Go the F*** to Weep: Teen Expelled For Tweeting “F” Word

Hi Readers — Just read this zekiksftbf
stunning story
 about an Indiana teen expelled from his high school, three months before graduation, for using the “F” word in a comment he seems to have tweeted at 2:30 a.m. In other words, a tweet he made NOT at school, and yet possibly FROM a school-issued computer. The tweet said (don’t expel me from my blog!):  “BEEP is one of those BEEP  words you can BEEP put anywhere in a BEEP sentence and it still BEEP makes sense.”

Here’s what does NOT make sense: Why is the school censoring his tweets? While it does sound like the young man has been a thorn in the administration’s side — he likes to wear kilts, and he suffers from migraines, which make him absent a fair bit — that hardly gives the school license to punish him for what he says on his own time.

Add to this the fact that the young man’s tweet wasn’t bullying or threatening, and why is the school involving itself with his social mutterings  at all? And why the heck EXPULSION? I much prefer the suggestions made by CNet blogger  who wrote:

Could the school have not asked him to recite some literature at morning assembly? The works of the 15th century author William Dunbar would have been appropriate, for he is alleged to have been the first to place the f-word upon parchment.

Might the school not have asked him to recite the famous poem of Phillip Larkin titled “This Be The Verse.” It begins with the lines: “They f*** you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do.”

Might he not have been asked to declaim an essay by Adam Mansbach–author of “Go the F*** to Sleep”–in New York magazine that offered of the f-word: “Its grammatical versatility cannot be topped: You can use it as noun, verb, adverb, adjective, or interjection, not to mention in any mood whatsoever, from exultation to rage.”

And speaking of rage, how do YOU feel when imagine what it would have been like if YOUR old high school listened in on your phone conversations, or confiscated everyone’s yearbooks to see what kids had written — the pre-digital equivalent of what this school has done?  – L

86 Responses to Go the F*** to Weep: Teen Expelled For Tweeting “F” Word

  1. Missy March 27, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    I do hope his parents retain counsel and pursue civil action to have him let back into school. This sort of overreaching nonsense cannot be allowed to stand.

  2. skl1 March 27, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    My high school English teacher told us that there was nothing wrong with swearing occasionally to emphasize a point.

    I don’t mind them consequencing the student for improper use of school property if it was known to be against the rule. But expulsion?

    Also, in order to make this fair, did the school go through every notebook, textbook, etc. to ensure that absolutely every child who ever wrote the “F” word at school or on school property has also been expelled?

  3. enyawface March 27, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    I agree expulsion is a bit far, but looking from the school’s point of view, he was using school property to post the tweet, the school issued computer, or laptop I assume. The school does have some say in how their property can be used, and should have some set guidelines that were shared with the student and parents. Quite frankly though, I would advise my children not to use a school computer for social media,email, or photos or anything whatsoever not related to school, ie, if your not doing school work, turn it off put it away.
    Although the school’s reach on your private time, and how they can use the computer to invade upon that time has been legally established by case law, now many government ran entities do you trust in following the law or valuing you or your child’s right to privacy on their own time?
    As more and more school’s are moving towards the trend of school issued computers, and some states are offering online school for children, issues like these and inadequate teaching, are why my children will be home schooled, and free to tweet as they wish.

  4. Rich Wilson March 27, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    As more and more school’s are moving towards

    And more and more parents are moving towards homeschooling…

    I had about one year of schooling before age 12, and I suffered for it socially. It’s not an avenue I’d take lightly. But if my son’s district started doing stuff like that, and moving wasn’t an option, it is something I would explore.

  5. Bartimaeus March 27, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    @enyawface: The kid insists he was using his home computer. From the article:

    “The principal at Garrett High School claims their system tracks all the tweets on Twitter when a student logs in, meaning even if he did tweet it from home their system could have recognized it when he logged in again at school.”

  6. linvo March 27, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    Coincidentally enough, I just watched Stephen Fry’s episode of ‘Planet Word’ on swearing last night! Turns out that swearing – if used sparingly – helps people remain calm in a crisis. If they are going to expel kids for swearing outside of school hours, I wonder what extreme punishments they have up their sleeves for those who do it at school?!

    Effing ridiculous…

  7. CrazyCatLady March 27, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    I hope he goes on to have an outstanding career in poetry. He is absolutely right on with his observation. I hope he is able to get into the local community college and finish his classes. I think he will appreciate the more adult attitude at the college, among both the students and the staff.

  8. Pierce Nichols (@nocleverhandle) March 27, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Back when I was in middle school, around 1989 or so, I used the school copier to run off a bunch of copies of one of those fax forwards with the many uses of the f-word. I was required to pay for the supplies I burned and given a couple of days of detention for being such a dumbass. That was an entirely appropriate punishment for what I did. Expulsion? No possible way, and it may well fuck up this kid’s college prospect for no other purpose than making some bluenose feel like he has some power in the world.

  9. Emily March 27, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    I agree that it was an overreaction. When I was taking OAC II English (by far my favourite English class in high school), we were allowed to use profanity in our writing if it was appropriate to the voice and personality of the character. I wrote a novella that year, that had a bit of swearing in it, but since it rang true with the characters (teenage girl, misguided mother, estranged father who was an unemployed alcoholic who’d been in prison), my teacher not only allowed it, she gave me an A.

  10. enyawface March 27, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    @Bartimaeus, in that case the kid needs a good lawyer, total invasion of privacy, plus unless expunged, the expulsion has cost him the opportunity of college or a good career. I don’t agree with frivolous law suits, but unfortunately its the only way to get restitution. I would try a direct civil suit against said principal however.
    Yet another reason I believe the American school system is detrimental to the well being of children and would never allow my child in a public school.

  11. Marie March 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    That’s just ridiculous. The use of the F word, even at school, shouldn’t be enough to cause expulsion, never mind on his own time. I wouldn’t even say suspension, it’s not like this is an unusual word to high school seniors in general.

  12. CrazyCatLady March 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    If he has sent in his applications to colleges already, he may be accepted before graduation date. I was accepted to two before I graduated from high school, which made me wonder why I needed to do the rest of the year. It was a good while ago, but I don’t remember anything saying “dependent on your successful graduation.”

    Honestly, as a free thinker, he could well be accepted despite all of this, as long as he has decent grades. Any college admissions people who can chime in on this?

  13. shera March 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    This is one of the reason’s I will not allow my children to accept a school-issued computer ever. In fact, we will be homeschooling the two younger ones beginning in the Fall because of several emails and flyers sent to parents this year about how the school will be monitoring social media at home if the students have such accounts as well as a variety of other reasons. One went as far as saying the school would report any students with Facebook accounts or students who are playing social games. Well, my 10 year oldis an avid WOrld of Warcraft player who uses her dad’s account. I told her not to say anything to the school. I am assuming they meant CPS reports for parents “failing to provide appropriate interaction for the student.” My older two are teenagers and wish to remain in their schools, but I have also told them not to give out passwords or any other information no matter what they are threatened with. That I will handle it.

  14. hineata March 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    I couldn’t see the article the link goes to, but I do think that this was probably just the last straw. ‘Free thinkers’ that are a ‘thorn in the administrators side’ occasionally have to put up with the consequences of their actions. It does seem ridiculous to expel him for using the ‘f’ word, but what else has the little darling been up to?

    As free rangers, we want our kids to own up to their own actions, don’t we? The education system can be a dinosaur, but we knew that before we enrolled our kids. (Or didn’t enrol them, as the case may be). There’s little point in whining when a child who falls afoul of the authority at the school – from the tag Lenore added it sounds like on a regular basis- gets his comeuppance. He will have to now get on with life….and hopefully learn something from his experience. That’s life.

    On another aside, did anyone notice the tragic headline about the boy who died when the cornmeal he was tunnelling through collapsed on him? Couldn’t read that whole story either, but although this is obviously a tragedy, he can’t have been the kind of kid stuck at home playing XBox, to have been wherever you can tunnel through cornmeal (A silo?). There must be free rangers in Indiana then, and I hope this sad story won’t put them off – maybe just a warning about not tunnelling into anything loose is in order?

  15. backtothenineties March 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    You know, i went to a suburban, predominately middle class school where I’m class of 07. If school officials decided to expel every kid that swore out loud or online, there’d be no one left to take classes. This is stupidity at its best.

  16. Donna March 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    As I read this article, this kid was NOT expelled for tweeting something from his home computer or school issued laptop. He was expelled because the school believes that it was tweeted from a school computer during school hours. There appears to be a dispute between the boy and the school as to when and where this was tweeted. The boy said after hours from home and the school says that its tracking system of the school computers indicates it came from the school computer during school hours. There is no indication from either side that the school is monitoring students’ Internet usage off hours. It is possible that the computer tracking system registered an old tweet as new when the kid logged onto his twitter account wat school.

    I kinda agree with hineata. Being a thorn in the administrator’s side is going to eventually bite you in the ass. My guess is that had this kid not been a constant thorn in the administrators’ sides they would be more receptive to the explanation that the tweet was actually old.

  17. Ben March 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Expelled for the F-bomb? Even if this was not on his own time, swearing is not an expulsion offense. Consistent absence without reason, violence, real weapons and drug use are.

  18. skl1 March 27, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    I agree this young man was probably a pain in the butt (as are many students who are not expelled). The question is whether the school should be able to use its authority to ruin a teen’s life opportunities over that. I would be more inclined to fire an educator who could overreact to such an extent than to expel a student for a verbal stunt that was not even directed at anyone.

    And also, I hope they are firing every teacher who ever dropped the F-bomb on school premises (including in the teacher’s lounge). If it’s such a terrible thing that it merits expulsion, nobody should be allowed to do it (least of all those on the school payroll).

  19. Lola March 27, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    Sorry, don’t have the time to read everything thoroughly. Lenore, I don’t quite see eye to eye with you on this. This tiny little incident may not be grounds for expulsion, but it seems that it was just the last straw.
    If we ask for principals and teachers to know when to bend the rules when the circumstances ask for it, then we have to understand that it goes two ways.
    There are many job placements where this boy’s attitude would have got him fired. Okay, a suspension would have been a lighter warning, but really, at his age he should know better than to cause trouble again and again.

  20. skl1 March 27, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    The thing is, schools are not little fiefdoms where educators have to be treated like gods. At least, they should not be. The point of the schools is to prepare kids for adult life. And, kids are forced to attend – finding something more fun-and-free to do is not a realistic option. Naturally teens are going to test their boundaries at school – nothing new about that – and there need to be consequences to keep their classmates and teachers safe and the environment conducive to learning. I cannot see how this boy’s tweet (regardless of time of day) was any threat to any classmate, teacher, or the learning environment. Unless you count the threat to the educators’ EGO. Bruised staff egos are not sufficient reason for expulsion.

    And no, you can’t compare school with a job. In the USA, we choose our careers and our jobs and whether or not we’re going to report to work each day. School is mandatory and often kids have no choice of school, teacher, or class. And besides, teens are teens. I don’t expect my 18yo niece to act the same way I act. She’s a flake and a spaz, but she’ll grow up enough by the time she has a professional position.

  21. Lola March 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    I’m sorry if my comment was irrelevant to the case Lenore exposed. It’s just that recently I’ve had to address the topic of respecting the authority with my eldest. It’s in her interest to be on good terms with her teachers, as it will be in her interest to be on good terms with her employer.
    That’s all I meant, really.

  22. Heather G March 27, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    I have the feeling this will bite the school on the butt. Playing games with students educations, especially if they have proof (which if this students claims are true there will be) is always dangerous.

    My senior year of high school I went on an out of state field trip to a conference. This trip was an annual event for the journalism classes and was my third time. We had a new teacher who had previously taught at a middle school. She clearly wasn’t ready for the level of independence our high schools journalism department was accustomed to operating under. On the last day of the conference there was a speaker from our area. Because most of our local schools knew him quite well, as well as the newspaper series he was there to talk about, he went around to the schools from our area and suggested that we not stick around to hear the same thing yet again. Our teacher had never heard him speak so we set up a group for her to sit with as well as a private interview with the speaker. We got her permission and went out to dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. When I reported to yearbook the next day I was called in to the principal’s office. The principal had been looking for a reason to expel one of the students from the field trip and claiming we didn’t have permission was her opportunity, but it would mean all seven of us would have to be expelled. Little did she know that a) I had witnesses to getting permission including the speaker, b) I had worked on the campaigns of two school board members and c) I had enough credits to have graduated the year before and expelling me would mean that I could take my weighted 4.17 GPA to her rival school where it would be added to overall student GPA and percentage of students who attend and graduate college (the other six students involved were also high GPA and all had acceptance letters to colleges). Turns out that the last point was the straw that broke the camel’s back because she couldn’t afford to lose any academic standing, even just on paper, as it was one of the poorest performing schools in the district and her job was already on the line. The school board caught wind of what she had tried to pull (not from us) and was fired the next year.

  23. cspschofield March 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    I have to assume that this is because the school hasn’t been sued for a while, and the administration feels that it is falling behind its peers and will suffer ridicule at education conventions.

  24. Danielle F March 27, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    So what really bothers me about this situation is that this girl: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/03/25/reddit-users-help-girl-take-action-against-her-bully/ walked into her high school principal’s office with a stack of copies of tweets to her and her friends from a school bully that said things like “why are you even still alive?” and nothing was done. But a kid just putting thoughts into cyberspace is expelled?? a perfect example of how the system, and those in power pick and choose when they are going to utilize rules they have put in place and to what means. They did not like this student and so expelled him, which I am sure they can point to some rule and say they had that right. The bully in my example was a popular student who didn’t really cause much problem for the administration and so it was brushed aside. I’m sure someone said something to the effect of “oh, boys will be boys” or something equally stupid. UGH, get your priorities straight people!

  25. Cynthia March 27, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    I don’t think expulsion should have a “last straw”. If nothing you did qualifies for expulsion by itself, you shouldn’t be expelled. A possible exception would be sustained disruption of classes over time, but in that case, this final event would not qualify, even if it happened during school hours. You can’t look for an excuse to expel someone, even if you’d like to.

  26. mrjosephsdad March 27, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    @enyawface, if i use a pen i got from school to write that word on a gas station wall, should i get expelled? suspended? reprimanded? what if i take a single sheet of paper out of the printer at the school and borrow their scissors and cut the letters out and paste them on a wall that doesn’t belong to the school, what should my punishment be then?

  27. merindab March 27, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Shoot I graduated high school in ’97 and remember being endlessly amused by an old sound file about how the F word could replace every word in a sentence. Of course we didn’t have twitter or youtube then, so it was harder to spread

  28. LRH March 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    What is with schools & jobs poking around what someone says & does on their own time? What happened to CLEAR separation from work/school & personal time?

    Moreover, to me, what a person posts on the Internet should have no affect on their non-Internet life. To me the Internet is an “alternate reality” that has no bearing on real life, especially where it regards posting comments. I am so serious in how I feel about this, I would even disagree with someone being fired from the NAACP for posting the “n-word,” ESPECIALLY if (a) they did so on their own time on sites they visit in their own time on their own computer and (b) if they were posting under an alias. I might could agree with action if, say, the person was using Facebook & sharing such things with others on his friends list who knew him in his capacity at his job, but otherwise, there should be no “spillover” whatsoever.


  29. Christi March 27, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    I think that the only thing that matters here is if he knew the possible consequences ahead of time. Was there an agreement that he signed when he took control of a school computer? Were prohibited actions spelled out in advance and were consequences listed (and what was allowed during school as opposed to after school?) If so, if he knowingly and willingly broke the school’s rules, expel away! If not, then he’s only guilty of lacking common sense and they should fight this tooth and nail.

  30. justanotherjen March 27, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    *shakes head in amazement of stupidity*

    All I can think is that I went to an all girl Catholic high school (class of 95) and if they expelled kids for cussing in the hall or writing the words down or whatever, there would have been almost no one in our graduating class, lol

    The halls were filled with profanity between classes and the teachers/nuns did nothing. How do you police 2000 girls? Obviously if we swore in class we’d get reprimanded (if it continued probably a lunch detention and then after school detention).

    And I remember sophomore year we read Catcher in the Rye and the teacher shut the door because she refused to edit out the swear words when she read out loud but the little old nuns (there was a retirement home for the nuns attached to the school) would go bonkers if they heard. And when we were asked to read out loud we were expected to read it as is, too.

    Profanity, at the most, got you a detention or maybe having to write, “I will not swear,” a couple hundred times. Of course, we didn’t have social media back then (our school didn’t even have internet while I was there). I doubt they allow kids to get on twitter during school hours. They’re supposed to be using the computers to do research or homework, not chat with friends.

  31. Rich Wilson March 28, 2012 at 1:01 am #

    For everyone who says this was just the final straw, and that he was a pain in the butt- I would argue that one should not be expelled, or arrested, for being a pain in the butt. Fired perhaps, but you don’t have a ‘right’ to a job.

    If you want to expel/arrest someone who is a pain in the butt, then do it when they actually break a rule. And if he really did it on his own time, not during school hours, then I don’t care who ‘owns’ the computer- it’s a silly rule. If they really want a rule about using school property for non-school activity, then they have to be consistent about it. You can’t do anything other than school work. What word you tweet is irrelevant, it’s that you tweet. And you can only play school approved music on your school provided trumpet. And you can’t read anything but the assigned stories in your Literature reader. If it’s really about school property, then make it about school property, and be consistent.

    Telling a student what they can or cannot say out of school hours is a violation of their freedom of speech. Or at least should be. Recalling “Bong Hits 4 Jesus”, he could very well lose this case.

    And lastly, those people who are a “pain in the butt” are the ones who define our freedoms. If he doesn’t have the right to tweet “fuck”, then consider who’s going to be questioning your speech. Much as I despise the WBC, they are that kind of freedom defining “pain in the butt”

  32. pentamom March 28, 2012 at 1:34 am #

    Yeah, I think the point is not so much that he “deserved” to be expelled for the last straw of pain-in-the-buttism; it’s more of a “look, that’s how life works” thing.

    It may have been the wrong action on the school’s part but the kid WAS setting himself up for a bad outcome. There’s a reason why we teach our kids not to be idiots — because even when it’s written down somewhere that you have a “right” to be an idiot in one way or another, it’s generally not to your benefit to exercise it without a really good reason (and a kid’s reasons are only very, very rarely that good.)

    “To me the Internet is an “alternate reality” that has no bearing on real life, especially where it regards posting comments.”

    LRH, you have the right to believe that and act on it, but it’s a view that’s neither widely shared nor, actually, correct. You see, the people on the other end of the Internet are real people, they’re not just virtual characters that you interact with in Internet-land, and so if you say something that affects them negatively, that is *exactly the same thing* as saying it with your mouth or on a printed piece of paper that you hand them. Why wouldn’t it be?

  33. jmetzner March 28, 2012 at 2:19 am #

    Isn’t this just about power? The school shows all the students that they’re one misstep away from TOTAL EXPULSION so that they’ll be more compliant.

  34. Jen G. March 28, 2012 at 2:38 am #

    You know, I am just one of those old fashioned parents, I guess, when it comes to technology and social media. I don’t think schools should be issuing computers to students. Heck, unless the kid is taking a class concerning computers or the class is online, there is no need to use a computer at all in school. People got on fine without them for generations.
    I also don’t see the need for teens to have social media accounts, email or cell phones. These things are not necessities. They are luxuries.

  35. skl1 March 28, 2012 at 4:29 am #

    Pentamom: “look, that’s how life works” – I don’t agree at all. Cutting off someone’s education can be more aptly compared to cutting off his food supply than firing him from a job. A HS diploma is a need for all intents and purposes, and the public schools wield the sole power over this diploma for the majority of US kids.

    Also, making the teachers feel less than worshipped is not the same as failing to perform at one’s job. And using the F word in a tweet is not the same as cussing out one’s boss.

    If the kid said “F-you” to the teacher or “I’m gonna F you up” to another student, then yes, get him out of there. But this is just not comparable at all. It’s just a power play as someone else said, and “that’s life” doesn’t cut it.

    How about this idea. If parents forbid kids to tweet or email profanity using the home internet connection, should it be legal for underage offenders to be kicked out of the home just for that?

  36. Kaylee March 28, 2012 at 5:00 am #

    I think it’s pretty clear that we don’t have the whole story here.

    ““To me the Internet is an “alternate reality” that has no bearing on real life, especially where it regards posting comments.”

    I couldn’t disagree more. Nor could all the people who have been stalked, harassed, fired, or sued over comments they’ve posted. Like it or not, the Internet is part of the real world and we need to teach our children to treat it as such. It isn’t just a giant pit where everyone gets to pitch sand in each other’s eyes free of consequences.

  37. Melody March 28, 2012 at 5:14 am #

    We don’t have the whole story, and due to privacy issues, I would be willing to bet the administration can’t share everything. The kid probably did some pretty bad things, WAS given a second chance with the condition that he couldn’t cross the line at all, and he chose to.

    For those of you bemoaning this child’s education being “cut-off” or that he has a “right” to education. Those are the mentalities that are KILLING public education. I would say this kid doesn’t give a flip about education and wants out. I have seen it time and time again, but let’s blame the school. So if the school bends over backwards to keep these kids in, which they have to do, those are the same kids who constantly disrupt the education of everyone else. Then you bemoan the lack of education happening due to lack of discipline. The school can’t win.

    Until we treat public education as a privilege which you can lose, it will not improve. Yes, we all have the “right,” but if kids choose to be constant disruptions then they choose to opt out.

  38. pentamom March 28, 2012 at 5:42 am #

    “Pentamom: “look, that’s how life works” – I don’t agree at all. Cutting off someone’s education can be more aptly compared to cutting off his food supply than firing him from a job. A HS diploma is a need for all intents and purposes, and the public schools wield the sole power over this diploma for the majority of US kids. ”

    But it IS how life works because that’s what happened to him — he kept OD’ing on stupid, and he paid the price.

    I am not saying that it was fair, I’m saying it’s reality. Don’t be incorrigibly stupid, and you won’t have to deal with the results of it.

    I agree that we should object to unfair punishments, but the reality is, the best way to avoid being unfairly punished for being objectively stupid is not to be stupid. Being punished when you don’t do anything wrong — now that’s a different problem.

  39. pentamom March 28, 2012 at 5:44 am #

    BTW, by “that’s how life works” I’m not saying “this is preparation for real life, that’s how adults get treated.” I agree, in adult life, as in school, there are ways that unfair treatment can and should be objected to and addressed when it happens. What I mean is that if you keep being stupid, it’s going to come back and bite you in one way or another, even if it’s unfair, because unfairness is part of how the world works, as well.

  40. Heather G March 28, 2012 at 6:34 am #

    Whether or not the kid was a problem student, has a right to continue his education, or is stupid beyond redemption doesn’t matter *if* the tweet was sent from his personal computer on his own time as he claims. It’s the parents job to prepare the kid for the fact that life is unfair and crap happens when you make stupid choices. It is not the school’s job, at tax payer expense no less, to teach these lessons by expelling a student for something that involved neither school property nor time. If there is no more to the story than has been presented the school overstepped it’s bounds (obviously if he violated school rules either on school time or property that makes it a very different case).

  41. Donna March 28, 2012 at 6:45 am #

    “Cutting off someone’s education can be more aptly compared to cutting off his food supply than firing him from a job. A HS diploma is a need for all intents and purposes, and the public schools wield the sole power over this diploma for the majority of US kids.”

    Accept they DIDN’T cut off his education. They sent him to alternative school where he will get a high school diploma and graduate when scheduled to graduate. It states as much in the article. Maybe we do have a reading comprehension issue in this country. His complaint is that he is cut off from going to the prom and other senior year festivities, not that he is not going to graduate from high school. While I agree that refusing a diploma would be overkill even if he is a pain in the butt, I’m not overly sympathetic that he will not get to go to the prom. Seems like an apt punishment for someone who has made a practice of antagonizing the school administration.

    Further, education is no longer mandatory at 16. You can peace-out anytime you choose at that point. Once attendance is 100% optional, why should schools be forced to continue to educate students who don’t want to follow their rules?

    In addition, there are hundreds of thousands of schools and alternative schooling options (homeschooling, online school) out there. Nobody is forcing you to attend that particular school. Expelling you from school doesn’t actually deprive you from an education any more than firing you from a job prevents you from working. In fact the two things are fairly equal. It’s going to be a hassle to get into another school. You may have to put some effort into it. You may struggle for awhile. But, ultimately, those who want an education will be able to get one.

  42. Donna March 28, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    That should be “except” and not “accept.”

  43. LRH March 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    Kaylee and Pentamom I stand by what I said, respectfully. The Internet, especially if you are using an alias as opposed to your real name making it obvious exactly who you are, to me it is all about being able to “pitch sand in each other’s face” all you want to, no consequence whatsoever. Most certainly. To me, that’s the #1 reason to even HAVE an Internet.

    To me, it’s an outlet, much as cartoons or video games can be or are to other people. That is, you can play a game where you’re a race car driver & anyone and everything that gets in your way, you’re free to run it over and demolish the fool out of it, things you would get in serious trouble for doing in real life. In like manner, when you’re conversing with “bigmoma312” and “supastar912” and you don’t know a thing about them, you’re not necessarily inclined to be of the same mentality in how you express yourself if the names are “Donna Smith” or “Jason Parks” with hometown, current picture, employment history etc all right there, & especially if you know the person in real life. You feel much more free to express yourself totally uncensored. I love it, personally.

    As an example, a hobbyist photographer, most of you won’t understand this, but with SLR cameras, I disliked it when they started having the ability to record video. I was very passionate about this. I absolutely LOVED being able to go into the forums & debate this with a very intense level of passion, suggesting the camera makers were only including this feature to placate the “YouTube soccer moms with no capabilities who wouldn’t know a real camera if it bit their baby in the diaper” (vs someone who was into photography for a paid-for profession or as an enthusiast/hobbyist and actually KNOWS a thing or two about the subject matter).

    Would I dare talk that way to someone I know in person? No. But to a group of us calling ourselves “canonguy931” or “pentaxlvr312” and not talking face-to-face, and we will never ever meet, and we’re not trying to financially harm the other person? Most certainly, you will feel free to passionately debate the issue totally unchained.

    If THAT is what the teen was doing, and someone went out of their way to figure out that “teenguy3193” was him when he was using an alias, then I say–they went looking too hard. Anyone posting under an alias is clearly doing so to be able to “vent” in this manner in this “alternate reality” & that is their right to do so WITHOUT ANY CONSEQUENCES IN THE REAL WORLD.

    Basically, what I’m saying is this–if the teen was saying “I want to blow up my high school” and doing it on his Facebook with friends of his who go to his school, then I can somewhat understand that getting attention. But if someone posts in a forum, merely venting, “I hate my school & sometimes I wish they’d blow the damn place up” and they are just VENTING and doing so as “crzyguy3912,” that should be 100% left alone.

    To me, such “venting” is a healthy outlet and certainly far preferable to actually DOING something. And a person should be able to use the Internet to “vent” this way without fear of repercussion of any sort whatsoever.


  44. LRH March 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    If I may expand a bit, part of the problem too is an increasing tendency for employers & schools, among others, to think that what their students or employees do outside the building is any of their business. They don’t understand that “separation” between work & after-work or school & after-school and about how, as George Costanza put it so eloquently in that “Seinfeld” episode (“The Pool Guy”), you don’t want the “worlds to collide” (although he was referring to his “single” side & “relationship with Susan” side not getting mixed up, not a work/after-work thing).

    Anybody remember that cheesy 70s money “Thank God It’s Friday,” starring Donna Summer? Remember the dental hygeniest who became a “disco freak” by night? Watching that movie as I did, I got the impression that it was a given that her night-life as a drugged-up disco freak was totally not any of her employer’s business so long as she was “clean” on her employer’s time and acted properly in her capacity there. That one guy who danced with her who was a very “tight” accountant by day? Not his employer’s business that he was dancing with a “druggie” that night.

    In other words, what students do outside of class is not the school’s business so long as they behave AT SCHOOL, and what employees do outside of work is none of their business so long as they perform the job properly at work. Too many schools/employers now don’t seem to get this. Some do: my last job employed a receptionist who was a “party girl” big-time, she even bragged about how she had her 2 year old son pose with a can of beer as her profile photo (the can was empty & she stressed she absolutely DOES NOT let her son have beer, it was just a joke). At work, though, she did her job professionally and was reliably on-time etc, and she “put on a good face” for all who entered the front door. That she was a “party girl” after 5 pm was irrelevant, and none of their business, not even when she was talking about it on her Facebook & she had some co-workers as friends (apparently, none of them were her boss).

    The only time I think it matters would be if, say, you hired someone and they were also a drug dealer or “john” by night, or if you are a church employing someone who gives lessons/sermons about being faithful to your wife but this same person also works as a disc jockey at a strip club. That I can see as being a problem. On the other hand, I myself–and I am NOT proud of this–but many years ago I worked as a disc jockey at a strip club at night, while also working at places ranging from Wendy’s to a temp filing clerk assignment at a local elementary school by day. I managed to keep these 2 separate, I did my job at the day job without my night job “bleeding into” my day job in anyway. As far as I was concerned, unless my night job meant I was late for work, it was absolutely none of their business.

    That it could be or should be never entered my mind as even a possibility, & that’s how it should be today, with those few noted exceptions. By the same token, even (say) a school teacher is still a human pursuing a full life. What business is it of their employer if they, during their vacation, get plastered drunk in Denmark, even if photos documenting this are there for one to see? It’s still irrelevant to their job & none of their employer’s business.


  45. Donna March 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    I do agree that, if the tweet is shown to have been made after school hours from a home computer, the expulsion should be lifted. The school has an interest in protecting its own integrity by not allowing such tweets during the school day if it wants. There is no great freedom of speech issue. He doesn’t have some right to access twitter at school. The kid isn’t even original. I’ve read that exact same tweet, or very close approximations, several times as statuses on facebook and my space. But once a kid leaves school for the day, the school ceases to have any control over his behavior.

    I somewhat agree with LRH about the job. If you keep your work and business lives separate, it is none of your employer’s business what you do in your off hours. However, work and private life intertwine on the Internet in ways that they don’t in real life. If you are a stripper at night, odds are your work clients will never know and those who do are unlikely to mention anything to your boss thereby outing themselves as strip club customers. But you’ve likely friended coworkers, bosses, customers, clients, competitors and other work contacts on your social media. A facebook picture of your toddler with beer is none of your employer’s business … until you friend work clients who find it off-putting. If you are going to involve clients, customers, vendors, suppliers, etc in your social network communications, your employer has every right to be concerned about the persona you put out there. So if a school teacher is friending students and parents, the school has a right to be concerned that she is posting pictures of herself plastered in Denmark. That is why who you friend and what you post should be well thought out.

  46. Kimberly March 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    Danielle F,
    I strongly suggest that people like the young lady in your story bypass the school and go straight for the cops. Making threats is a criminal activity. The other student needs to go to jail, for making threats. Basically my rule of thumb is if it is a crime off campus, it is a crime on campus. Document document document then press charges and if possible get a RO that prohibits the bully from coming on school grounds.

  47. LRH March 28, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    As usual Donna makes so much sense. What she wrote, every school & business (and employee/student) should read. It makes perfect sense.

    So yes, Donna (I believe you’re an attorney correct?), if you “friended” clients or other attorneys & were going out of your way to show your topless Mexico exploits, probably not a good idea. However if you were sharing your exploits with life-long classmates and close friends etc who know & think of you as much as who you are PERSONALLY vs who you are PROFESSIONALLY, and you did NOT share such with people at your law office, that should be totally okay.

    Where the problems arise; when someone from your “inner circle” feels compelled to go out of their way to share it with someone from “the outside.” In that case, you shouldn’t be held accountable, the “narc” should, & the client/employee etc should tell the narc “what Donna does in her own time is none of my concern, I don’t want to hear about it.” Too often, though, they give the “narc” a platform & make an issue of it when they shouldn’t be doing so.

    Other problems arise when a job applicant is compelled to disclose this “separate world” personna to their company, they may be asked to “friend” someone at the company or (as has been in the news) even share their Facebook login. Any such thing I vehemently disagree with. If I apply for a job & they ask me to do any such thing, I will adamantly refuse and very passionately let them know that I disagree with the practice.

    I mean, from my standpoint, maybe my boss is a sleaze who cheats on his wife or does things like goes to certain hot tub resorts where nudity is allowed even amongst males & females together. I’d rather not have those exploits thrown in my face, but neither is it any of my business to go digging around & making light of it within the workplace either. How would my boss like it if I did that? It’s irrelevant to the working relationship, and I deserve the same respect back (as do all other employes).

    The school in this case needs to get this through its head, if such applies here.


  48. pentamom March 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    “To me, it’s an outlet, much as cartoons or video games can be or are to other people.”

    The problem is, it doesn’t function for everyone the way it functions inside your own head. You can’t take an objective reality outside your own mind and define it purely according to the role it plays in your mind, and expect everyone else to follow that definition.

    I don’t disagree with the idea that what you do on the Net on your own time isn’t your school’s or your boss’s business *up to the point where* it actually impinges on your works, such as the cases Donna suggests. It’s just that you can’t say “*I* consider the Internet nothing but fun and games and therefore *the whole rest of the world* is obligated to treat my actions there as nothing but fun and games, regardless of how what I do actually affects others.” No aspect of life works like that.

  49. pentamom March 28, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    “Whether or not the kid was a problem student, has a right to continue his education, or is stupid beyond redemption doesn’t matter *if* the tweet was sent from his personal computer on his own time as he claims. It’s the parents job to prepare the kid for the fact that life is unfair and crap happens when you make stupid choices.”

    Thanks, Heather, that’s what I was trying to say.

  50. pentamom March 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    IOW, I wasn’t trying to say that “good has been done here” because the kid was taught a lesson. I’m just saying that poor little innocent tweeting baby boy found out what happens when you act like a jerk repeatedly after already having found out that doesn’t help you function in life. The punishment WAS excessive and expelling someone for a last straw that shouldn’t even merit punishment from the school (because it wasn’t the school’s business, but you can bet no kid of mine would get away with doing any of what he did) is wrong. But it did not come out of the blue as a result of alien intervention.

  51. LRH March 28, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    pentamom Maybe no aspect of life works that way, but maybe–maybe, it SHOULD.


  52. LRH March 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    I sent the last comment too quickly. My point is mainly that I do NOT think a parent is supposed to teach a child “life is unfair, deal with it.” To me, unfair things should be made fair, the situation (figuratively speaking) should be blown all to bits if necessary. Unfairness should not be allowed to stand unopposed and we just file it away by saying “life is unfair, but oh well, you have to deal with it.”

    HELL no. Blow it up. (Again, figuratively speaking.)

    Examples of this I’ve dealt with: endless road construction. I think it’s outrageous when a city or whatever starts a road construction project and then takes FOREVER to finish up, always running over-budget & taking longer than they said it would. And then, worse, they have the audacity to get on TV & preach to people “be patient, slow down, allow for more time.”

    Why should I? I don’t drive with the purpose of sight-seeing beautiful (sarcasm) orange cones & to get stuck in a cesspool of gridlock. I drive because I want to–imagine that–get somewhere and before my children have grandkids. So if you put up those orange cones & hee-haw around & don’t crack down and get the job done in a reasonable amount of time, I am not going to just “be a good little citizen” and play along with that. I’m going to complain and nag and pester you like you can’t imagine. I’m going to be the biggest pain in your ass possible and make it my mission in life to make you so uncomfortable you get off your lazy butt and finish up before the year 2592. I am NOT going to be all “tolerant” of orange-cones every freaking where I go.

    In other words: don’t shove unfair situations forcefully into someone’s existence & expect them to just tolerate it with a little “life is unfair” bunch of horsepuckey. Sure, there are always going to be things that can’t be made perfect or right, & it’s good to have peace about some of those things rather than always fighting everything all the time, sure. Still, “life is unfair” hardly makes unfair situations okay either.


  53. pentamom March 28, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    “I sent the last comment too quickly. My point is mainly that I do NOT think a parent is supposed to teach a child “life is unfair, deal with it.” To me, unfair things should be made fair, the situation (figuratively speaking) should be blown all to bits if necessary. Unfairness should not be allowed to stand unopposed and we just file it away by saying “life is unfair, but oh well, you have to deal with it.”

    I agree with that. I think I said three or four times that unfairness should be opposed. Would six more help? I’ll be happy to copy and paste it a few more times if it would. 😉

    But the other side of the coin is that if you keep getting in people’s faces in non-constructive and stupid ways for no good reason, it IS GOING TO BITE YOU. Not teaching kids that is just living like you can live in your imaginary world of what’s fair, and not dealing with what can happen to you. And you can’t. By all means you should oppose that which is unfair, and fight back when it happens,but you can’t pretend it’s not out there, and pretending it for your kids is doing them a disservice.

    So we can say all day long that you shouldn’t be expelled for a series of minor, quite deliberate stupidities….but if the kid had been given advice that minor stupidities could cost him, or listened to it if he’d been given it, he wouldn’t have these problems at all.

  54. pentamom March 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    And if he doesn’t learn that lesson now because no one bothers to tell him that yes, his punishment was unfair, but it was also a result of his stupidity, it’s just going to keep costing him throughout his life.

  55. LRH March 28, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    pentamom I agree if the idea behind what you’re saying is for them to KNOW about how this works, but not necessarily to make ACCOUNTABLE for what is an unfair situation. The issue I have is with the use of the word “stupidity” in this situation, because to me that implies that maybe it was their fault somehow, when it wasn’t.

    In other words, not to over-dramatize this, but it smacks of what Geraldo Rivera was getting at in terms of his “hoodie” remark. People became upset at that comment because it seemed as though, to them anyway, he was going beyond just enlightening someone as to “how things are” & actually seemed to almost be saying it was partly Trayvon Martin’s FAULT, or at least that we should not allow our kids to wear hoodies even if maybe they’re a good thing otherwise (warmth, protection from rain etc) because of a stupid stereotype that assumes someone to be a gangsta based on the hoodie stigma.

    In such a thing, it definitely isn’t a teenager’s responsibility to learn “if you’re stupid enough to wear a hoodie knowing how people react to it, you’re partially responsible for the trouble you’re bringing on yourself.” That I DO NOT agree with. But if you’re explaining it mainly for the idea so that they understand what’s going on rather than scratching their head going “I don’t get it,” then I’m with you.


  56. skl1 March 29, 2012 at 12:54 am #

    I agree that it’s not really good to reward this kid by making him the poster child of school stupidity. BUT that would not have happened if the school had not decided to do something so ridiculous. So maybe the schools could also learn a lesson – don’t administer out-of-proportion punishments if you don’t want it to backfire on you and only encourage the kid you’re trying to quiet.

  57. Jim Collins March 29, 2012 at 12:58 am #

    I’d like to know where the ACLU is, wait sorry they are too busy fileing a lawsuit against my county for the cross on the county seal.

    Schools have become too powerful. Last year a group took a trip to Germany during Summer vacation. While they were there several students drank beer, with their parent’s right there with them. Pictures were taken and later posted on Facebook. Right after school started, several of these students were suspended for 5 days and were told that they were not allowed to participate in any extracurricular activities or sports, because they had violated the District’s Substance Abuse policies. The local Court sided with the school.

    My nephew received a 3 day suspension because a teacher saw him smoking on a Saturday in his backyard. My nephew was 18 at the time. I’m not going to get into the smoking issue at this time, but, he was legally able to smoke.

    As far as the “party girl” receptionist is concerned, in my opinion she is well within her rights, but, she needs to remember to not make any refrence to where or who she works for. That can be cause for her to lose her job. If that were to happen, she might have a hard time finding another one, because more and more employers are looking at social media sites before hiring.

  58. Donna March 29, 2012 at 2:09 am #

    IF the tweet was sent from the school, I see nothing out of proportion here. (If it was sent from home, no punishment should be given at all). The boy was sent to alternative school. That’s it. He is still being given a free education. He will still graduate high school. He will still get a diploma. He can still take SATs. He can still apply to and go to college. His life after graduation has all the opportunity it had prior to this incident.

    After 4 years of being a pain in the ass, the boy is now in a position of going to classes separate from his friends, not going to the prom and not going to a graduation ceremony. Even if he has some right to an education, he has no right to a prom and graduation ceremony.

    Compared to the kids who do something stupid, like bring a knife to school, and get their education completely taken away for a year, this kid is golden. I have a hard time feeling sorry for him. Where, after 4 years of being a jerk, is the out-of-proportionness in not getting to enjoy the last fun parts of school?

    Schools are completely out of control in punishing for things outside if school. I do not support this if that is what this truly is about. But kids are also out of control in thinking they rule the world. This is not completely their fault in that their parents let them rule their world. A little comeuptance to a boy who appears to have spent four years going out of his way to harass the school administration seems fitting. He wanted to be a pain in the ass and now he studies in a cubicle by himself and doesn’t get to do fun school things. My heart bleeds.

  59. LRH March 29, 2012 at 2:31 am #

    As usual I agree 100% with Donna. Schools are out-of-line in terms of punishing for things outside of school, matters which are NONE of their stinking business. Just where do they get off?

    Yet also, you most certainly do have problems with parents not making their kids mind or laying down consequences when they don’t. Instead they make excuses for them. I don’t. If my (almost) 5 year old girl comes up having been sent home from pre-K due to misbehavior for things like not going down for a nap when told or sassing the teacher, then I don’t to hear ANYTHING from my daughter. NOTHING is to purse from her lips except “I’m sorry, I was wrong & I won’t do it again” said to me AND to the teacher AND to every student in the class she offended.

    Heck, we’ve been known to take our kids to a church without a nursery to where they had to sit still in the “sermon area” for 40-odd minutes, no squirming no popping no laughing no kicking the back of the seat in front, and get this–no toys either. Guess what–they do it. Why? Because we expect them to & will not tolerate anything less.

    I don’t deserve to be praised in terms of that I think I’m special or some sort of genius, I don’t do anything else but (a) take very seriously my responsibility for my kids not being a burden to other people in terms of bratty behavior and (b) expecting them to do as I say, and backing it up with strong authority. It works almost everytime.

    But apparently, from what I’ve seen, such is rare anymore.

    Heck anymore even dog-owners I find are like that. Get a neighbor with a dog that yaps & barks at everything or comes onto your land yapping at you or even trying to nip at your heels, & they make excuses for it or try and dismiss it with “he won’t bite.” Tell them the noise of the barking bothers you & they act like “what am I supposed to do about it, that’s your problem.” Not me. I have a dog & I absolutely WILL NOT for a SECOND tolerate it yapping at every little thing or nipping at the heels of someone passing by etc. I just won’t tolerate it. Guess what–he doesn’t do it, because he knows that while I’m not going to commit abuse nonetheless if he does wrong I’ll come down on him like a wrecking ball smashing a pane of glass. No excuses are accepted, no excuses made “he’s just a dog, he’s just doing what dogs do” etc.

    It isn’t hard, people.


  60. skl1 March 29, 2012 at 3:07 am #

    OK, (1) we seem to have decided without any evidence that this guy has been a chronic pain in the ass for four years. What I read said he had headaches that kept him out of school sometimes, and he liked to wear kilts. I can’t see either (or both) of these to be grounds for expulsion, even if they occurred fairly often. I do think that if there were frequent in-class disruptions and the boy was warned, he deserved to be removed, but why are some of us assuming he was “that” bad?

    (2) you do know what alternative school means, right? When my nephew was expelled for being beat up while holding a piece of the science project he had been working on (a “weapon”), he was invited to go to the district’s “alternative school,” which would have meant learning nothing and being beaten regularly. “Alternative school” is the modern euphemism for nonresidential reform school. It’s for violent thugs, not kids who wear kilts, get headaches, and cuss online. Aside from it being a far cry from getting an education, how would prospective colleges view that?

  61. pentamom March 29, 2012 at 5:46 am #

    Actually, we don’t know that the kid “had headaches.” That was the excuse of his mother, who was the same person who defended his deliberately disruptive behavior of wearing kilts to school. There are very, very few schools that will not accept a doctor’s excuse for a child with chronic headaches, but there are a lot that will make an issue of chronic absenteeism when there’s no more than the word of an evidently excuse-making-prone parent to attest to the problem.

  62. Donna March 29, 2012 at 7:42 am #

    This particular child is not complaining about declining education, dangerous conditions in alternative school or the damage to his college prospects. The only person expressing those concerns seems to be skl1. This particular child is whining about not getting to go to the prom and do other fun things. I simply do not find his lack of prom attendance something to be outraged about.

  63. Donna March 29, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    “you do know what alternative school means, right”

    Yes. You ever been in alternative school or have any knowledge outside of rumor of what goes on there? I’ve actually been in our local alternative school and represented many, many clients who attended (in my state it’s required after spending any time in juvenile detention so many juvenile clients – even good kids charged with mundane things – end up there). It’s largely a group of kids working alone in cubicles. There is very little kid-on-kid interaction for fights to break out. In fact, we get a handful of cases from alternative school every year. We get at least one a week from the regular high schools. I’ve had more than one kid ask to stay at alternative school because they find the atmosphere calmer than their regular classes.

    My guess is that alternative schools run the gambit from life-threatening to decent and quiet just depending on the area that you are in. I have no idea what this particular alternative school is like. I do know that the boy is not claiming that his safety is threatened by being in alternative school so I’m not going to assume that he is risking life and limb by being there.

  64. CrazyCatLady March 29, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    Wearing a kilt is disruptive? Boy, I should have been expelled from high school. I wore one at least once a week.

    Oooh, you mean it is disruptive because he is MALE? I don’t buy that any more than I buy that long hair on boys in school is disruptive. My husband went through high school with long hair. In the 80s. Wearing a black leather jacket and mirror glasses. He is a person who does not talk to fools, so he didn’t do much talking during this time. He never was in any fights or such. He went though college and grad school and still has long hair. And a job. I bet it was more disruptive to the teachers than it was to the students that this kid was wearing a kilt.

  65. Donna March 29, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    It depends on WHY he is wearing a kilt because they certainly are not common dress for American males (or even Scottish ones anymore). Is he wearing a kilt because he simply likes wearing kilts? Is he wearing a kilt as a “f-you, let’s see what you do about this” to the administration? There is a difference. If the former, you’re odd but to each their own. If the latter, you’re just being a brat and will likely end up paying the piper if you continue on.

  66. gwallan March 29, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    “deliberately disruptive behavior of wearing kilts to school.”

    Big high school near my office. Given the daily passing parade I doubt any of the girls have worked out where their legs finish and their bums start. But a male wearing a kilt? How disgusting. Off with his head.

  67. oncefallendotcom March 29, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Feel free to forward this link to the school:


  68. skl1 March 29, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    What I’d like to understand is: why are grown, educated, experienced professionals allowing the sight of a kilt to upset them so much? Who’s being immature here? At least the kid has youth as an excuse. I don’t see how anyone can expect a student to act more reasonably than his teachers do.

    Imagine this. A student decides to wear an ethnic or religious symbol to school. Let’s use a sikh boy’s long hair worn in a bun. Fellow students call him out on it and threaten punishment. What do we call that? Bullying, right? Because young people are supposed to accept and respect differences. The bullies would be punished and the sikh boy would be protected. But this boy wears a kilt at some point, and it’s OK for the school to bully him out of it. I really don’t care why he decided to wear a kilt. As long as his privates weren’t hanging out, the teachers should have just shut up and taught their class. Giving attention to it (as any mature adult knows) only rewards the behavior after all.

  69. Donna March 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    Schools should tolerate basic differences in people. A boy who likes kilts? Fine. Schools don’t have to tolerate a f-you any more than anyone or anything else. Schools are not required to be free-for-alls where anyone gets to be as big of a prick as they want.

    I think some of you are the heart of problems with schools today. You want them to revolve around you and your kids. Your kid wants to say f- you to the administration; administration has to deal. Your kid thinks a rule is stupid; it shouldn’t apply to him. Parent thinks the rule is stupid; it really shouldn’t apply. Life isn’t that way and few are going to be as tolerant of your child’s obnoxious antics as you.

    My kid will learn basic consequences. She can choose to say f-you to the school but better not whine to me when the school says it back. She can choose to violate a rule she thinks is stupid but better be willing to accept the penalty for doing so. If she is engaging in civil disobedience, I’ll back her by not punishing her at home but I absolutely will not ask the school to drop the punishment. Only if a punishment is extreme will I interfere. I think a rule is stupid, I’ll fight with the school and leave my kid out of it.

    I deal with people unwilling to accept consequences every day. For many of them it is very clear how they got where they are as soon as I meet mom and dad. Mom and dad always have a million excuses about how life is unfair for their baby, how people are against him, how misunderstood he is, how hard life is for him, how the rules shouldn’t apply to him and on and on and on.

    It is quite enlightening to see how different the exact same job is in a culture where kids are not pampered and put first. Where kids are raised to think of the family, village, and country before themselves and disgracing the family is the worst thing you can do. I’ve gone from trying to get people to be a man and accept responsibility when they are so clearly guilty to begging people not to plea until I look at their case. One group begs me for a technicality to get them off when clearly guilty and the other refuses to take a technicality when it exists. Neither extreme is ideal but I’d prefer my kid err on the side of accepting responsibility than refusing to.

  70. skl1 March 29, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Waaaait a minute. He did not say “f-you” to anyone. He wasn’t talking “to the school” and he didn’t say “f-you.” At least, not according to the info I’ve seen.

    You don’t need to be nasty just because I disagree with you. Are you ready to guarantee that your kid will never say the F-word until after she graduates from high school? Or that she will always be smart about who might find out about it later and overreact? Good luck to you. Personally I was never one to utter such a word as a kid, and I was actually a prude. I hold my kids to pretty high standards, too. This kid and his f-this f-that is not exactly my hero. But schools should not be so free to expel everyone who gets their goat. I don’t believe it encourages respect for the school staff, but rather the opposite.

    This is not like saying “f-you” to a boss or cop. It’s more like the time when my brother was suspended at age 18 for being on school premises after hours with a pack of cigarettes in his coat pocket. (He was NOT smoking, and had only stopped in to get something and then leave.) Except it’s worse, because my brother was merely suspended, not expelled.

  71. skl1 March 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    Another thing. Donna, I’m an attorney too. We both know that it’s one thing to protect someone’s rights and quite another to aspire to his behavior (or accept it in our kids). You wouldn’t be a defense attorney if you could not understand the difference. Should I accuse you of being just like your worst clients because you advocate for their rights? Because that’s what you’re doing to me here.

  72. skl1 March 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    And yet another thing. Schools encourage immature “obnoxious” behavior because of the way they treat teens. Treat someone like a child (or criminal or animal), and how do you think he’s going to act? Nothing made me feel more rebellious in school than idiotic, age-inappropriate rules and restrictions. So that’s a big part of it, and the rest of it is inappropriate reactions to attention-seeking behavior, e.g., a big production over wearing a kilt. In short, the folks entrusted to educate teens often appear to have a poor understanding of their clients.

    I recall some really good teachers as a teen. Actually, most of my teachers were really smart about when and how to react to foolish teen behavior. The best teachers were the ones who acted like they had no time to waste on idiots. People could sense it and acted accordingly. In the rare case that someone acted stupid, the teacher might say, calmly, “if you don’t want to be here, please go to the office and withdraw from the class.” Or, “please respect those of your colleagues who desire to learn this material.” That was enough. On the other hand, there were classes where kids pushed the teachers’ buttons regularly, because it got a reaction that made them look clever or daring instead of immature or mean.

  73. Heather G March 29, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

    Donna, accepting responsibility is good. I don’t think anyone is arguing it isn’t. HOWEVER, there is a difference between accepting responsibility for one’s actions and the school overstepping it’s authority by punishing a kid for something that happened outside of it’s jurisdiction (property and time). If the kid did send the tweet on school property or time he needs to suck it up and deal with the consequences. If he didn’t, as he claims, the school had no right to expel him nor deny him the same privileges the other students are afforded.

  74. pentamom March 29, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    “Oooh, you mean it is disruptive because he is MALE? I don’t buy that any more than I buy that long hair on boys in school is disruptive. ”

    It’s disruptive because he did it, knowing that he wasn’t supposed to.

    Guy wearing a kilt in a parade or even at a formal event where such attire is reasonable: not disruptive. Guy wearing kilt to school where it’s against the dress code and he knows that full well: disruptive.

    You don’t have to like or agree with dress code rules to acknowledge that breaking them *for unimportant reasons* is not helping this kid get ahead in life. This is not Rosa Parks we are talking about, this is a kid who wants to show off and show how he doesn’t need to follow rules because he’s special.

    Doing things you don’t like to do, like wearing the clothing your society deems appropriate in a particular setting, when there’s no compelling reason not to, is part of adult life, too.

  75. CrazyCatLady March 30, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    “You don’t have to like or agree with dress code rules to acknowledge that breaking them *for unimportant reasons* is not helping this kid get ahead in life.”

    I don’t presume to know what this kid wants to do with his life, but I would argue the opposite. The people that I knew in high school who were the ones to tweak the rules, bend them a bit, try to get a rise, those in general were the kids that employers wanted to hire because they were able to think outside the box and have new and sometimes, very profitable ideas that serve themselves of the people they were working for very well.

    The ones who followed the rules…um, most of them are still in the area, working at the depressed companies that are still there.

    Yes, I am teaching my kids to follow the rules. But, I am willing to let them choose their own roads, and fight their own fights if they feel the need to. I WILL NOT tolerate drug or alcohol use, or needlessly reckless driving when they get that age. Wearing a kilt, or breaking a rule that doesn’t apply to both sexes equally, eh. Will it help them in life to figure some of this out, probably – if nothing else it will help with “office” politics.

  76. skl1 March 30, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    I love the logic that we kick kids out of school to teach them lessons that will help them in life – and that’s twisted into a positive thing.

    Now expulsion is the latest method for developing fashion sense?

    I didn’t know I was sending my kids to school to learn how to dress – and certainly didn’t think their diploma hinged on that particular skill.

    I would venture to say that an individual who wore a kilt to school to get a rise out of the staff has a keen enough understanding of what will and won’t fly in the work world.

  77. Rich Wilson March 30, 2012 at 12:00 pm #


    The school of “I had to suffer so you bloody well too!”


  78. Heather G March 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    Do we know that wearing a kilt is against the school dress code? In high school our district-wide dress code mentioned lengths for skirts and shorts, as well as other rules about what makes a garment appropriate, but never mentioned gender. As long as the kilt was long enough and appropriate undergarments worn it would not have been against the dress code for a boy to wear.

    Unless he was wearing a kilt against dress code while sending the tweet from school property wearing kilts has no impact on whether the school was right to expel the student.

  79. Library Diva March 30, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    To me, it doesn’t matter if this kid was a persistent discipline problem or the best rule-follower ever to attend the school. The school is violating the privacy of all of their students by spying on their tweets after hours, and that’s wrong. The school gets to make the rules for the period of time when students are on school grounds.

    The rest of the time, they follow their parents’ rules. It’s up to this boy’s parents to decide what punishment a profane tweet merits. In this case, it’s just wordplay, it’s not meant to insult or degrade anyone. (It’s also not a particularly original observation. I’ve heard it in several comedians’ routines, and I remember a lengthy email forward of all the different uses of the word). Expelling him for saying a few words is just so ridiculously over the top that I can’t believe anyone would defend the school.

  80. hineata March 31, 2012 at 2:11 am #

    Except, Heather, that undergarments are not actually appropriate under a kilt…..

    I soooo hope he wasn’t wearing it in the true Scots fashion!

  81. mollie April 1, 2012 at 1:58 am #

    Rich, I love it that you linked to Alfie Kohn. “The Homework Myth” is one of my favourite books!

    The idea that the best way to motivate people to do what you want them to do is through administering either punishments or rewards ignores the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Schools and justice systems would be wise to take note.

  82. CrazyCatLady April 1, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    If the school has a rule that girls have to wear appropriate undergarments under a skirt, then the school could say the same as a boy and a kilt. As long as neither male or female parts are on display, undergarments are NOT something that the school should be regulating.

    Perverts upskirt, schools should not be doing that.

  83. Christy Rachelle Ford April 2, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    I find foul language to be disgusting and unacceptable. But this makes me positively ill. No school should have this kind of power.

  84. Olivia Jones April 4, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    Student tweets the versatility of the “F” word from home at 2am from school issued computer = Adults pointing fingers, passing blame, about their EDUCATED choice of how to use federa/state grant money.
    Come on people……….. what did you expect? It’s a TEENAGER!

    America is rated where in education? Lets re-re-re-think how we are spending and educating.

    *Hint If the computer can “flag” profanity, porn, ect. why not have the computer deny the post due to content?

    FYI : The “F” word appears in the English ll book for college.

    Is there guide lines for the “f” word? if so, when is it
    approperate, or not, , where, how, and who can use it, and who can’t ? And who makes that call?

  85. reader June 18, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    When I was in middle school (I was born in 1983, fyi) my school claimed that they were responsible for our actions from the time the last bell rang until we got home, and that if we stopped to play or hang-out, took too long to get home, got in a fight, did drugs, grafittid something, or went to a friend’s house instead of going straight home we would be expelled. Not saying fighting, grafitti or drugs are good things, but it riled me to no end that they could claim to have these rights over my actions when I wasn’t even in school or on campus. I complained to my mom, who told me they were making it all up, and that if they tried to enforce it they’d “be sued so fast their head would spin.”

    I only wish these administrators were still thought of as so ridiculous.