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Student Expelled From Indiana High School For Tweeting Profanity 349

Posted by timothy
from the language-you've-probably-heard-from-your-boss dept.
First time accepted submitter OopsIDied writes with the story that high-school senior Austin Carroll of Garrett, Indiana was recently expelled after tweeting profanity from his own home, writing "Supposedly the school has a system which tracks students' social networks after they have logged in at school. Although the tweet was done at home at 2 AM, the school decided that such behavior was unacceptable and that the most fitting punishment was expulsion. He did use a school computer, but it was set up to use the school network even when used outside the school because the school claimed the tweet was associated with the school's IP address." As usual, TechDirt has some biting commentary about the expulsion. But Hey, at least they didn't throw him in jail.
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Student Expelled From Indiana High School For Tweeting Profanity

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  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:45AM (#39510621)

    Yes a student should know not to use profanity on the school network, just as he knows not to use it in the school building. (IMHO)

  • by oracleguy01 (1381327) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @11:47AM (#39510663)

    Actually this is interesting, the school has clearly established the punishment for doing this. So the easy way to protest this would be get a sizable percentage of the student body to swear on their twitter accounts. What is the school going to do? Expel 30+% of their student body? If they did, it would make national headlines and the people that run that school would become a laughing stock. It would also energize the debate enough where we could finally sort this out. And if they don't expel them, they can't expel this student.

  • Remember kids, wiretap laws and the Bill of Rights don't apply to you when you're enrolled in school.

    Anyone agreeing with the school here really needs to read TFA (specifically the TechDirt article). Apparently he Tweeted while at home, and the school had a system set up that tracked all Twitter logins, recording all Tweets on those accounts. The kid must have logged in subsequently to posting the Tweet, and their spy system picked it up.

    I mean, what the fuck. The school is literally spying on its students' private accounts. I bet their system picked up Direct Messages too, all in the name of anti-bullying. I really hope this kid calls the ACLU and gets this shut the hell down. This is a huge violation of his and the other students' rights. If he had posted the Tweet from the school it may have been slightly different but still an overreaction. This is outright wiretapping, unauthorized use of an account, a declaration that students' private lives are subject to the school's rules... what the hell is going on here?

  • by Gideon Wells (1412675) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:13PM (#39511147)

    It is iffy. This may need more research than just the initial summary and article. From reading comments on the other sites, yet to see confirmation, there are three conflicting versions of the story:
    1) Tweeted from home using own computer.
    2) Tweeted from home, using school computer.
    3) Tweeted from home, using own computer. Accessed Twitter from school where the school then began inspecting his Twitter account.

    Two and three are the most logical with the information given. It would explain the school network part of the story. One leaves me asking why the school is forcing student home computers to use their VPN constantly.

    http://www.indianasnewscenter.com/news/local/High-School-Senior-Expelled-For-Tweeting-Profanity---144022966.html [indianasnewscenter.com] implies that Three is the case. Tweeted from home, home network, visited Twitter from school so the school detection software picked it up. Punished for it.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @12:24PM (#39511389)

    Twitter and facebook are not really private (unless you specifically block viewing by strangers). It's a public venue and what you post can be seen by your school (as this article shows). Or google.

    BTW the school that was spying on students stripping naked in their bedrooms through laptop cameras never got punished. Nor the school with cameras in the boys/girls shower rooms. Hiring the ACLU to sue this school is like a waste; looking at public tweets is a far lesser crime.

  • by KhabaLox (1906148) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @01:05PM (#39511975)

    Why would you set up a VPN that effectively takes over your computer?

    To make sure that any traffic sent to or from said computer routes through your network so that you can monitor it.

    Now, I can understand this on a certain level (e.g. to prevent students from visiting porn sites or spam/virus sites). But it seems what's going on in this case is that the school is looking at packets or URLs to link students to social networking accounts, and then monitoring those accounts for illicit content. That's a bit more intrusive. Of course, there is plenty of precedent for restricting students rights both on and off campus, but actively monitoring (or logging) students "private" online communication seems a bit much. What's their policy on data retention? Do they stop monitoring Twitter accounts when the student graduates?

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:12PM (#39516815)
    Is there a list of schools that are... uh... tolerance schools? Non-zero tolerance? Greater than zero tolerance?

    Going to need to choose a school for my kid in a few years, would rather he not grow up being taught that a police state is acceptable.

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