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Opening Arguments

The eff you say!

Was this an overreaction -- would a suspension have been more a more just punishment than an expulsion?

An Indiana high school senior has been expelled for a Tweet he says was posted from home on his personal account.

"One of my tweets was, f--- is one of this f---ing words you can f---ing put anywhere in a f---ing sentence and it still f---ing makes sense," Garrett High School senior Austin Carroll told Indiana's NewsCenter.

The expulsion comes when Carroll is on the home stretch toward graduation. Carroll's mother Pam Smith said she doesn't agree with her son's Tweet, but doesn't agree with an expulsion either. To her, a suspension lasting several days is more appropriate.

Yeah, it was vulgar and inappropriate -- even the kid agrees with that -- but it was funny, too, and it f------ made a briiliant f------- point f------ memorably. F---- is one of those versatile words that can be used as almost any part of speech.

It's easy to make light of this, but there's a serious issue here. This is just one of many cases of schools trying to deal with what students do with social media and even generally what they do off-campus that might be legal but can be shown to have potential for a negative impact on the school. 

Interesting and related: "The nine parts of speech and the f-word" and "WTF did Biden just say?", which is worth if for the Ben Bradlee anecdote alone.


Harl Delos
Mon, 03/26/2012 - 3:11pm

I have to disagree with Pam Smith's take on the situation.  A suspension of several days is NOT appropriate.

Austin Carroll's tweet was not threatening.  It wasn't even disrespectful of others.  And given that it didn't happen in school hours, on school grounds, using a school computer, or school connectivity, nor did it disrupt school classes, it's none of the school's concern.

The school board ought to call the principal before it, and ask "WTF were you thinking?", pointing out that he accomplished no good, and he put the board at risk of a lawsuit.  Unless he can talk awfully fast, the board ought to order the principal give Carroll a fucking apology, even while pointing out to Carroll that this wasn't his finest moment.



tim zank
Mon, 03/26/2012 - 4:35pm

Worlds collide, I'm with Harl on this one. This is another example of how ill-educated (in real life affairs) educators are. The basis for the decision appears to have been the other two kids that impersonated their principal on twitter which is (IMO) grounds for expulsion, but this kid did no such thing. It's akin to expelling him for being overheard cursing in a crowd at the local mall.

 It follows the same ridiculous zero tolerance policy that'll get a kid kicked out for a year for taking a bayer aspirin to school under the "no drugs" policy.

Christopher Swing
Mon, 03/26/2012 - 4:37pm

In addition to what Delos up there says, I'd go further and say it's not even the school's business that he even HAS a Twitter account, unless he uses that account to do something that directly affects the school. And even then only if it involves some actionable threat or actual disruption.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 4:52pm

Let's clean this up a little.

Austin got ph-----!

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 7:08pm

Physicians heal thyselves!  Did we not have an Indiana principle recently come out saying that the miseducation of our youth was a threat to national security?  So they can fill heads with internationalist crap, creeping socialism, diversity propaganda and multculture dogma ... ignoring or distorting our national past, poking fun at nationalism, undercutting belief in Aristotle's uncaused first cause, etc and ect.    But let a senior drop an F bomb (which has likely been played by teachers in music and movies in school) and it is OFF WITH HIS HEAD.   To quote Rick S, what bullsh*t.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 7:38pm

My bad.  PrinciPAL.  Although in this case, no pal at all.