As if being in high school weren’t already hard enough. A senior at Garrett High School in Indiana has been expelled for posting a tweet on his personal Twitter account that contained the F-word multiple times. Despite the fact that the student, Austin Carroll, sent the tweets at 2:30am, from home, the school decided to kick him out because he used a school-owned computer to post the tweet.
“If my account is on my own personal account, I don’t think the school or anybody should be looking at it. Because it’s my own personal stuff and it’s none of their business,” Carroll told Indiana’s News Center (INC).
Now, it might be one thing if the curse word were used to verbally attack another student or school faculty member. But that’s far from the case. As Carroll explains, the tweet read something like this: “BEEP is one of those BEEP words you can BEEP put anywhere in a BEEP sentence and it still BEEP make sense.” If you ask us, that’s not even noteworthy, considering some of the insanely offensive drivel you can find on Twitter in about four seconds. Also, he’s in high school. What do you expect?
Regardless, that’s not even the most offensive part. That pitiful award goes to this little tidbit, via INC:
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.
As Mike Masnick at TechDirt points out, it’s entirely likely that the school violated Carroll’s First Amendment rights by expelling him for simply expressing himself. A 1969 case, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, ruled that students in public schools have a constitutional right to free speech. Though some later cases limit speech when it applies to school-sponsored events, sexual innuendo, and talk about illegal drug use. Unfortunately, it appears that we will not find out the constitutionality of this specific case, however, as Carroll has opted to finish his last three months of high school at another school — even though students at his school threatened to protest over the matter, causing the school to call the police.
Even if you’re not still in high school, this story should serve as a stark reminder that what you post online could have real-life consequences. So be careful what you say — someone is always watching.
Watch INC’s report on the story below: