems a bit much.
"I think it needed to be a learning experience for them," Davis said. "I think the school should have got them together after school or Saturday school, something that wasn't so strict as far as the suspension thing that goes on their permanent record."
Tim Gorley, one of the suspended students, said he didn't really think all that much about retweeting the post. After all, it didn't seem all that serious.
“It’s not even that bad of a tweet, like it was like nothing,” Gormley told KOIN-TV. “I didn’t even think about it when I retweeted it. I just saw it and retweeted it.”
But the administrators at McKay don't think that's much of an excuse, and aren't budging on the suspensions.
In the meantime, the American Civil Liberties Union has condemned the school district for the suspensions, saying they should be erased from the students’ records.
“In disciplining those students because of their off-campus expressive activity, McKay High School officials have infringed on the students’ rights to free speech under ... the First Amendment of the United States Constitution,” the ACLU wrote in a letter to the school.
What do you think? Should the students have been suspended?