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Students Suspended, Expelled Over Facebook Posts 669

Posted by samzenpus
from the reading-writing-and-rhetoric dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Two students have been suspended, and one student has been expelled, over negative Facebook postings they made about a teacher. The individuals are in seventh grade at Chapel Hill Middle School, meaning they are either 12 or 13 years old, according. The children are accused of violating a portion of the school code that is a "level one" offense, the worst possible: 'Falsifying, misrepresenting, omitting, or erroneously reporting' allegations of inappropriate behavior by a school employee toward a student."
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Students Suspended, Expelled Over Facebook Posts

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  • Good. Deserved. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Manip (656104) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:15AM (#35396250)
    Called someone a "pedophile" in this age of crazy parents, vigilantism, and indefinite search engine indexing they deserve at least to be expelled. Such accusations could very easily result in that teacher losing their job or worse having some moron fire bombing their home. It is exactly this kind of thing which is driving male teachers out of education in droves.

    Also, this story has nothing to do with Facebook and really doesn't belong on /.
  • makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:15AM (#35396252)

    'Falsifying, misrepresenting, omitting, or erroneously reporting' allegations of inappropriate behavior by a school employee toward a student."

    This is a SERIOUS offense. For a student doing this to a teacher, it's no wonder he's expelled. If an adult falsifies or erroneously reports serious allegations like that, it's a felony! I'd say the kids should go to juvenile detention if they lied and said a teacher did serious stuff to kids.

  • They deserved it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rainmouse (1784278) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:18AM (#35396270)
    Posting on the internet that someone is a paedophile can have some very serious repercussions even at the wild accusation level. Why is there shock horror at the decision to refuse to allow a pupil that falsely the staff paedophiles to attend?
  • by rainmouse (1784278) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:20AM (#35396290)

    Against making executive decisions based on Facebook posts. It's getting ridiculous.

    What these students did was a jailable offense if only they were old enough. Doing things that would land an adult in jail is a fairly good reason to expel someone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:20AM (#35396296)
    The posts in TFA are a little worse than that. If your cousin is falsely accusing adults of diddling children, pull her aside and beat her senseless before she ruins someones life.
  • From TFA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gaspyy (514539) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:20AM (#35396298)

    Alejandra Sosa said she regretted posting a Facebook status calling her teacher a pedophile. She has been suspended for 10 days. “I was just expressing myself on Facebook, because like I said I was mad that day because of what he [did],” Sosa said in a statement. “So, I mean I had no intentions of ruining his reputation.”

    The case will be very important in deciding what falls under free speech and what the school can discipline students for

    So irresponsible name-calling because of a low grade or something is now expressing oneself and an example of free speech? Nice.

  • I hate to be the one to do this but it is in fact already illegal to publish such things about a person and yes the kid should be expelled (and then sent to a boarding school).

    Slander/Libel is illegal and in this case you can be sued over it.

    Facebook 15 years ago would have been a Bulletin Board at the local arcade/kids hangout.

  • Re:makes sense (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:28AM (#35396356)

    Then the school administration should just call the police, or maybe the families of these people should be sued for slander. Sorry, no excuse.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:30AM (#35396366)
    This has direct impact not only on the reputation of the guy, but on the school , and the adminstration of the school, principal, etc... So yeah, the school had cause to act, at least check the accusation, and if wrong then at the very least suspend the student , potentially also going into libel lawsuit for the school teacher agaisnt the student.
  • I did RTFA, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:31AM (#35396376) Homepage Journal

    ...remember that there is no violation her if what the kid says is true.

    I know, unlikely in this case, but it's something to think about. Seems like a way that "policy" could be used to cover something up since kids are usually assumed wrong at school until they are proven right (at which point the administrator starts to ignore them).

    At any rate, in the U.S. we've given school admins the right to pretty much create law by creating a "policy." I am not comfortable with that. It can and has been used as CYA too many times.

  • For kids? Really? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by naetuir (970044) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:32AM (#35396384)

    Kids, much less adults, understand the repercussions of 'inking' something on the internet. This is why it's so important for their parents to step in and stop them from such things. Yes, kids need censors for some of the stupidity that they perpetrate while they are (gasp) children! That doesn't mean you suspend or expel. You take corrective action, and smack down the parents for not doing their job. Yes, their JOB. Having a child is a JOB. I get so tired of people that try to blame schools and governments for childrens stupidity. If their parents didn't allow it, it wouldn't happen.

    On the flip side of this, I think that there is a majority of adults who don't understand the implications of 'inking' something on the 'net, either. The root of the problem isn't even the ink. It's the social contract tat people hold themselves to. Just saying "rape" with someones name connected to it can ruin their life, and that is crappy as hell.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:34AM (#35396400) Journal
    Calling your teacher stupid is fine. It's a subjective judgement. Accusing your teacher of rape is not (unless they actually did it, of course) - it's slander / libel.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:36AM (#35396412)

    Levelling 'paedophile' against a teacher is insanely damaging. They work with kids. As soon as the accusation is made it doesn't matter whether it's true or not. The media latches on to child abuse cases like leeches and while they'll say 'alleged' a lot you can guarantee the public won't think much of that teacher afterwards.

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:37AM (#35396424) Journal
    They're at an age where they really need to learn that you can't throw around the pedophile accusation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:39AM (#35396436)

    Thank you very much. We keep pointing out that there is no difference between doing something and doing something *with a computer*, and now you want to create another law that makes this useless differentiation.

    If they had posted fliers with the same content, they would have gotten into trouble too.

  • presumed guilty (Score:2, Insightful)

    by scotts13 (1371443) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:40AM (#35396444)
    I'm 100% on board with the seriousness of this, but not with the schools reaction. It's a matter for the courts, not the principal, unless the posts were done on school grounds with school equipment. And being "forced" to log onto the account while at school? That should be right out. When a libel case comes to court, the suspect has the opportunity to defend themselves; they MAY have reason to believe the person actually IS a pedophile, rapist or suffer from bipolar disorder. Seems unlikely, but you never know - and now we never will.
  • by NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:41AM (#35396458)
    In the original posting? I mean I was all ready to type up how terrible this was and a school over steping their bounds but then I actually read the article. There's a world of difference between saying things like I hate my teacher or he/she is a moron and he/she is a pedophile.
  • Re:Public school? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:42AM (#35396462)

    First Amendment, blaw, blaw, blaw... These children said these things out of school, it's none of the school's business.

    Did you "read" the article? No, of course not.

    They made false accusations of serious criminal activity. Is that sort of thing protected by the First Amendment? I'm not a lawyer.

    Please get off your soap-box and live in reality. These children's little prank could have had (and possibly still can have) serious life-changing consequences for their falsely accused teachers.

  • Re:From TFA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FlatEric521 (1164027) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:45AM (#35396484)

    When did it stop being free speech?

    The instant libel and slander laws were enacted. We are not free to call the teacher a pedophile, and neither are the children in question. By their age (13) they know enough about right from wrong to know not to lie about people. This student went ahead and no only lied about her teacher, but made a false claim about her teacher behaving in a criminal way. If she had gone to the police, it would have been the criminal act of filing a false police report. As it stands, expulsion for something potentially is libel seems appropriate.

    The only thing that I had a problem with in the article was that the school administrators forced the student to log into her Facebook account. That seems, as the article claims, to be a gross violation of privacy.

  • by mangu (126918) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:48AM (#35396490)

    Public school teachers only work/teach half as much as they did 25 years ago.

    Who will sue them for STEALING an education from students for their own personal comfort/laziness?

    And you think the right punishment for being lazy is being jailed on a false accusation of pedophilia?

    Tell that to your boss next times he catches you reading Slashdot at work.

  • by gratuitous_arp (1650741) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:48AM (#35396496)

    This was a response to the article on zdnet, written by "stevey_d":

    Lawyers make every argument adversarial. This is unethical and divides people whereas they should learn to live better with each other.

    Children often talk in terms like this about teachers, it's normal. What isn't normal is for the teacher to overhear it (or, if they do, they have the nous to develop bad hearing). This is the same for management in an organization. The only thing here is that the kids didn't figure any adults would intrude on their personal conversation.

    The school and the teachers have been ill advised here, someone could have quitely taken the kids to one side, explained the public nature of the chat, and helped them make it hidden or deleted. (enforce privacy).

    This whole case is ridiculous. Kids are kids, they don't always know how to behave, they make mistakes. The adults in the situation were clearly not mature enough in their response. Adversarial relationship no, should very rarely have anything to do with school/kids.

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:53AM (#35396520)

    Posting on the internet that someone is a paedophile can have some very serious repercussions even at the wild accusation level. Why is there shock horror at the decision to refuse to allow a pupil that falsely the staff paedophiles to attend?

    How is it that we as a society have become to treat anything posted online as the gospel? It kills me that people stand there and laugh at the "nonsense" that is on the front page of the National Enquirer or The Sun these days, and then go home and believe everything they ever read on Facebook because well, a "friend" said it.

    Bottom line is people need to stop being so fucking ignorant of what is posted online, and perhaps at least TRY and assume some wild accusation is false before perpetuating the lie like wildfire. And I'm not talking about 13-year old kids here with their gossip, I'm talking about adults doing the same damn thing.

    I mean hell, innocent until proven guilty is only the cornerstone of our legal system...

  • by Bucc5062 (856482) <bucc5062.gmail@com> on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:55AM (#35396538)

    While I do agree that what these students said was wrong, I don’t believe they should be punished for what they did. They need to be disciplined, sure, but the school should not have a right to get involved. This is a very fine line we’re talking about.

    So somehow discipline is not punishment? Tell that to my Mom when I did something stupid like talking back to her. Soap on the tongue sure felt like punishment to me.

    Having read TFA, the issue I find most jarring is that the parents of these children are considering suing the school for their actions. Really? Now that's a grand way to teach children right and wrong. "Gee Johny, you called your teacher a pedophile and got suspended because it was a false claim? Lets sue the bastard instead.". I don't see the argument as being over whether the school had the right or not, the core issue is that kids now feel free enough to use words, to "ink" words like pedophile, rapist, bi-polar as weapons. "Ha, you can't touch me because I am protected". Instead of taking the school to task for taking action to protect their employees, how about we take to task the parents that create children with little to know awareness of basic respect to adults. I may not have liked my English teacher in high school, I certainly may have said to friends, I cannot stand that lady, but had I called her a rapist, my parents would have applauded the school and added further "discipline" to make their "punishment" seem kind.

  • by pwizard2 (920421) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:00AM (#35396560)
    Based on what my grandparents told me when I was growing up, 100-150 years ago, teenagers were far more capable than they are today simply because more was expected of them and they were given actual responsibilities. (and there were consequences for failing to fulfill them) If teens acted like they do today back then, they would have been looked at as being childish and feeble-minded. Even as recently as 70-80 years ago, you would have been disgraced as a parent if your kid did most of the "normal" stuff that teens do today. I'm not convinced that our modern culture of extending "childhood" until age 18 is the right thing to do... it certainly didn't happen a century or more ago and more of often than not people were better off for it.
  • by data2 (1382587) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:02AM (#35396568)

    And suspending them for a few days is all good and well, although a parent-teacher conference was really intimidating for me back then, and frightened me enough. Point is: When you are 12, do you really necessarily know what a pedophile is and that is not just another name you can call someone to piss him off?

  • Re:From TFA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Quakerjono (1561915) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:02AM (#35396570)

    Wait, how did the teacher fail in this case? The students clearly failed because at age 12 and 13 you should know enough to not tell lies about people just because you're angry.

    School district may have failed by actioning on a Facebook post not made on their computers. That's up for debate, but it is perhaps understandable that they acted to both protect the teacher and their reputations and send a message to other students that this level of name calling is not acceptable.

    Parents definitely failed in not monitoring their children or teaching them appropriate impulse control. If you're going to turn control over your children to a school, then you can't act shocked when the school disciplines your child. It's great that some of the parents are considering getting lawyers and giving their children a chance to experience how the legal system works, but perhaps had the parents shown this level of interest in their children to begin with, it wouldn't have happened.

    But the teacher here was just doing his job teaching students. Call a teacher stupid? Well, I suppose, although even that shows a distressing lack of respect for an authority figure who, by all accounts, hasn't done anything to warrant it. Call them a rapist, a pedophile and accuse them of mental illness? All of those are career enders for teachers (again, generally because of parents who are only involved in their children's lives when they smell a payday with a lawsuit) and, unless the student has a legitimate accusation, should require consequence.

    So I see student fail, school fail and parent fail, but how the hell did the teacher fail? The teacher was maliciously and slanderously attacked for doing his job. Seriously, we've gotta stop treating teachers as second class citizens. Just lumping everyone into the blame game to seem fair or even handed is bad critical thinking and neither fair nor even handed.

  • by Noughmad (1044096) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:08AM (#35396596) Homepage

    Even as recently as 10-20 years ago, you would have been disgraced as a parent if your kid did most of the "normal" stuff that teens do today.

    FTFY.

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:12AM (#35396618)
    So, you've got a kid lying, saying that an adult licensed to teach and professionally tending to the education and safety of children is mentally ill. This leaves a stain on that person's reputation in their field, and could make it difficult for their career. Or, perhaps the teacher actually is bipolar, but has it well under control through medication, and you've got a kid spreading private medical information online, in an attempt to damage that person. Either way, you're dealing with a kid that has decided it's within his rights to deliberately and publicly try to damage the reputation of a person who makes a living working with kids. The kid was expelled for exhibiting real malice, and showing the willingness to act on it, publicly, to hurt somebody's career. Good riddance.
  • by ScentCone (795499) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:14AM (#35396636)

    Previously if you were caught writing such a message on the walls , you would have to erase it and then were suspended for 10 days for the action

    You can't possibly be so obtuse as to not recognize the difference between something on a wall that a small number of people might see, and which can be removed, vs. an online posting that can take on a life of its own and become essentially permanent in a venue accessed by billions of people.

  • witch hunt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cthlptlk (210435) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:16AM (#35396646)

    Watch the documentary Witch Hunt (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1196112/ , it is on netflix streaming) to see how incredibly destructive these kinds of claims about pedophilia can be, even if the facts in the accusation are completely absurd. (In another case not covered in the movie, very young students claimed that teachers used a system of underground tunnels to get to a secret dungeon, and this was accepted as fact.) Communities can very easily enter into a kind of mass hysteria and put innocent people in prison. Given the history of things that have happened to teachers in this country, the school policy is not unreasonable.

  • by PJ6 (1151747) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:17AM (#35396658)
    A while ago these students would get the switch, or a spanking, or whatnot, and everyone would have agreed that it was an appropriate punishment. Now we have everyone getting their lawyer. I know on the face of it one could argue that we're teaching them to use the legal system instead of violence... sounds reasonable, but it just seems wrong to me. It all seems so much more, well... juvenile.
  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:17AM (#35396668)

    *expelled* for posting that the same teacher is bipolar.

    OMG, Really?

    Sure. Since we do not know the disciplinary history of this involved it may have been the next step in a series of punishments.

  • by ComputerGeek01 (1182793) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:43AM (#35396808)

    Calling people on their failings is fine. But if Obama decided to skip work for a day then someone reported him for being a "seal-killing lobbyist-appeasing-warmonger" then that report would still be wrong, and it would be less then half as serious as what these girls did.

    What these kids did wasn't the same as calling someone a jerk or an idiot on a public forum. They accussed him of being a pedophile, probably the worst false accusation you could have leveled against you and if any inquiry were made then it wouldn't matter if he was found guilty or not this teachers career would be over right there and then. This would be like calling someone a communist 60 or 70 years ago.

  • by countertrolling (1585477) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:45AM (#35396816) Journal

    Levelling 'paedophile' against a teacher is insanely damaging.

    Only in an insane, hysterical society that encourages witch hunts. Blame your culture, not the words.

  • by Kijori (897770) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {ekaj.draw}> on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:53AM (#35396864)

    This isn't a free speech issue and it isn't a threat to posters on Slashdot. It's a centuries-old rule being enforced in a way that accords entirely with common sense: making false allegations of extremely serious crimes can completely destroy a person's career and life, especially when it's an allegation of pedophilia against a teacher. Teachers have been murdered or committed suicide over exactly these sorts of allegations. The ability to spread malicious falsehoods about people is not a protected category of free speech; it is in fact a type of speech that has been prohibited for centuries.

    I really can't imagine it will surprise anyone to find that they are not allowed maliciously to claim that their coworkers are guilty of exceptionally serious criminal conduct. Not only has it been in every employment manual I've ever had it's also actionable at law without any employment manual being necessary. And even if it were not, does anyone seriously expect to be able to claim that their boss is a pedophile? The idea is ridiculous.

    Legal precedent with a profound and rippling effect? This is a violation of a school's code of conduct, it will almost certainly be settled out of court and even if it goes to court it will be decided at the lowest level and create absolutely no precedent with no effect whatsoever. Even if it did go to the supreme court the only way the ruling could be in any way surprising would be if they did not hold a person responsible for malicious defamation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:56AM (#35396876)

    Even as recently as 70-80 years ago, you would have been disgraced as a parent if your kid did most of the "normal" stuff that teens do today.

    Even as recently as 20 years ago, you would have been allowed to discipline them in public. Now some busybody will call the cops if you raise your voice to your child in public or threaten to withhold some privilege.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2011 @11:05AM (#35396950)

    Facebook 15 years ago would have been a Bulletin Board at the local arcade/kids hangout.

    True, but the kids back then would have been smart enough not to sign their post on the bulletin board calling the person a pedophile. It would have been an "anonymous post". These kids were stupid enough to do the equivalent of signing that post on the bulletin board.

  • by FlatEric521 (1164027) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @11:06AM (#35396964)

    This whole case is ridiculous. Kids are kids, they don't always know how to behave, they make mistakes.

    Punishment is an accepted step in teaching children how to behave, last I checked. If the children didn't know right from wrong, that would be one thing. But they were all 12-13 years of age, which should mean they already know that lying about their teacher being a pedo/rapist is wrong. Once you have gotten past the point of knowing right from wrong, we move to the step of teaching the consequences of doing the wrong thing. That is the punishment step. The kids did wrong, they know it, and they were caught. Now they get to face up to the consequences. Hopefully this will teach them further how to behave in the future, since simply knowing right from wrong wasn't enough in this case.

  • by Idarubicin (579475) <allsquiet@hotmail3.14.com minus pi> on Sunday March 06, 2011 @11:39AM (#35397226) Journal

    ...our ability to exercise free speech.

    Your ability to exercise free speech does not absolve you of responsibility for the content and consequences of that speech.

    Calling an innocent teacher a "pedophile" and a "rapist" - which is what these kids did - is the educational world's equivalent of shouting "fire!" in a crowded theater. Spuriously accusing someone else of any crime is bad enough; falsely accusing someone of being a child molester is beyond the pale; leveling such an accusation at a teacher - who would tend to face immediate suspension during any investigation, followed by dismissal and blacklisting, not to mention torches and pitchforks - is appalling behavior. Many jurisdictions have zero-tolerance, zero-discretion policies for responding to these types of claims, and school board officials have no choice about whether or not to investigate and take immediate action.

    It might frighten you to discover a similar anti-defamation policy buried deep on page 174 of your employee manual that you never knew about, or perhaps it will be an amendment to said manual next month because of this.

    For the reasons I mention above, there's no need to mention these things in the school's rules for these actions to be punishable. If anything, I suspect it's in there to try to protect the students and manage expectations -- if they get an explicit reminder that this type of defamation has serious consequences, they might be less likely to go ahead and do it without thinking.

    By the same token, if your coworker falsely accused a manager of raping one or more of his subordinates, how well do you think that would go over? Would your HR department shrug it off as a bit of harmless fun if it was just because "I was mad that day because of what he [did]" (in the words of one of our students). To take a less emotionally-charged crime, if someone accused the company accountant of embezzling funds, would that be okay? Really? Is there so little maturity and sense of personal responsibility that every company now needs to add "You shouldn't baselessly accuse your coworkers of serious criminal acts" to their handbooks?

    Parents need to remind their children that the Internet isn't some special place unattached to reality. That glowing box connects you to real computers operated by real, physical people in real, ordinary places on the physical planet Earth. Actions taken on the internet have repercussions offline, and vice versa. Defamatory statements are not magically protected just because they appear on 'teh internets'. Disappointingly, it seems that certain Slashdot posters are also unaware of this reality.

  • I was about to side with the kids on this until I read TFA. They called him a pedophile... screw these kids, expel 'em! 2 things you never throw around lightly: Pedophile & Rape.

    If you read the other article, they not only called the teacher a pedophile, but also a rapist and bipolar.

    The sort of damage that could do to a teacher's career is unbelievable. And the parents are saying "my children shouldn't be punished so harshly." And threatening to sue the school.

    Maybe the parents need to do some parenting. Or get a dose of their own medicine (set up a fake facebook page accusing them of being a pedophile and rapist, and see their reaction).

    And maybe a more appropriate punishment is NOT suspending kids, but making them stay LONGER in school. Wash some of the graffiti off the lockers, etc. I could never figure out how suspending a kid was a punishment.

    Princpal: "You skipped school yesterday, so we're suspending you today"
    Student: "So what you're saying is I have permission to skip school today too? Works for me!"

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @11:41AM (#35397246) Homepage

    It this is starting to happen all the time, perhaps all the more reason to start being more strict.
    Problem is that these accusations are often taken as truth by the public, despite it being one of the worst things you can call another human being.

  • The line is pretty obvious:

    NOBODY who is a government employee has any business reading private facebook or emails w/o first obtaining a warrant issued by a judge, and naming the reason for the search, backed by articulatable evidence why said person is a suspect.

    Get over yourself. The courts have already held that not only are facebook posts are public, but also that even deleted posts can be turned over [ericgoldman.org]. Besides, you agree as part of your terms of use that facebook can reveal all sorts of crap. Don't like it - don't use facebook.

    And having at least a dozen other students posting comments shows the posts in question were far from a "private communication" (who knows how many other students viewed the posts w/o commenting).

  • by penix1 (722987) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @11:48AM (#35397308) Homepage

    You are joking right? There is NOTHING private about FaceBook! It's a damned website designed to be viewed, searched, etc. Don't post there if you don't want others to view it. I never did understand this fascination with people posting every drib and drab of their pathetic lives there... And worse, expecting it to be "private" when they have friended everyone under the sun. If you don't want something leaked, then don't post it there plain and simple.

  • by drosboro (1046516) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @12:04PM (#35397436)

    Really? "Kids are kids" is the reason why it's okay for one to accuse a teacher of being a pedophile? Really?

    I overhear (and see) a lot of student conversations. "Mr. So-and-so is a loser" isn't that uncommon. "I hate Mrs. X" happens fairly regularly. But "Mr. Y is a pedophile" is and should be in a whole different category (e.g. a criminal one).

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @12:53PM (#35397818)

    The sort of damage that could do to a teacher's career is...

    ...a sign that society is in desperate need of reform. The kind of damage that a Facebook post by a disgruntled student could do to a teacher's career should be nil. We are not talking about an official record of court proceedings, or a police report, or a doctor's report on the examination of the students, we are talking about a post made on Facebook.

  • by russotto (537200) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @03:01PM (#35398952) Journal

    This isn't a free speech issue and it isn't a threat to posters on Slashdot.

    It is to any who are still in the hell we call the primary and secondary education system.

    The ability to spread malicious falsehoods about people is not a protected category of free speech; it is in fact a type of speech that has been prohibited for centuries.

    It is, but there's more to the question than that. For instance, in libel law, one is not eligible for more than token damages if nobody who read the statement took it seriously.

    Furthermore, there's the question of how much control a school has or should have over a student's life outside of school -- including posting on Facebook. To assert that the school has the power to require a student to show the principal the contents of the student's facebook account, and further to require the student to delete any offending posts, is going way too far, IMO.

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