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Student Faces Expulsion for Blog Post 1045

Posted by samzenpus
from the complaining-only-makes-things-worse dept.
ThPhox writes "A student in the Plainfield School District in New Jersey is facing expulsion from the school district for a post made on his personal blog during non school hours. From the article: "A 17-year-old student who posted on his blog site that he was being bullied and threatened by the Plainfield School District will face an expulsion hearing this week, a local attorney said.""
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Student Faces Expulsion for Blog Post

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  • Dumbasses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c0d3h4x0r (604141) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:01AM (#15399662) Homepage Journal
    A 17-year-old student who posted on his blog site that he was being bullied and threatened by the Plainfield School District will face an expulsion hearing this week

    Well, if he wasn't being bullied by the school district before, he sure is now. They just proved his argument for him!

  • by jginspace (678908) <jginspace@yahoo. c o m> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:02AM (#15399666) Homepage Journal

    ...it's a good preparation for real life.

  • by tknn (675865) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:02AM (#15399667) Homepage
    Hopefully the school board settles quickly and cans the people. Last thing they want to do is lose all that money they are going to in a clear-cut 1st amendment case....
  • Hilarious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jimmyhat3939 (931746) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:03AM (#15399669) Homepage
    What's hilarious about that is where I live, in the SF Bay Area, a student can basically walk into class and beat the crap out of his teacher and still not get expelled.

    Expel more people, I say. The pendulum needs to swing back the other way a little bit.

  • thats all right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rooked_One (591287) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:07AM (#15399678) Journal
    we weren't using our rights anyways........ dot dot dot
  • by Loconut1389 (455297) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:07AM (#15399681)
    yes and no.
    Students have practically no rights when on the premises or using school resources. When off campus however is where the arguments are coming up these days- most would argue students are under normal law when not on school grounds or comitting crimes (making threats, etc) against the school, faculty or other students.
  • Nothing New (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slifox (605302) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:07AM (#15399683)
    This is nothing new. Most schools, even in areas that are highly "liberal," try to control their students' thoughts and actions to the point of extreme.

    Illinois state law says that schools are allowed to act in the best interest of a student, as a parent when the parent is not around (ie, during school days). It does not say schools can discipline students for their thoughts and actions outside of school and not during school time. However, schools are taking it upon themselves to do this regardless.

    I find depriving a student of his 1st ammendment rights or his education not in his "best interest."

    This must stop. The only way it will happen is having cases like this go to court, and schools finally exposed for what they are doing.
  • It's in IL, not NJ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mister Transistor (259842) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:14AM (#15399702) Journal
    New Jersey doesn't have a monopoly on Plainfields. There are many other Plainfields like it, but this one is mine. ;)

    Clue: it's in the CHICAGO Sun-Times.

    Further clue: from TFA - "Joliet Police".

    I live near there - Plainfield is where the big Tornado disaster occurred about 12-13 years ago.
  • by DumbSwede (521261) <slashdotbin@hotmail.com> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:16AM (#15399705) Homepage Journal
    We likely don't know all the facts to this story, things can sound very clear cut depending on how you synopsize them, however I think blogs will eventually have to be considered as something between public and private. Various organizations will have to be banned from acting based on any information obtained from them -- perhaps even banned from actively searching them out without legal cause.

    Odd how these threats to basic rights seem to come from the Left and the Right equally. Nobody in the extreme can ever stand dissenting opinion.
  • don't have time?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by guardiangod (880192) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:16AM (#15399706)
    [mother]:"I asked, 'If this is such a serious threat, did you call the FBI?' They said, 'No, we don't have time for this.' I asked, 'Did you call the Joliet police?' and they said, 'no.'"

    Don't have time? Don't have time?!

    So what you are saying basically is that, rather than going thru the annoying route of reporting to the police, you are just going to expel the kid? I guess the kid's 60 years worth of future is too unimportant compared to your job huh? I mean, we wouldn't want your daily wanking^h^h^h^h^h^h administration sessions be interrupted.

    I can't believe this. We are entrusting our childen to these...educators?! No wonder Columbine happened you idiots.

    Remember, to a school, there are thousand of students; To a student, however, there is only one school. So please, get it right.
  • Not Surpised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Comatose51 (687974) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:17AM (#15399709) Homepage
    Thinking back on high school, omes teachers and school administrators were pretty insecure, petty people who liked to use their positions to bully students. Sometimes teachers/administrators can be just as childish as the students they teach. Most of them will never admit that they're wrong. If you argue them into a corner, you're told to drop the discussion or face disciplinary action. Compared to college, high school was not a place that promoted learning or thinking. There was one thing high school promoted and that was blind obediance to authority. Of course there are many good high schools across this country and obediance to authority to some extend is good. However, I'm not surprised that there are other schools like mine across this country run by insecure administrators who feel the need to bully students.

    Ironically, one of the books I had to read for high school was "All Quiet on the Western Front". The drill sergeant in the book was a postman prior to the war so he felt the need to abuse the recruits. He knew that outside of his position in the heirarchy, no one respected him as a person so he abused his powers as a drill sergeant to make himself feel better. Reminds me of some school administrators... Sad bastards.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:19AM (#15399714)
    The kid posted from a non-school computer not on school time. Its his legal right to be able to say what he thinks of the school. Unless the school is being threatened with physical violence they have NO say in what a student does out of school.
  • Power (Score:5, Insightful)

    by massivefoot (922746) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:21AM (#15399721)
    I think the problem here is power. During school hours a student is of course a student has to be expected to obey school rules, conform to standards of behaviour, respect staff etc. Unfortunately, the teachers at this school appear to have got it into their heads that this includes complete control over the student's communications. I remember at my old highschool our headteacher once suspended a pupil for having a mohican haircut, despite the school's published unifrom code stating nothing about haircuts. When parents complained she didn't seem to understand why anyone objected to her making up and enforcing rules at will.

    The student should be commended for what he did. If he is genuinely being "threatened" and "bullied" by his school then he not only had a right but something of a duty to inform others of that, and yes, he should be in court, but as a plaintiff, not a defendant.
  • by EvanED (569694) <evaned@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:22AM (#15399725)
    This is legal. Schools are allowed to have dress codes. Schools are allowed to decide what constitutes "non-disruptive" activity to the learning environment.

    But schools CAN'T dictate what dress the students wear at home, and can't dictate what constitutes "non-disruptive" activity when they are sitting at their dinner tables with their families. ...his statement (especially with a veiled threat in the name of the Columbine assholes) exudes attitude.

    My reading is that the Columbine post was posted AFTER the school threatened expulsion, though the article is very unclear.

    In my opinion (only) I think it's disruptive.

    How so?

    In what way does a post on a website that probably can't be visited on school property disrupt classroom activity?
  • bullies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChrisGilliard (913445) <christopher.gill ... il.com minus bsd> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:22AM (#15399728) Homepage
    I really wonder what the discussion was like at the school board meeting. It's like: Hey, we can't let this guy get away with calling us bullies. What should we do about it? Hmmm, lets threaten to expell him. That will teach him. The sad truth is I've seen similar things in the corporate world. Maybe this is a good lesson on how the world works (as a previous poster mentioned).
  • by etymxris (121288) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:23AM (#15399735)
    When a student makes statements that are (1) outside school hours, (2) off school property, (3) not associated with any school activities, then yes, the student has a great deal of liberty as to what he can say and do. Correspondingly, the administrators have very little say in what he can do in such circumstances. The notion of avoiding "disruption" is unlikely to fly here either. If they can control criticisms of the school in an environment completely outside of school authority, then they can pretty much dictate anything that students do.

    A threat must be direct and immediate for it to fall outside of first amendment restrictions. His "threats" are vague, indirect, and unlikely to result in any real consequences.
  • Re:Nothing New (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EvanED (569694) <evaned@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:25AM (#15399742)
    He's not being deprived of his right to free speech, he's learning an important lesson about being responsible for his public statements. He has a right to say what he wants; they have a right to kick him out.

    No, they don't.

    The First Amendment, as extended through the Fourteenth and interpreted by the Supreme Court, bars government institutions from punishing or rewarding anyone on the basis of almost all speech. Note that the school in question is a public school, and thus is a government institution and bound by that law.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:28AM (#15399751)
    Odd how these threats to basic rights seem to come from the Left and the Right equally. Nobody in the extreme can ever stand dissenting opinion.
    That's because extremists of all stripes are more alike than almost anyone else. Visualize the range of ideologies as a sphere. You immediately notice that the 'extremes' (in your example, far left and far right) are actually right next to each other on the sphere. The only thing that seperates them are the specifics of their ideology - in all other aspects, they are in fact identical. Both believe that it is their 'right' to attempt to have absolute control over the thoughts of others.
  • Re:Nothing New (Score:2, Insightful)

    by imthesponge (621107) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:33AM (#15399767)
    If free speech can't be used without fear of punishment, then it isn't really a right, is it?
  • by egarland (120202) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:38AM (#15399785)
    I'm all for schools teaching kids good behavior but there are a few things they do that are both wrong and just plain illegal. Things schools should keep in mind:

    Schools are mandatory. School attendance is not optional in the US. Kids have to go. There are a few who have the means to attend alternatives but those who don't are forced to attend public schools no matter what.

    Schools are part of the government. Like police and judges our schools are government bodies. You can not give schools the ability to force the removal of fundamental rights. Judges can't. Police can't. Schools *MUST* be bound by the bill of rights including the right to free speech. They don't have the right to take that away much like they don't have the right to take your life away (forget detention.. you're going to the gas chamber.) You could argue that schools should be allowed to control speech in school creating short periods of time when their rights are suspended, although it's probably a bad idea. To say they have the ability to remove fundamental rights from people altogether is completely ludicrous. No federal, state or local government body can have that power. Granted, the bill of rights only specifically mentions federal government, the trend lately seems to be ruling that the 14'th amendment extends the bill of rights to state and local government. This would include schools.

    The other thing that it's important to note is that speech restriction is essentially creating thought crimes and the effects are usually precisely the opposite of what was intended. Discouraging open exchange only worsens the problem that we are trying to ignore or make invisible. The first amendment exists for this reason and it's for this reason we should defend it absolutely without question always. Everyone has a right to be heard.
  • by linvir (970218) * on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:40AM (#15399787)
    No, it is real life. If this kid gets expelled, he's screwed.
  • by Soporific (595477) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:40AM (#15399788)
    Which one of you cretins modded this a troll?

    ~S
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:41AM (#15399791)
    Your response makes no sense and is full of non-sequitors.

    "Schools impose all kinds of restrictions on students. Places of business impose all kinds of restrictions on employees. Owners of property impose restrictions on trespassers." RTFA before posting - this has absolutely ZERO to do with the schoo. He posts on his own time with his own equipment and has made no threatening comments (per the Joliet police chief quoted in the article.) None. Of. Their. Business.

    "This is legal. Schools are allowed to have dress codes. Schools are allowed to decide what constitutes "non-disruptive" activity to the learning environment." Again, if you would think and read before typing, you would see that this has NOTHING to do with the learning environment. It was done outside of school on privately owned equipment and made no criminal threats to any student, faculty, staff, or facilities.

    "The unanswered question in this article is, did the student cross any line violating the school policy? If you read the quote, in legal terms there is an implicit threat -- some attorneys will argue "assault". Other attorneys will argue "free speech." If this is the case, then you go to the authorities. The district found the comments so threatening that they have contacted NOBODY about it. Not the police (local police chief says no crime has been committed - a pretty bold statement with likely pending legal action so it must be pretty cut and dried to him), not the DA's office, not the FBI. Yeah, must've been pretty serious stuff.

    Should a public school be able to mete out punishment for violation of its dress code for clothing worn outside of school premises and during non-school hours? Others could see the student and it could cause a disruption.

    What about giving detentions for students swearing with friends while hanging out on a Saturday afternoon? Surely this is setting a bad example and influencing the friends that are present.

    What if a student gets a speeding ticket? Not only is this a bad example, it is endangering lives. (Won't somebody thing of the children?!)

    Face it, the kid (who does in fact sound like an idiot) posted some comments that even the local police chief says are in no way criminal (no threats, etc.) This public school district has absolutley no business interfering with what activities the student engages on his own time using his own resources. None. Zip.

    It's pretty obvious what party is causing the greatest disruption here.
  • Re:bullies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by laughingcoyote (762272) * <{moc.eticxe} {ta} {lwohtsehgrab}> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:42AM (#15399793) Journal

    Maybe this is a good lesson on how the world works (as a previous poster mentioned).

    How about this lesson? "This is how it is" does not mean "This is how it should be".

    Strange, I never seemed to get taught that in school either.

  • Re:bullies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:46AM (#15399810)
    The difference is that, in general, the corporate world is allowed to throw you out on your ass for whatever reason they feel like. But a public school, as a government institution, must conform to the rights granted by the Constitution - which in this case means protecting this student's freedom of speech, as long as said speech doesn't impair the ability of students at the school to learn.
  • by Scudsucker (17617) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:47AM (#15399813) Homepage Journal
    He's not going to have a criminal record because he didn't do anything wrong. Failing to report the "threats" to the PD proves that the school isn't doing this because they think he's dangerous, but that they didn't like what he said. The school is going down, hard.
  • I'm confused (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LockeOnLogic (723968) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:50AM (#15399819)
    What the hell was a school official doing reading random a students xanga? Do these people have no lives at all?
  • Re:Depends... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:51AM (#15399826)
    What's wrong with this? Rich people are actually good for the economy, while poor people are a liability. It's only fair that society would favour rich people.
  • by barefootgenius (926803) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:53AM (#15399833)
    Two points. The first is that children are a special case. They are purposely discriminated against. The second is that schools are not there to teach you to think. They are there to indoctrinate you and prepare you for the workforce.
  • Re:Nothing New (Score:4, Insightful)

    by egarland (120202) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @03:06AM (#15399868)
    Actually, public schools are generally local government institutions - and so should be completely unaffected by the constitutional ban on federal laws restricting the freedom of speach.

    Incorrect. As the parent stated, the first ammendment was extended by the fourteenth to include state and local government. Just how the 14'th extends things has been a matter of much legal debate and lots of rulings but it has generally been held up by the courts as meaning the entire bill of rights applies as much to state and local governments as to federal.
  • Re:Nothing New (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Khaed (544779) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @03:13AM (#15399884)
    It depends on what the punishment is.

    If a famous person says something to offend their fans, who turn away in droves, that could be considered a punishment. But are the fans constitutionally obligated to continue buying the CDs/games/movies of said famous person? Of course not. (I don't think you're suggesting this, but I felt it should be said.)

    However, this is a government run school. Be it state, federal, or local, the government should not be punishing him for free speech, on his own time, off school property. Unless he is threatening (or libel/slandering, but that's a whole different debate), they are completely out of line. Period.

    I didn't read TFA, because, well, this story is nothing new, but I can see this as a time for the ACLU to step in. I know if I were this kid, I would have googled the ACLU immediately. The school already plans to kick him out, or is at least considering it. He basically has nothing to lose by bringing down heat on them.
  • Re:Dumbasses (Score:1, Insightful)

    by capt_mulch (642870) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @03:20AM (#15399903)
    All I can say is thank whichever God for the Internet and freedom of speech. I'm 42 years old and have been battling stupid old dumbasses who a frightened by individuals speeking their mind (Oh, whichever God, you're not towing the line - Kill Them!!!!!) since Pontius was a pilot. Feel enriched that your children can use the Internet and speak their minds. Try and control that and you have lost them. Rejoice in the fact that young people are exploring the boundaries. They will learn their own limits. The Internet, by the poeple, for the people.
  • Re:Nothing New (Score:2, Insightful)

    by staeiou (839695) <staeiou@gmailMOSCOW.com minus city> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @03:24AM (#15399911) Homepage
    He's not being deprived of his right to free speech, he's learning an important lesson about being responsible for his public statements. He has a right to say what he wants; they have a right to kick him out. No one is depriving either of them of either right. It's like how I have the right to post this and you have the right to call me an idiot and some other guy has the right to mod me "Overrated".

    If the kid was banned from Disneyworld for saying something critical about Disney, I would totally agree with you. Hell, if the kid was at a Catholic school and posted about the joys of premarital sex, I would be fine with the admins if they chose to kick 'em out. However, for public schools, education is compulsory - you have no choice in going or not. You also can't even pick which school you go to in many areas.

    Your slashdot analogy is incomplete. In this kid's situation, your analogy would mean that he has the right to say what he wants, and the admins can tell him how stupid he is. This shouting match DOES NOT include the admins expelling him. Expelling isn't a putting an anonymous -1 modifer on a post. It is more like banning your account. When the admins have the authority to expel a kid from an education system for such reasons, it kills any sort of fairness in the situation. How is this not a deprivation of rights, especially when the kid didn't freely decide to be apart of the school rules?

  • everyone (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SlashSquatch (928150) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @04:05AM (#15400014) Homepage

    Everyone in this case is taking themselves way too seriously, including me, for making this dumb post.

    Using a key to gouge expletives on another's vehicle is a sign of trust, and friendship.

  • Re:Happened to me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 25, 2006 @04:08AM (#15400021)
    The difference is, schools have the right to filter what you view while in school. As long as they provide a complete education on mandated topics, they are not required to allow you to access irrelevant sites. If a school decides to block site with flash minigames, they can. If they block out pornagraphic sites, that's their (good) decision. They have that right. By circumventing their authority willfully, you have disobeyed the school, interfered with their rights, and encouraged others to do so also. They therefore had the right to expel you for violating policy.

    In this case, on his own time, a student posted a concern about improper activites by the school in a media where others could view it. That's a right he has. For a school to even consider expelling him is rediculous. They should on the other hand be bringing him to a schoolboard meeting to use his complaints to fix their system.
  • Re:Happened to me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vellmont (569020) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @04:36AM (#15400077) Homepage
    What a dumbass. You intentionally bypassed the schools internet filter by setting up your own proxy server (dumb in and of itself). What's even stupider though is you told your fellow students about it. Lesson number one when you're doing something "wrong" is you don't tell anyone, especially kids. People will talk, and you'll get caught.

    I suppose you feel like the Chinese dissident, smashing the opression of the schools internet filter (i.e. "combatting censorship on the internet). Of course unlike chinese dissidents you can go home to an unfiltered internet and read whatever you want. The only thing you accomplished was thumbing your nose at authority by jumping the little kiddie fence they erected. Filters are in general a bad idea, and will always be able to be bypassed by people with minimal knowledge. But bucking authority isn't going to get that policy changed one bit. More likely it will only strengthen the resolve of your enemies.

    If you really wanted to change the policy you'd investigate what sites are blocked by the filter and started writing about it. Appeal to both sides. Does it filter out Planned Parenthood or the ACLU? How about Rush Limbaugh or the Christian Coalition? Many people hear filtering and only assume they're filtering out porn sites. A more stark comparison of the reality of filtering is far more convincing than hearing about some dumb kid who thinks he's smarter than the school administrators (even if that does happen to be true in the case of networking technology).
  • Teachers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mark_MF-WN (678030) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @04:42AM (#15400085)
    For some reason, teachers here think that they are gods inside schools. They consider themselves to have total authority, despite the fact that they take zero responsilibity for anything that happens inside schools. Consider bullying -- if you tried that at your workplace, you'd be lucky if you just got fired. More likely, you'd end up being sued into destitution or thrown in jail. And yet teachers do nothing to stop it, and spend their time expelling students who dare to complain about conditions in schools.
  • Re:Depends... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrjb (547783) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @04:53AM (#15400106)
    What's wrong with this? Rich people are actually good for the economy, while poor people are a liability. It's only fair that society would favour rich people.

    BZZZZZZZZZT - WRONG. It is all about distribution of wealth.

    The rich have power to decide where the money of the poor must flow. They (banks, insurance companies etc) take money from the poor by raising high interest on loans etc, making the rich richer and the poor poorer- effectively *causing* poverty. This is a very desireable situation for them because more people will need loans.

    If you're saying the poor are to blame for this, you're either happily ignorant middle-class or your rich daddy never told you where the money came from.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:04AM (#15400133)
    "a above average [...] student"

    I love it. You are a funny, funny man.
  • Re:Dumbasses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stellian (673475) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:10AM (#15400147)
    So i could publicly accuse my hypothetical school of anything online, and no matter how bad the slur you would not expel me?

    Yes. Common sense dictates that they can only sanction you for what you do/say in school. If they feel their image has been affected they can sue you. If they feel threatened they can notify the authorities.
    However, they should not be able to unilaterally act as judge and jury of your actions outside the school.
  • Re:Dumbasses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NitsujTPU (19263) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:20AM (#15400170)
    It sounds like the only people who crossed a line were the school district. Hopefully, they will learn something.
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:21AM (#15400172) Journal
    Everyone here seems to feel the student has the right to freespeech. Okay, does his teacher have the same rights? Does the school? Can they say anything they want about him? Put a blog up about how this kid pissed himself on the school trip and cried for his mommy?

    Tell the world he didn't bring a date to the prom?

    Freespeech always seems to be onsided.

    Frankly in this case I don't know what to think. I myself have once done a school project where we had to make a brochure about something. I parodied the school brochure but highlighted stuff like the fact the computer room could not be used outside class hours and other lacking facilities.

    Got called into the directors office but nothing major, he just wanted to ask wich of them were true, and they were corrected. Turned out that the stuff I found stupid were never intended to be that way but had just evolved over the years.

    Granted this was holland and nobody had heard of school shootings. Then again I used humor and didn't insult anyone.

    As always there is probably a fine line with the case of what people are allowed to say, I just wonder if all the people defending the right of students to insult teachers feel that teachers have the same right to insult their students. Cause I am pretty sure that if teachers were allowed they have some real cursing to get off their chest.

  • by kampit (48398) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:43AM (#15400225)
    ..and I quote from the sisters' blog:

    Dear District 202 or Plainfield South,

    if my website is a problem with you then dnt read it...its not for you...wat i do outside of school is my bissness n mi parents...they control me wen im not w/ u for 8 hours a day...u dnt lik me n i dnt lik u so go away...oh n i hope that u r readin this...cuz its not a threat...cuz i kno that u wuldnt want us to break into ur privte lives then dnt snoop in mine...any questions call mi mother...she is lookin forward to talkin w/ u...

    meghan haggard

    P.S.

    dnt u hav ne thin better to do w/ ur lives?


    If I was the chief what's-his-face for the school district, I wouldn't like them talking about my district online either, atleast not until they bloody well pass some english exams.
  • Re:Happened to me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zoephile (939562) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:48AM (#15400242)
    Abandoning compulsory education is not the answer. What is really needed is sensible schools with sensible policies and sensible administrators (if they can be found these days). When I was in school the kind of things I read about happening in schools today did not happen. Expulsions were extremely rare. Detentions and suspensions happened but only for things like brutal fights or direct malicious vandalism. And even then it was only for a day or so and never made the papers. These days I hear stories about first graders being handcuffed and arrested in schools, kids being expelled for carrying a boy scout knife, fopr what they think or say outside of school and for countless other things that were considered non-issues years ago. O think we need to take a long hard look at the mindset of some of these people in charge of schools these days. Perhaps they are taking things a bit more seriously than they really need to.
  • Re:Dumbasses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TrueXtremeIcon (976728) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @06:22AM (#15400318) Homepage
    As the other replier to your post has mentioned, the school should not have any control on your actions OUTSIDE of school. I mean, I'm in college right now so I have a bit of experience with the internet and public high schools, but even this blows my mind. Can any of you older men/women actually sit there and imagine doing something at home outside of school time, and then getting in trouble for it in school (and I'm not talking about actual treatening things like claiming on the playground you are going to blow up the school)? The schools are overstepping their bounds. If they are going to be so totalitarian in the post-school lives of the kids, why do we even bother having parents? Why do schools sit there and try to claim "Its not our jobs, its the parents job" when at the very same time they are going to reach into the home and bypass the parents for something so innocuous as this? If the schools want this much power behind the children's lives, they might as well institute public schooling as a year long camp where the kids are forced to live on the school campus (sleep in the gym?) and completely cut the parents out of the whole equation. They can't have it both ways.
  • Re:Dumbasses (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TrueXtremeIcon (976728) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @06:27AM (#15400333) Homepage
    I fail to see how airing out complaints on a blog qualifies as "stepping over the line."

    But I don't fail to see how suspending (and attempting to expel) the student for exercising his First Ammendment rights after school and off school property qualifies as the school overstepping its boundaries of authority.
  • by SuperFunFunFun (936608) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @06:33AM (#15400340)
    Most of the people here on slashdot couldn't do their job for a week without running home and crying into their huggy pillow. Most people, untrained for a job, would struggle to do it. So what. I think what you are trying to say is have sympathy for teachers - their job is tough. So is yours, so is mine. I also don't get summers off and a cush 7:45-3:30 work day with an incredible array of days off. My wife, a teacher, does. Come to think of it, when you factor days off into pay, teachers do OK there too. That said, most teachers are great human beings who achieve incredible results despite working in quite possible the worst environment ouside your local maximum secruity penitentary. Blame the curriculum, or blame the bad teachers, but please don't lump all teachers into that category. Seeing posts saying all teachers suck get moderated high makes those of us here who are mature just sorta shake our heads I'm not sure where you are getting the idea that the /. community thinks all teachers suck. I think people are highly critical of school administrators and the culture in most schools where kids can't use computers that other taxpayers pay for as the public resource that they are. People are also highly critical of the education system as every year costs go up, results go down. People are also critical when their taxes go up because some administrator got his panties in a knot over someone calling him a petty dictator on MySpace and drags the school into a lawsuit they lose. People get tired of seeing where kids get expelled for bringing cell phones, ipods, wifi detectors, toy guns and swiss army pocketknives to school. We also tire of seeing the student shoots up school story of the week. People are sick of educators behaving like power crazed, egotistical nit-wits. We're also sick of seeing our kids treated like inmates.
  • by Mr. Ksoft (975875) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @06:43AM (#15400367) Homepage
    Well, it seems that nothing is mine. I guess that if I tell my parents that I don't like how someone is teaching a subject, and I'm overheard, they're going to kick me out because they're more worried about their jobs than any of us. They seem to think that if I'm a student and I do ANYTHING, they can take action. For example, let's say I am mean to my younger brother and get grounded. I tell a friend at school and a teacher overhears. They could expel me for being mean to my own brother. Nothing is sacred anymore!
  • by BakaHoushi (786009) <Goss@Sean.gmail@com> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @06:44AM (#15400372) Homepage
    I'm glad that decision was overturned, or think of the message it sends:

    At home, you can call the president a Nazi. You can mock spiritual leaders all you want. But for Christ's sake, don't say your school principal wears a dumb looking suit.
  • by l3v1 (787564) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @06:51AM (#15400389)
    If someone works for a company, then it's really no question that the person would not go unpunished if speaking derogatory or so about his company. Here we're talking about schools, schools' rights regarding controlling the children inside and outside of the school. Usually I wouldn't have anything against schools regulating children's behavior etc. when they are in school. Yet, I would not let any school or teacher interfere into my child's life outside of school, no matter what.

    Children need to learn, and they need to learn that hard, that they _have_ the right to speak their minds about anything. I know of many cases (RL, not bedtime stories) when people just didn't dare to voice their opinion about something - even if they were right - in fear the commencing trouble wouldn't worth the fuss. Children need to be taught so that when they will become adults they will think about basic human rights as being so natural to use as breathing.

    If a child learns that (s)he is not allowed to say anything bad about those in authority (and for a kid the teachers are such) that can become a real barrier later on in their lives.

    I know I'm possibly going too far with this, still, if a child wants to tell anything (s)he wants about the school, the teachers, etc. at home, for us or on his/her personal web page, I really think nobody should stop him/her unless it conflicts with some (general, social, family, etc.) ethics, but then again, that should be the responsibility of the family and of the parents, not of the school or of the teacher.

    I always thought that teachers should be "educators" and "guardians" and "signposts", and not some governesses, or self-appointed mind police officers.

    If a school would sue me or my child because spoke his/her opinion about them, I just wouldn't want my kid in that school any longer, let alone fear of some expel.

  • by Karl Cocknozzle (514413) <kcocknozzle.hotmail@com> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @07:06AM (#15400427) Homepage
    Here's the post, FYI:
    you are bully's. I feel threatened by you. if you don't like what you see here then do not come here its that simple. I'm pretty sure when you suspended Sam you brought her to tears, you are a bully and you make me sick. there's nothing you can do about us posting about parties we've been to and how much liquor we had or how much pot was smoked, the police need to do a better job, you are not the police. and how is it that you feel threatened what was said that was so threatening. I feel threatened by you, I cant even have a public web page with out you bullying me and telling me what has to be removed. where is this freedom of speech that this government is sworn to uphold? none of this is posted at school, its all posted from our home computers, and once we step foot into our homes we are not on school property any more. you are just power hungry, don't you ever think? did you stop to think that maybe this will make parents angry that you are bullying their children around? did you ever stop to think that maybe now you really are going to have a threat on your hands now that you have just pissed off kids for voicing their opinions? did you ever stop to think this will start a community backlash? The kids at Columbine did what they did because they were bullied. In my opinion you are the real threat here. None of us ever put in our xanga's that they were going to kill or bring harm to any one. we voiced our opinions. you are the real threat here. you are depriving us of our right to learn. now stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

    Bold/italic emphasis mine, since this is probably the part that allowed the small-minded administrators at the school to take action... Since when is BRINGING UP Columbine automatically a veiled threat? In the context of a threatening message, it could be considered that, certainly. Yet, if you read it in context here it doesn't seem threatening at all. It seems like a statement of fact: The kids at Columbine were bullied, and there's very little difference between bullying committed by students as opposed to faculty/staff. Telling somebody to shut up for criticizing you could be described as bullying...

    Certainly, what he has written here is not fine literature, but hardly a "Veiled threat." He was, inartfully, making the point that by punishing students for blog posts in order to "protect the kids" the school administration might, ironically, be creating the very problem it seeks to prevent. He explicitly says they didn't intend to threaten anybody, simply posting reactions to events from their own lives as an act of free expression.

    This is a clear over-reach by the school system--He didn't post the page from school on their computer or internet connection, he did it from home. Further, other media sources have indicated that Xanga/MySpace/Friendster (the "social networking" sites) aren't accessible from the school, so there is no chance of this kid's web-site being "disruptive to the educational process," which was the last standard I am aware of for determining whether a school can abridge student civili rights or not. The school's claim that the message was threatening is dubious at best when taken in context.

    It seems more likely that some administrators came down hard on somebody this person knew, and he wrote a scathing (in its own way) response that depicts those administrators as ogres. Instead of disrupting the school with a protest, he went home and wrote constitutionally protected editorial article on his web-site. Administrators decided to further-overreact by suspending him and threatening expulsion. Now they're really up shit creek, because if they back down they're "caving" in the eyes of everybody because of the previous hardline stance they've taken. If they go forward and expel him, it essentially validates everything in the kid's post--that they are taking away kids educational opportunities.
  • by JumperCable (673155) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @07:08AM (#15400434)
    Hands down, across the board school systems have always empowered the bullies. And anyone who is bullied who tries to do something about it gets victimized twice over.

    Schools, the press & the public are so concerned over issues like Columbine that they still just don't get it. These poor kids keep on getting abused over & over again. The teachers won't do anything, the principal won't do anything even when you bring it to their attention.

    Being at the bottom of the pecking order at school, no one ever told me it was OK to fight back (except for one gym teacher & that was later in my school career when. I was afraid I would get in trouble. Which I would have, but the end result would have been better. Back then I didn't have the perspective that a detention here or there would not have been that big of a deal. It certainly doesn't faze the bullies.

    If you are young & in school & being bullied. Here is what I suggest:
    1. First stop go ahead & tell a teacher & your parents.
    2. If that teacher does nothing, tell another teacher. Keep on telling all the teachers you have until one listens to you.
    3. If that fails, tell the principal.
    4. If that fails & you go to a religious school tell the pastor, rabbi, priest or whomever is in charge of the congregation. This is essentially going up the chain of command.
    5. If you are being physically assaulted in any way off of school grounds & the school does nothing call the cops. The cops might try to blow you off, but insist on filing an assault complaint. Do the same if the assault occurs on school ground and the school refuses do anything about it.
    6. Keep a log of the abuse. Who you told about it & what that person did about it if anything.
    7. If you have run through all these options, start fighting back against physical abuse. Yes. You will get in trouble. But bullies prefer to go after the ones who don't fight back. You will probably get pummeled. Just make sure you get in a good right hook. Try not to be a spaze. Bullies love to get a reaction out of you.
    8. Don't become the bully yourself. Fight back is defense, not offense.
    9. Consider some self-defense classes (For defense, don't become the aggressor). Bullies will pass you over for easier targets.
    10. Do something about your social awkwardness. Get involved with some clubs. Being social is a skill to learn. Bullies prefer victims who don't have friends. Boy scouts, soccer, gaming clubs, archery, swimming, find a way to interact with more people. You'll get better at it.
    11. Keep in mind that you will grow out of this. As people get older, they tend to appreciate other's differences. What made you the bottom of the gene pool in grade school will probably be really cool in college.
  • by LordLucless (582312) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @07:10AM (#15400440)
    In either case, both should be legally free to post whatever they like about each other - bearing in mind that both can still be sued for libel if what they write is incorrect and defamatory. However, the teacher should, and probably would, face additional penalties if they posted something like that, as it constitutes unprofessional behaviour. For the teacher, the school is an employer like any other. The school can sack the teacher for the same reason any employer could. However, to the student, the school is not an employer, it is a representative of the government.
  • Re:Dumbasses (Score:2, Insightful)

    by plague3106 (71849) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @07:20AM (#15400475)
    If it really is a case of libel or slander, they should report it to the police. Police enforce the laws; not school districts.

    The fact is that a student is trying to excersise his free speech, while not in school, and the school is trying to silence him. If they are trying to expell him now for voicing his opinion, it stands to reason they tried other things to silence him earlier. Why wouldn't you think they were?
  • Re:Hilarious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wootest (694923) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @07:21AM (#15400479)
    So what you're saying is that they should expel the guy who wrote stuff in his private weblog outside of school time on his own premises because other people that are more violent do not get expelled? What kind of example would this set? "Sure, bring a knife to school, just don't keep your web site updated from home."?

    If there's a pendulum that needs to swing back, it would seem to me that it would swing back on the people that actually did something wrong.
  • by Warlock7 (531656) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @07:24AM (#15400496)
    I feel threatened by you, I cant even have a public Web page with out you bullying me and telling me what has to be removed. ... Did you ever stop to think this will start a community backlash? The kids at Columbine did what the did because they were bullied...
    He says this after claiming that he feels threatened and bullied and goes on to compare how he feels to a group of mass murderers. This is an implied threat against the entire school population. After reading this, it's quite obvious why the school district would take action against this kid. For all intents and purposes this kid is claiming to relate to a group that committed mass murder. He says that there will be a backlash. In this country, after Columbine, it's not a good idea to relate yourself to those kids and threaten that there will be a backlash.

    Come on, this kid will be lucky if he's only been suspended rather than just being expelled altogether. The first amendment does not allow for people to make threats.
  • by WCMI92 (592436) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @07:33AM (#15400525) Homepage
    "In Chicago, Community High School District 128 voted unanimously on Monday to require that all students participating in extracurricular activities sign a pledge agreeing that evidence of "illegal or inappropriate" behavior posted on the Internet could be grounds for disciplinary action."

    Such a "contract" would be as illegal as the paper that it was written on. No goverment entity (and public schools are government entities) can make you sign away your right to free speech, petition, etc on your own time on your own property. Also, without defining with specificity what "inappropriate" is, the thing would be too broad even if it were a contract between PRIVATE citizens.

    That would be the same as if your state passed a law requiring you to, when you renewed your drivers license that you refrained from "inappropriate" behavior on the internet, with the intent to sue people who criticize the idiots at the DMV...
  • by rizzo420 (136707) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @08:08AM (#15400756) Homepage Journal
    if that was a private high school, they have every right to do so. public schools, however, do not.
  • by doublem (118724) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @08:13AM (#15400799) Homepage Journal
    You must have had one sad, empty childhood....

    Nope. He just read the mission statement for the public school system in the USA.

    You see, the schools aren't there to provide an education beyond minimal skills. They really are there to teach conformity.

    The goal of the school system is to provide workers who will do what their bosses tell them, and voters who will blindly tow the party line. The fact that only 39% of Americans support President Bush is going to be seen not as a failure by Bush, but as a failure of the school system to educate the other 61% into obedience.
  • Re:Dumbasses (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mjh (57755) <mark AT hornclan DOT com> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @08:23AM (#15400884) Homepage Journal
    But there's a significant difference in what (allegedly) did and what this kid did. If you were involved at all with the posession or sale of marijuana, that is a criminal activity. What this kid did, writing down his vulgar, but non-threatening opinions of the school is not criminal. It is, in fact, constitutionally protected.

    It's crap like this that makes me want the public school system abolished and replaced with something more privately run, where competition can weed out this kind of stupid behavior. For the poor, create the equivalent of "food stamps" so that they can get an education, too. But everyone (including the poor) gets to choose which school they want to go to. If this school had the fear of losing revenue and students because of their misbehavior, do you really think they'd even attempt this?

    Socialism doesn't work. This is an example of what it can do.
  • by kryptkpr (180196) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @08:24AM (#15400886) Homepage
    When you read that, you saw a comparison to "a group of mass murderers".

    When he wrote that, he was making a comparison to a group that was pushed so far, and couldn't stand up for themselves in any other way, that they simply had nothing left to lose. I think this context is pretty clear in his words.

    Do you have any idea what it's like to feel that you're being opressed, and there isn't a thing in the world you can do about it? It grinds down your soul, until there is either nothing left, or you are forced to make a (often terrible) stand for what you believe in.

    Your interpretation of what he said says just as much about YOU (and the school district, which clearly took the same interpretation) as what he wrote says about HIM.

    The answer here is not to shut him up, it's not to expel him, and it's not even to suspend him. It's to properly address his complaints, preferrably in a public forum, until both sides are happy.
  • by keyne9 (567528) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @08:28AM (#15400917)
    The first amendment does not allow for people to make threats.

    You mean, like teh teachers have done? The comparison is valid, if quite tacky, and it just goes to show that nobody in the school systems actually fucking care about bullied kids.
  • 1st Amendment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AviLazar (741826) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @08:30AM (#15400925) Journal
    I recently made a post [slashdot.org] about first amendment rights, where it applies and where it does not.

    This is where 1st amendment rights apply. The school is being a bully. They handeled this poorly, and it leads me to believe they actually have treated this kid bad previously.
  • Re:Depends... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jdbear (607709) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @08:41AM (#15401004)

    You know, that may not entirely be true. I come from a very poor family. My grandparents were sharecroppers (they worked other people's land for a share of the yeild) and my parents struggled to make ends meet. We were evicted from a half a dozen homes, and moved from a dozen or so before we could be evicted, because we could not pay the rent. I clearly remember wondering if we were going to eat on Christmas (much less get any presents,) one year.

    Still, even with alcoholism, prescription drug addiction, infidelity and the inability to keep jobs, my family worked it's way out of poverty to a decent middle-class life.

    My sister left home at 15, got pregnant by 17 by a resident-alien (here legally, but not a citizen,) and was married and divorced before the baby was a year old. That baby is now 16, is an honor student at a decent high school, dances classical ballet, tap, jazz, etc, and was awarded the "best student of her year" by her principal last week.

    With a little hard work and some principles, anyone can work his way out of poverty and into a decent life. Children who are cared for and taught the right principles can excel, even in public schools.

    I ended up joining the armed forces, then getting out and using the Montgomery GI bill to go to school. I'm now a professional with a Masters degree, earning a six figure income and have a bright future ahead of me. Don't say the poor are being univerisally exploited by the rich. They are being held back by their own habits.

    America is the land of opportunity, where anyone can be rich. No one is going to hand it to you, it takes hard work and perseverance, and a clear understanding that one's choices define one's circumstances, not the other way around.

    It's true that it's harder for someone with no resources to climb out of poverty. I'm not claiming that isn't. Also, I acknowlege that there are plenty of soft rich kids out there who will do just fine because they had every advantage given to them. Also, I will be a working stiff all of my life, where some people will get to dabble in whatever suits their fancy because Daddy gave them an huge inheritance.

    All of that having been said, there is some truth in the statement, "The rich are getting richer because they are doing those things that made them rich, while the poor are getting poorer because they continue to do those things that made them poor."

    There is a growing descrepancy between the rich and the poor in this country, but it is NOT because the poor are getting poorer. The poor are not any more poor than they were in the 1930's, the 1940's or the 1950's. In fact, when was the last time anyone has seen mass starvation in the US? People boiling their shoes for the leather? The biggest problems among the "poor" in America seem to be obesity and drug use.

    The rich are getting richer, and it is primarily because they can invest their money in business, and the value of business is growing. Their investments grow, so EVERYONE who has invested in them gets richer. That includes people in the lower middle class who invest what little they can, and the "merchant class" who own small businesses or farms.

    When someone comes to me and says, "the poor are only poor because the rich made them that way" they are also saying, "anyone who has achieved a comfortable life is evil, because they are repressing the poor." Does this mean that all of my hard work and sacrifice have been a sham, and I'm really part of a secret conspiracy to exploit the innocent poor? I beg to differ. We have to get away from cult of the repressed, and start encouraging "the poor" to do those things that will make them more productive and more comfortable.

    In an ideal world, we would not have a "poor" class. We would have a baseline of people who live a simple, yet comfortable life and a rising level of families who strive for more. We would stop using the word "poor" to describe an economic status, because it would be recognized that the people in the lower income bracket (in our ideal world) are content with the level of income they make, or are just beginning their climb to higher incomes and a more expensive lifestyle.

  • by Mainusch (20215) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @08:48AM (#15401061)
    Once again, we take a legitimate concern like bullying, and overreact such that anyone who feels the slightest bit offended by something someone else does screams "I'm being bullied!" Bullying is a real problem. To shout "Bully!" when someone in a position of authority exercises that authority, however, diminishes the real cases of bullying.

    This kid made very public, albeit veiled threats of violence against the school administration simply because he "felt bullied." The threats were so veiled, I'm not really sure they cross the line. However, the administration has a responsibility to provide a safe environment for the staff and student body in order to facilitate the primary mission, which is to advance student learning. They must, in many cases, use their best judgment in discerning what constitutes a threat of violence against the staff and/or student body.

    The principal knows this kid, and his history. We, the random readers of Slashdot, do not. The principal is in the thick of this situation, whereas all we know is what one reporter has written about it. The principal is charged with the responsibility of protecting the school. We are not.

    If this kid took it further, and actually did something to which he had been alluding, the argument would now be that the administration is inept for not taking action when he had clearly made threats. To prevent action simply based on the notion that the principal is "bullying" the kid is grotesque.

    Give the principal the slack his position deserves.
  • RTFA carefully (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JetScootr (319545) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @08:57AM (#15401154) Journal
    The deputy chief of police of Joliet said there wasn't a threat. The school was asked "If you thought there was a threat, did you call the police or FBI?". The school said they didn't contact FBI or Police. How threatened did the school admins really feel? apparently not much. Comparing your current situation to a past situation where something really bad happened is not threatening. It's a comparison.
    Regardless of the kid's history, the school has *no*frickin*authority* to control the behavior of kids outside of school. NONE WHATEVER, even if the kids are talking about school or using school books to do homework, or whatever.
    No level of government, from school teachers to the US president, has the authority to dictate to anyone what they put on their own website outside of school.
    And yes, this constitutes governmental bullying of someone with a dissenting opinion.
  • Re:Dumbasses (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Who235 (959706) <{secretagentx9} {at} {cia.com}> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @08:57AM (#15401155)
    The communism thing was a Simpsons quote added for humor which clearly didn't work.

    As to whether there was or wasn't marijuana at my house on Saturday, it makes absolutley no difference on Monday.

    If it was criminal, let the principal call a cop. My suspension was still bullshit and the party at my house was none of his business.

    The only thing he would have been justified in doing would have been to call my parents and let them know I had a party and there might have been some grass there. Even that's pushing it as far as I'm concerned.

  • Re:Dumbasses (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dirty (13560) <dirtymatt@@@gmail...com> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @09:06AM (#15401223)
    From dictionary.com: "Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: "Hyde noted the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated" (Richard Kain)." Irony can be a form of word play.
  • by neodragonslayer (448794) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @09:22AM (#15401346)
    People need to stop saying this, because it makes them sound like idiots.

    First of all, it doesn't matter what the Constitution says. The whole basis of constitutional law is how the Supreme Court interprets the Constitution.

    Yes, the First Amendment originally applied only to Congress. However, more came after that. Specifically, I refer the Fourteenth Amendment [wikipedia.org] of the Constitution.

    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

            No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.


    This has been interpreted, on more than one occasion, to refer to the fact that the states must uphold many of the same rights as the federal government does. This has been referred to as the "Nationalization of the Constitution."

    Read up a bit before you spout off nonsense.
  • Re:Dumbasses (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Twanfox (185252) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @09:24AM (#15401360)
    Absolutely. If there was a VHS tape of me being a crack dealer, I should expect those school doors to be closed to me permanently. What I cannot fathom is the idea that open criticism is an actual offense, much less that he's being unfairly punished for saying he'd been unfairly punished.

    Oh, I get it. I see what you're going for. If you do something bad that becoming a better educated or adjusted individual might fix, you are denied the education and teaching that would get you out of that situation, forcing you to persist in your life of crime. Brilliant!

    While I'm no fan of having a crack dealer in a school with my child, I would expect something else to happen instead of them being denied schooling. I would expect jail time, isolation, and (god forbid) a reform program designed to cease the offending behavior and 'retrain' the offender into a more valuable or even just viable member of society.

    There is a reason why libraries are frequently public institutions. Knowledge is what elevates us to a level where social behavior is well formed. Why deny that to someone who arguably needs it the most?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 25, 2006 @09:28AM (#15401401)
    The schools expel to protect their own financial interests. It is so easy to sue in the US that schools are constantly afraid of what action by a student might end them, the school, in court. When a student gets to the point of making them worry too much, the school expels them. Twenty years ago the student would have ended up in special education first, but with mainstreaming, that isn't as much of an option.
  • Re:Dumbasses (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sj0 (472011) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @09:31AM (#15401429) Homepage Journal
    What better way to instill pacifism than by showing that the wrath of destruction is blind?

    My years in school taught me one thing: Those in power are the kin of hurricanes and other forces of nature: Unthinking, unfeeling, amoral. All you can do if you're hit by one is try not to get blown away.

    Those years did prepare me for the real world, however, by placing me in a scenario so viciously bad that afterwards I could handle anything. After a situation where administrators are a force of nature to be avoided, and students are vicious cutthroats who will tear you to shreds if you say a word, the working world is serene and freindly.
  • by Kintanon (65528) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @10:17AM (#15401859) Homepage Journal
    Uh, or it could be the kids clear concern thant the schools actions will drive someone less stable than he is into a shooting rampage. I think he's voicing his legitimate concern that the actions of the administration may cause some unstable individual to start shooting people and that he and his friends could get caught in the crossfire.
    I mean, if I see someone poking an alligator with a stick and tell them, "Hey man, you keep doing that and you're gonna lose an arm." am I threatening to rip the guys arm off?

    Kintanon
  • Re:Dumbasses (Score:4, Insightful)

    by donnyspi (701349) <junk5@donnyspi.cOOOom minus threevowels> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @10:17AM (#15401866) Homepage
    I think not putting your name on something is cowardly. If you want to say something, stand behind it and be prepared to accept consequences whether just or unjust. Otherwise, don't bother saying stuff. If you don't want to sign your name and stand behind what you say, think about whether it is it really worth saying and if it's really a good idea to say it.
  • Such a "contract" would be as illegal as the paper that it was written on.

    1) That's not a contract, it's an agreement. They're very different things in the eyes of the law.
    2) There is nothing illegal about such an agreement, and that agreement is binding. The only agreements and contracts which are invalid are those signed under duress, those signed by people unable to represent themselves such as unemancipated minors, and those contracts which require the signator to do something illegal.

    Be very careful about the wording of #2. That doesn't say "those which require someone to do something that the law does not allow without an agreement." For example, I can happily sign an agreement with you such that neither of us wear green clothes which has a monetary penalty clause. Assuming the contract is signed by competant individuals outside of duress, then whichever of us first wears green clothes is liable for that penalty. It doesn't matter that a school can't expel us for wearing green clothes; we've entered into a binding agreement.

    The thing that's actually actionable here is that the school requires the agreement for acceptance, and that the clause regards someone's fundamental rights. Mind you, this sort of clause is actually common in the real world; one place where Slashdot is quite used to the idea is in the communication clause of a noncompete contract. If you work for WidgetInc, you can't give any tech advice to CommonControlCorp for a year, that sort of thing. The courts uphold specific obligations to personal topical censorship all the time.

    The problem is that the school district requires the students to sign the agreement. THAT is illegal. You cannot require someone who is already a member of a public service to sign an agreement to remain a member. (You can if it's a private service.) Furthermore, you can only require someone to sign an agreement to use a public service if there is another equivalent public service within reasonable availability to the person. That's how magnet schools add restrictions like dress code and behavior code to their system: if the kid doesn't want to sign the agreement, they're welcome to go to the normal public school.

    The issue, in the eyes of the court, is simply whether a person dependant on a public service has the option to use a public service without entering into agreements which they don't want. As long as there's one public school available to a kid which doesn't have asinine agreements, the others can require things like that all they want. They cannot, however, require that of their existing students; only their new ones.

    What the school is doing here isn't actually to curtail the student's rights at all. It's a misguided attempt at self protection. The school wants legal leeway so that if they see something they think but cannot legally prove is a threat, that they can act on it without getting bent over a crate. This is a common fear in current school systems, and principals ignorant of the law are frequently doing this believing they're acting in the best interest of the school's ability to keep itself safe. Were it not for the disasterous results of their misapplication, they'd actually be doing an admirable thing.

    The principals, unfortunately, are not apparently aware that they are able to expel a kid simply because they believe the kid is a threat. (Go ask a lawyer - it's true.) Once someone knows that, then this agreement becomes a horrible after-effect of the glad-handed attempt to seal the school up from liability. This sort of behavior is common in leadership which is more interested in being safe from liability than being safe from legitimate liability. The latter stance is important, but requires clueful legal counsel - something most public schools don't have.

    Be less angry at the school board. They're trying to do the right thing. They just don't know how. Instead of telling them how awful they are, gently and kindly explain why what they're doin
  • Re:Privately Run? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by brouski (827510) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @10:47AM (#15402143)
    There's also even less constitutional protection. As people so frequently need to be reminded, the First Amendment does not restrict private institutions from restricting free speech within their auspices.

    It would be interesting to see if that changes if a national voucher system is ever put into play, and the federal money starts pouring in.

  • Re:Dumbasses (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ziggy_zero (462010) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @10:55AM (#15402225)
    It would be cowardly if we lived in a world where people didn't get punished for what they said. In this world, it's just common sense.

    Besides, it's not like if you don't sign your real name whatever it is you want to say doesn't get said.
  • Re:Power (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stonecypher (118140) <stonecypherNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @10:59AM (#15402259) Homepage Journal
    I think the problem here is power.

    I think you didn't read the article. The school is reacting to what it mistakenly believes is a threat to shoot other school children. It has nothing to do with power or freedom of speech. The kid says he feels bullied and then talks about how Columbine happened because kids felt bullied.

    True, he's not making a threat, but it's an easy mistake to make.

    Next time learn what's going on before talking about it.
  • by mjh (57755) <mark AT hornclan DOT com> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @11:04AM (#15402313) Homepage Journal
    However, if you are under the age of 18 in the United States, school attendance is mandatory. If your school or your school district oversteps its authority, you can't just go elsewhere.
    In our current socialized education system, that's absolutely correct. But in a private system - even one that's based on public vouchers - if the school you were attending offended you and your parents' sense of privacy, you'd just switch to a different school that did a better job. If the privacy violations were too egregious, then that school would not last long.

    Privatization allows for choice. Choice allows for competition. Competition weeds out crap like this. Democratic/socialist systems only allow for crap like this to be weeded out at election time, and only if they become an election issue. In other words everyone has to hate it in order for it to get fixed in a socialist system. In a private/capitalist system, if you don't like it, you can fix it by exercising your options. It doesn't fix it for everyone. It fixes it only for those who really care about it. Which has the added benefit of making the solution cheaper since the scope of the fix is smaller.

    I remain undeterred in my belief that privatization would do a better job of preventing crap like this.

  • He also said .. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by apankrat (314147) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @11:15AM (#15402437) Homepage
    > Well, he did admit to drinking and he did ask to be suspended.

    He also said that Miller Light was delicious ?!!

    Not sure how this illness is called, but it damn sure has to be a brain disease.
  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary&yahoo,com> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @11:31AM (#15402602) Journal
    Don't you hate people who look back on high school as "the best years of their lives?" They are either forgetting what it was like, or they were the bastards who made life miserable for the rest of us. I'm never going to tell my kids to cherish those years. Tough it out and get through them, because it gets better, that's what I'll tell them. Even with some of the rough shit I've been through as an adult, pretty much everything after high school was better.
  • Re:Dumbasses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mjh (57755) <mark AT hornclan DOT com> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @11:32AM (#15402608) Homepage Journal
    Public schools are funded through socialist means. Say what you want about control of economic resources by workers, but it's just not true. Economic control in socialism is done by the government. They tax the money and then provide it for something else. Capitalism is a much better example of distributed control of economic resources. No one forces you to purchase food from BiLo or Publix or (whetever your local grocer is). As a result the owners of those stores have no control over your economic resources. You have all the control. If you don't like the quality of produce, you go somewhere else. The owner of that grocery chain can do nothing about it.

    Compare and contrast this with public education. It's paid for through taxes. It's regulated through a central, hierarchical authority. The people who receive the education services, get one and only one choice: attend or not. There are no alternatives. You can't extract your tax money to go somewhere else. You can't even extract your tax money to fund home schooling, much less private schooling. If you try to keep your money, the government comes and puts you in jail for tax evasion. The vast majority of the population has absolutely no control over how their money gets spent in public education... except maybe every 4 years when a new election cycle comes up. And then you'd better hope that your pet peeve gets noticed enough to become an election issue. And even then your favorite guy might lose. But even if he wins, and your solution gets implemented. There may be other folks who were happy without that solution and are now forced to fund that solution and have it applied to them. No matter who gets to decide in socialism, someone gets screwed.

    Sorry. Socialism can not work. The only thing socialism successfully does is concentrate decision making power into government officials - who are about as far away as possible from the real costs and benefits of the decisions they make.
  • Re:Dumbasses (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 25, 2006 @11:38AM (#15402660)
    I got two weeks of in-school suspension when I was 16 for writing a letter to the editor of the local paper under my own name. Public school, etc, etc.

    PATENTLY unconstitutional. You could have, you SHOULD have, sued their asses. Not just for monetary compensation (which would be limited) but for an injunction/enjoinment/whatever against punishment until the court decided the matter. Of course, the court would have found in your favor in about 2 seconds, so any "charges" would have been dismissed and your record completely cleared.

  • Okay, does his teacher have the same rights? Does the school? Can they say anything they want about him?

    As long as it's factual, yes. However, Slashdot has completely blown this out of proportion into a censorship and right to speech issue. That's not what's going on at all.

    This is a simple misunderstanding which has gone way too far. Read what the kid actually wrote: there's a point at which he says he feels threatened, then later there's a point where he says the Columbine kids did what they did because they felt threatened. Granted, he does vaguely hand-wave the threat away, but it's an easy mistake to make to believe this kid is himself making such a threat.

    The school board is reacting to some teacher who told them this kid was about to become a murderer. The problem isn't the school or the school board. It's that teacher going straight to the board, instead of talking to the school psychologist first. If a sober person who understood teachers had read that post, they could have stopped this whole mess right at the gate.

    It's not about the critcism. It's dumbasses who think he's threatening to shoot people.
  • by jafac (1449) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @11:49AM (#15402778) Homepage
    It seems like a statement of fact: The kids at Columbine were bullied, and there's very little difference between bullying committed by students as opposed to faculty/staff.

    That's more true than you know.

    The fact that the Columbine kids were bullied is one part of what set them off. The other fact is that the school administration not only allowed the bullying, but took active part in it (by choosing to respond to physical confrontations, fights, assaults, with punishment for the victim, but not for the bully - often because the bully is a star athelete - remember, the team quarterback at Columbine was accused of rape by a cheeleader the year prior to the shootings, and the administration offered her early graduation to keep her quiet).

    It's not just bullies that cause school shootings and violence. It's when school administrators take an active role in encouraging bullies and bullying through selective enforcement.
  • Re:Dumbasses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mjh (57755) <mark AT hornclan DOT com> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:02PM (#15403435) Homepage Journal
    I believe that I do understand the meaning of socialism:
    Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines, and may also refer to political movements that aspire to put these doctrines into practice. These movements generally envisage a system of social organization in which property and the distribution of income are subject to social control. As an economic system, socialism is usually associated with state or collective ownership of the means of production. This control may be either direct, exercised through popular collectives such as workers' councils, or it may be indirect, exercised on behalf of the people by the state.

    Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

    Of course, public schools have local oversite. But they simply do not have control. And if you want an example of that, I submit to you No Child Left Behind [whitehouse.gov]. How many people who don't like the rules imposed have any control to supercede them?

    I don't think you have a very good understanding of the words "Personal Responsibility". What they mean is that if you don't like the private school you're sending your kids to, it's your responsibility to either influence change or leave. If you don't like the terms of your employment, it's your responsibility to find a new employer. In general, you are responsible for the condition of your life. If you don't like it, change it.

    I love taking shots at public entities because they are

    1. expensive
    2. ineffective
    3. destroyers of freedom

    And all in the name of insulating people against the consequences of free choices [coyoteblog.com]. I'm glad you think that public institutions provide you excellent service. I submit that they are the highest cost producer [tcsdaily.com] and if we sent less of our money to them and didn't allow them to spend as much as they do, we'd all be better off and richer.

  • Re:Absolutely NOT (Score:4, Insightful)

    by masdog (794316) <masdog@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:35PM (#15403726)
    I wholely disagree with your last part also. When in school there was this bully. I met him through school. He would not beat me up before during or after school. He would wait until he saw me at the bowling ally on saturday night and beat me up. It is the schools business to help protect me, and I am glad they did.

    I wholely disagree with this. A school isn't there to protect me, from myself or others, when I am not engaged in school related activities. If the bully attacked me on school grounds, it would be their job to intervene and punish this kid before handing him over to the police. But since he attacked you at non-school functions off of school district property, they have no business being involved.

    Responsibility for your safety rests squarely in your hands. If the bully was attacking you at the bowling alley, drive in, or McDonalds, you need to report it to the responsible authorities - the management of the establishment and the police. You also need to learn how to defend yourself by taking martial arts or some other form of self-defense.
  • Re:Happened to me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vellmont (569020) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:38PM (#15404327) Homepage

    His goal wasn't to change people's minds.

    Then he's simply a selfish fool. Anyone that truly believes that filtering is wrong in HS libraries will work to change the policy, not trying to circumvent the filtering. HS is a pretty small place for a short period of time. You can circumvent the filter by simply going home, or waiting up to 4 years to graduate.

    How do you argue with unreasonable men?

    Find the unreasonable mens' bosses, and convince them. We still live in a democracy, so ultimately the bosses of the school administrators are the people of the district. You don't even have to convince anyone, just a small but vocal minority.

    His goal was to beat back censorship, which he accomplished.

    For what, a couple days? All he accomplished was getting himself expelled.

    Second of all your sig is: when you hear 'activist' you reach for a revolver

    Thank you for your literalist interpretation. I'll give it all the respect it deserves.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro..." -- Hunter S. Thompson

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