I’m sure that this article would have made for great discussion in our school law class. However, since we are no longer in class, I will open up the topic for debate via WordPress. The question: Was the expulsion of high school senior, Austin Carroll, a violation of his First Amendment right to free speech or his Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure? Read below for a brief summary of the facts of the incident. Click here for the full article.
1. Late one night, Austin couldn’t go to sleep, so he got on Twitter and used the F-word many times. He did not direct his tweets to anyone nor did he write about anything school related.
2. Several days later, Austin was expelled from school because of his tweets.
3. Austin claims that he wrote the tweets during non-school hours and that he used his own computer and was not logged onto the school network.
4. The school division claims that Austin used either the school issued computer or the school network. The superintendent says that the school network has a filter that flags inappropriate content (including language).
5. Students have to sign the “Acceptable Use Policy”. However, the policy fails to mention anything about language or personal posts.
So, what do you think? Did the administration make the right decision by expelling Austin or did they violate his rights?