Should a student be suspended for posting an incriminating photo of an educator on Facebook?


A school has wide authority on how to respond to actions that take place inside the school’s premises, but what about outside? If a student posts an incriminating photo of an educator on Facebook, should that student be suspended?

According to a news report, that’s evidently what happened to 12 students in a high-school in California. The students posted a photo of the school’s principal apparently choking a ninth grader (shown above). According to the principal, he was trying to remove the student from a fight, but she fell while he was trying to do so and she subsequently suffered injuries that now require a neck brace.

A couple things jump to mind here for me. First, I’m not sure I totally trust the reporting on this story. Were the students suspended for posting a photo, or were they suspended for instigating a fight that they planned to start in reaction to the principal’s actions? If the former, that strikes me as draconian. If the latter, then a suspension is probably appropriate.

Second, the neck brace seems fabricated. When the injured student was interviewed by a local news station, she remained lying on the couch the entire time, but she was later filmed at the school moving around just fine.

Still, you don’t put people in a chokehold. That’s just something you don’t do unless you’re faking it (WWE) or you mean to seriously injure them — the risk of doing serious damage is just too great. Even if the principal’s actions were well-intentioned, his actions probably made the situation far worse.

Last but not least, should a school be monitoring the social activity of its students? Shouldn’t what is said and posted on Facebook be considered outside of the school’s authority?


Nathan Caldwell is the owner and founder of the Young Writers Society and its group blog, Writing Gooder.

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2 Responses

  1. Blues says:

    [quote]Last but not least, should a school be monitoring the social activity of its students? Shouldn’t what is said and posted on Facebook be considered outside of the school’s authority?[/quote]

    Yes and no. Name calling on the internet by other students (if it’s something along the lines of calling someone Edward Cullen if someone actually sparkled or something not -that- bad) isn’t always something that can or should be reported to the police, but it shouldn’t be left to get out of control and the school can become an objective liaison between the two parties. But with that, there is the issue of the school becoming Big Brother. Sometimes you’d rather not have to be under the watchful eye of your teachers all the time.

  2. Lava says:

    I think for the most part, a school should not ‘monitor’ activity outside classes.
    Although the schools do have a part in bringing up and educating a child, outside the school should not be closely monitored – I say this because during my school we’ve been called to the Principal’s office for a host of things – from eating after hours at a certain bakery to playing “holi”festivities outside after school.

    Facebook photos are a slightly more murky domain. Photos from inside class – would imply within school premises. So, there’s a fair sense in the management wanting to look through that. But this also invades the privacy of the students, so it’s a yes and no.
    Handling with caution and responding only to serious implication maybe the way right now.

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