by Mike Masnick
Mon, Nov 2nd 2009 1:03pm
We've seen a bunch of stories lately about schools handing out discipline for activities done online, and conflicting court cases on the subject make it fairly unclear where a school's authority to discipline students ends. In the latest case, two sophomore high school girls posted private photos to their MySpace accounts from a sleepover. The photos are described as "racy." While they were set to private, someone copied them, and eventually school administrators saw them and banned the girls from extracurricular activities for a while and also required that the two girls apologize to the (all male) coaches' board. It also required the girls to undergo therapy sessions. All this because they posted some silly photos online? Beyond the question of whether or not the school even has the right to discipline these students for events that had nothing (at all) to do with the school, the punishment also seems to go well beyond the "crime." Kids do silly/stupid things all the time. And, yes, these days there are cameraphones and social networks that make these things easier to record and distribute, but it doesn't change the fact that kids are kids. I doubt there are many adults out there today who didn't do something silly or stupid as a teen. For those of you who are a bit older, imagine if cameraphones and social networks had been around then? Would you have wanted to have been suspended from school activities? The whole thing seems like a huge overreaction.
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