Expelled for Blogging?
September 26, 2002 6:59 AM   Subscribe

Expelled for Blogging? Kid threatened with expulsion after having the nerve to blog from school. I assume his high school had nothing else to crack down on other than the gangs of bloggers up to no good like keeping a tech journal.
posted by Coop (33 comments total)
There has to be more to this story... I tend to take a dim view to this kid's suffering, because I don't have any accounts of what's happening -- just that he is being 'censored'.

He shouldn't be blogging from school anyway. I never posted to my various websites from school, even though I could have. I knew it was against our policy to use computers for anything other-than research (a policy which was enforced in Gestapo-like fashion).

I'm trying hard to feel sorry for this kid, but I can't. The school can restrict the use of it's resources as it sees fit -- they're the ones who have the balance the budget. I fail to see how a few blog posts would raise eyebrows but, then again, in a day and age where kids plot murders on the 'Net, and shoot up schools, I'd be wary of kids updating their personal diaries from school as well.

*shrug* I need more to thoroughly for an opinion. The above is just a reaction of the knee-jerk variety.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:06 AM on September 26, 2002

What a weenie... crying.... really now.
posted by jon_kill at 7:07 AM on September 26, 2002

I agree. Expelling him seems like an overreaction, but they're perfectly within their rights by not allowing him to blog from school.

Still, I can't understand why they would even consider expelling him? If you thought blogging was a misuse of school computers, wouldn't the best course of action be to tell the kid so, ask him to stop, and then punish him accordingly if he didn't? With, you know, detention or demerits or something?
posted by UnReality at 7:13 AM on September 26, 2002

In my high school there was a kid who was basically expelled for having a 'zine (to you whipper snappers, a zine is sorta like a blog, but on *paper*). It was really over the content of the zine, tho, and the fact it was being distributed secretly in school.

Maybe something similar here? Doesn't look like it though.
posted by malphigian at 7:19 AM on September 26, 2002

So, would he be allowed to use a school-issued pencil and school-issued paper to write a journal entry in the school library, then take that paper home, type it up, and post it to his blog from there?
Sure, schools have the right to determine how their resources get used, but shouldn't they be reasonable about it?
Unless this kid is posting hate literature or porn or libel, what's the harm? It may even be helping him learn things.
posted by Fabulon7 at 7:20 AM on September 26, 2002

Since when do schools issue pencil and paper?
posted by corpse at 7:27 AM on September 26, 2002

well, one time I was suspended and forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement (oops!) because other kids were posting to my message board from school.
posted by mcsweetie at 7:30 AM on September 26, 2002

This is all due to every paranoid school administrator's fear that their school will be the next Columbine. Harris and Klebold had a Web site where they posted their hate-filled screeds against, well, just about everything, and as a result, any site the administrators discover is scoured for clues into what they see as a potential-future-mass-murderer's twisted mind.

From his weblog:
Remember that entry the other day when I said "UPDATE: fjdsfjdslkfjklsdjf" (a bunch of letters)? Well, one of the people at the school thinks it's "secret code"...what in the hell? hahahahaha.

I can't argue with the school's position that the kid shouldn't be blogging from class -- even though everyone in every school, including the teachers and admins, uses school machines for non-school-related activities -- but their threats of expulsion are wholly indefensible (and, if the rest of his story is true, little more than intimidation tactics.)
posted by Danelope at 7:37 AM on September 26, 2002

His admirable follow-up post is here.

I'm sorry, without knowing the backstory (is he smoking crack at school? is he failing his classes? is he kicking his teachers?), expulsion? C'mon. As far as I'm concerned, any 15 year old who can write PHP and spell English correctly should just get a diploma then and there.

Heh: One of his friends posted the school's acceptable use policy for the computer system. That's entertaining.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 7:37 AM on September 26, 2002

Don't you guys have free periods or anything like that in the US? During my last two years of secondary school (16-18 yeards old) I must have had at least an hour or two a day that was unscheduled, which meant that I could hang around in our common room, play pool, watch TV, play Bomberman - and of course post to my blog.

Actually, the whole got a bit ridiculous in one particular statistics class, in which I'd basically walk out of the room, check my email and various web forums, and then walk back in. The teacher didn't care - I got all of my work done and she was busy enough dealing with other pupils.

If a school wants to stop people from blogging or using the net 'frivolously', that's their prerogative, although they should make their guidelines clear.
posted by adrianhon at 7:38 AM on September 26, 2002

McSweetie -- huh? Why would that require an NDA?
posted by tweebiscuit at 7:38 AM on September 26, 2002

mcsweetie.....in catoosa or walker?
posted by mkelley at 7:38 AM on September 26, 2002

Ick. "Balling" your eyes out. Really bad image.
posted by ptermit at 7:47 AM on September 26, 2002

RJ: According to him, he has a "PERFECT perm. record".

When I was in high school, we used the school video camera to make stupid movies in our free time (that had nothing to do with classes). It was not technically allowed, but we didn't do anything stupid, so no one bothered us.
It is in large part due to this benevolence that I am doing the things that I do now. Good education encourages this sort of thing, I think, so long as the kid doesn't do anything bad.
posted by Fabulon7 at 7:51 AM on September 26, 2002

A girl in my high school was booted from her soccer team for having a six-pack in her car. She had a soccer scholarship to college that was revoked.

I understand rules, but shouldn't the punishment fit the crime? I mean expulsion? This sounds as harmless as writing poetry in you notebook during physics class.

I really think all this zero tolerance stuff is ridiculous.
posted by xammerboy at 7:57 AM on September 26, 2002

And we can't forget that if the boy isn't taking a class on blogging, then blogging is a sign of independent thought, which is strictly forbidden in the public school system.
posted by botono9 at 7:58 AM on September 26, 2002

there really has to be more to this story, otherwise this just kind of smells of 'going too far' on the part of the school.

when I was in high school I got banned from using the internet there for flaming people on newsgroups, saying things ten times worse than this kid has said (from what I've read on the blod), and I still was eventually let back on. They did, however, start cracking down on any non-educational use soon thereafter.
posted by trioperative at 7:59 AM on September 26, 2002

Help stamp out bloggers! To many now. Tax blogs!
posted by Postroad at 8:00 AM on September 26, 2002

tweebiscuit -- it's a long story, but I'll tell it if anyone wants to read it.

mkelley - catoosa! ringgold high school, to be exact.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:33 AM on September 26, 2002

Am I the only one that found it amusing that he wrote that post from school? ("Dad is picking me up in a minute, ttyl")

If so, didn't he just violate the request they just gave him to stop blogging?
posted by mathowie at 8:54 AM on September 26, 2002

I agree that the school has a right to restrict the use of its resources and the activity of students during the school day, but what is up "I had to write this affidavit telling them everything I knew about my blog, how long I had been posting from school, who else from my school had a blog and everything.

But it troubles me greatly that school administators would comingle concerns about posting from school with "who else has a blog" (not, according to our correspondent anyway "who else is posting from school").

Schools have a history of shutting down free speech. There are lots of examples, but the one I was personally associated with involved the expulsion of two friends from high school for publishing an alternative school paper with their own money and on their own time--the boot of authority stomped them and bullied them to provide lists of all the contributors so they could be 'taken out to the woodshed.' The ACLU took the case, they sued and won (scroll down), ABC made an afterschool special about the case, and they were roundly demonized in their small town for ever after.

I don't know the facts in this case beyond what BEACHtechie wrote, but I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt for the moment.
posted by donovan at 8:56 AM on September 26, 2002

I assumed he was posting from a friend's house or something, not from school. If so, that's pretty funny.
Regardless, any written anything that ends with "Dad is picking me up in a minute, ttyl" is always funny.
posted by Fabulon7 at 9:22 AM on September 26, 2002

Either the kid can't spell, or there's some serious violence going on. First he says he's balling his eyes out (sure hope that melon baller is sterile...) and then he tells us his face was "beat red".

Help stamp out violence against bloggers!
posted by PeteBevin at 10:23 AM on September 26, 2002

And we can't forget that if the boy isn't taking a class on blogging, then blogging is a sign of independent thought, which is strictly forbidden in the public school system.

It's scary because it's true, but it's not limited to public schools. God, I'll never forget discovering the computer lab at the Catholic school I transferred to in the second grade. I'd never seen a computer and had a couple weeks of grand recesstime fun learning to shoot monochromatic spaceships to bits. Until the nuns caught me at it and banned me from the computer lab forever... because I had not been at the school to take the first grade computer class that all the other kids had taken. Obviously it was impossible that I should pick anything up myself. A decade passed before I found another chance to learn about computers, and now I suffer from feelings of geek-inadequacy when my friends reminisce about their Commodore 64s and their TRS-80s and their Apple IIs.

About a year after the computer lab incident, I got into trouble for something-or-other, and my teacher told me I wouldn't be allowed any more art classes for the year. Later she caught some kids watching me draw a picture of my dog one recess and told me that I couldn't even draw during the break. Sadistic bitch... she knew how I loved to draw, and I showed some real talent back when the competition was eight-year-olds.

So you can't even pin the school system's emphases on compliance and conformity on overworked teachers at understaffed public schools: there were just 15 kids in my grade at this particular Catholic school. It's no wonder I was being regularly suspended from classes by the fifth grade; I'm sure I was bored and frustrated right out of my prepubescent little mind.

I can't make heads or tails out of what actually happened to this kid with the blog, but I feel his pain. One day I'm gonna have a kid of my own, and he's gonna come home and announce to me, "Mom, the schools are prisons of fascistic oppression," and I'm gonna say, "Yes, sweetie, they absolutely are. PB&J?"
posted by Sapphireblue at 10:35 AM on September 26, 2002

Damn, I'm sure glad my kids will be home schooled.
posted by Nauip at 11:06 AM on September 26, 2002

Wow, and you wonder why kids think they hate writing?! If it hadn't been for my blog, high school would have permanently turned me off of using the written (typed) word.
posted by anildash at 11:19 AM on September 26, 2002

I think the only thing he's really guilty of is his lack of stealth.

Me, I'm like a serial killer in sweatsocks.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:43 AM on September 26, 2002

I'm pretty sure somewhere on your employee contract is something about the appropriate use of business equipment.

And all of us are in breach of that right this minute.

posted by linux at 11:48 AM on September 26, 2002

Adrianhon: we don't have anything like what you describe. Students often take study halls as a class (at least, they did in my public high school), but you are actually expected to do work during that time. Of course, that didn't stop me from posting from the newspaper lab, or whatever other room had an active computer.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 1:38 PM on September 26, 2002

I'm going to have to vouch for the fact school's are, excuse the cliche term, Nazis when it comes to things like this. I have a feeling nearly every school in America is the same.

Several years ago a few students fed up with the school's newspaper (this is in pre-blog days) decided to run their own underground paper questioning school policy on things like fund allotment and the such. I don't have the full story, I just know that instead of being applauded for taking the initiative to be active in their community, they were kicked out.

I block the entire IP block of my school. I suggest everyone who is in a similar situation to do the same. Try to separate blog and work/school as much as possible. It seems a real good defense to say, "Well I took every measure possible to block access from the school."

I really wish I knew what school's are so afraid of. I mean if you aren't posting lists of teachers you're going to kill, there's nothing to be afraid of. It seems just an excuse to be power hungry on a group of people who don't have many defendants (alumni aren't going to give big bucks to school's with students that have blogs).
posted by geoff. at 6:36 PM on September 26, 2002

Dark Messiah : please define research, and how posting to a blog or making a blog can't be considered "research of other people with common interests that could give me some information useful for my studying". Sounds lawyersque ? Maybe, but if the school wants to stop people
from using school resource they should damn well learn how to write a contract : maybe they'll welcome the reality that a lawyer is much much more expensive then letting a guy post his tought on the web with a nice "this guy opinion aren't necessarily school opinion and this site
isn't monitored" stamp over the webpage.
posted by elpapacito at 8:05 PM on September 26, 2002

sammydman actually believes he was IM'ed by the ACLU. bwahahaahahahahahahahahaha!
posted by quonsar at 8:43 PM on September 26, 2002

quonsar, you nitwit, the ACLU is a membership organization, with decentralized state and local affiliates and chapters. It's entirely possible that a member IM'd him. It's not like it's the Supreme Court or something. Many of its members are practicing lawyers.

Note: since it was made an issue in the Dukakis campaign, you now get an actual card if you join.
posted by dhartung at 9:46 PM on September 26, 2002

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