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Should students be punished for what they do at home?

By SUSAN RIVERA
Updated 2:02 PM CST, Fri, Jan 13, 2012

Oak Forest High School officials suspended a sophomore for five days because of derogatory comments he made on Facebook about a teacher. 

So we asked you, should students be punished for what they do at home?  Here's what you had to say.

 

"I think the honor student needs to learn discretion in airing grievances.  If the teacher were to use Facebook as a venue to air his/her grievances about the student, what would those consequences be?  Lastly, there are two sides to every story."  -Jackie

 

"HECK NO!!! Freedom of speech, and [it's] on an internet social site, he has every right, if Facebook doesn't like what he says, then THEY can suspend him, not the school!"  -Jeff

 

"Absolutely this student should be disciplined for his actions on Facebook. As someone in the field of education and technology, it is important that the school systems teach digital citizenship and responsibility. The school would be doing this young man a disservice if they decided not to take action. As far as the parents suing over first ammendment rights, the law does not cover slander. I don't know what was said about the teacher, but if any of it was untrue the parents should be worried about the teacher suing the parents!" -Jim

 

"[I'm] a [high school] student and i totally think that's unfair. we (students) don't have rights at all. some teachers are [weird]. [I'm] sorry but sometimes teachers [deserve] it."
-Ae Gonzalez Vazquez

 

"This kid got off light and his parents should be ashamed.   This brat should have been expelled and then sent to military school." -Frank

 

"Yes schools should have [the] right to discipline and try to teach this child the concept of respect since his parents obviously don't understand the concept"  -Anonymous

"No! The last time i checked,  this was America! Not a police state!! On the other hand if the student named the teacher by name it comes down to slandering a person's name in public and I do have a problem with that!!" -G Carroll

 

"Off with his head". School is for learning.  He hasn't earned the freedom of speach yet."
-Anonymous


"Why is there any discussion about this kid's "rights"?  Would anyone even stop to question the school if the cyber-bullying were directed at another student?  Of course not, but somehow the same behavior is condoned if directed at a teacher!?!   What kind of parent allows that level of disrespect much less tries to sue over it." -Clayton

 

"I don't believe that the school's have the authority to discipline children for what they do on their own time and away from school.  This case is definitely a stretch for the respective school and school district...The school and school district's stance on this issue is ludicrous!!!" -Jim Wright

 

"Schools already have policy in place regulating social web sites.  If teachers can get fired for photos/comments that apprear on their personal facebook account then a student should be punished for a slanderous post against a teacher.  Let us not forget, NOTHING on the web is "personal." -Sara Flanigan

 

"No way should a kid be [disciplined]/suspended from school for statements he made about a teacher - if these comments were made on his own time then the school is out of line - ... our basic freedoms are being whittled away one by one." -bk

 

"Unless this student has threatened the teacher, this is a true invasion of privacy!  And, a good reminder to everyone to be careful what you post on social websites, you never know who will see it!!!!" -Angela M. Carlson.

 

"Schools should have no control over students when they are not involved in school activities or on school property. Why should they be above our constitutional rights?" - Sharon A Shuman

 

"If this is not a first ammendment issue, than I don't know what is. I believe he should not be suspended for what he does at home. I agree the parents should take action, and the school will back down!" -Darren L. Huntley

 

"What we write on Facebook, no matter what age we are, can affect us and the people who have access to this medium..." -Wendy Prager Goeckner

 

"I do not believe a suspension was an appropriate punishment, however I do believe their is a line that should not be crossed. Children need to be taught respect."
-Kim Fatigato Dimarco

 

"The parents are thinking of a lawsuit, how about the teacher filing one against the kid and his parents for defamation /libal..." -Jim Sherwood

 

"My daughter is in high school and on facebook. If she has had a bad day at school she vents to her friends on FB. I see nothing wrong with it."-Mark Wiekert

 

"It was my understanding that FaceBook was public domain and one could speak/write their mind. I am fairly certain that I didn't wake up in Communist Germany of WWII with Hitler in charge. As far as I know I woke up in the United States of America where one can speak their mind." -Sherry

 

"If this student [disrespected] the teacher on-line for all his friends to see, who's to say they won't do it at school also. We try to stop kids from [bullying] at school because it can carry over to cyber [bullying], this is the same thing. What [happened] to just RESPECTING our teachers."  -Dana

 

"Students need to understand that what they write on Facebook is comparable to passing a note around the world.  It damages the teachers reputation and is personally hurtful."  -Robin Bollinger
 

 

"How can we teach our children the importance of freedom of speech and then not allow them to use it in any form?  I don't think he should have resorted to name calling but has anyone looked into his allegations?  Perhaps he is justified in his opinion, he IS an honor student and not a "trouble maker."  -Sheri Gaunce   

 

"The school totally overstepped their bounds. Schools/teachers say they are not there to parent the children however when [one] of them is criticized, NOW they think they can punish the student." -Craig Brewczynski

 

"What ever happened to how it was when we were young? If you had an issue with someone, [you] brought it to them, to their face. Too many cowards hiding behind a keyboard typing away. Can't say it to someones face, don't say it!" -Stacey Robertson


"If I had done this in high school, my parents would have been furious. It's absolutely unbecoming and unacceptable to go around posting inflammatory remarks about anyone or any institution on Facebook. You just look like an idiot." -Jenna Reid

 

"Why were they snooping around on his facebook page? Are the school admins/teachers being paid to search ALL student's fb pages?" -Tracy Wills

 

"The school is way out of line." -Heather Bade

 

"I dont think its a first amendment issue. There are consequences for adults saying something that could be considered libelous. Children should learn not to say such things either." -Bobbie Klimkow

 

"I think that [facebook] is an open forum, even a student should have rights..." -Tom Morrow

 

"To punish this behavior brings us perilously close to being a police state. What's next--thought police?" - Gretchen

 

"The question "can he make a group criticizing his teacher" is ridiculous. It says right in the user agreement that you CANNOT use facebook to criticize anyone." -Nick

 

"As a former educator I used to tell my students never put into writing what you wouldn't want [your] mom to read! I agree that this should be an issue handled by this kid's parents." -Renee Guagenti Cybul

 

"Derogatory remarks can be brought into court on defamation of character so yes they should be punished." -John Dixon

 

"I don't believe that schools should be able to control what you do or say outside of them. As long as they were not threats or [sexually] explicit I don't see the problem." -Cindy Mushier

First Published: Feb 23, 2010 7:01 AM CST

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