Next Web Reports
, a 12-year-old girl from Minnesota posted a not-so-nice
comment on her Facebook page—she said she hated a hall monitor who had been
mean to her. Her school decided this constituted bullying and she was put into
detention and forced to apologize. When she retaliated by cursing out whoever
had told the school about her comments—again, on Facebook—her school’s
administrations gave her an in-school suspension.
Earlier this year,
Later, the school demanded she hand over the passwords to
both her Facebook account and her private email account. Why? Because a male
classmate’s mother complained to the school that her son and the girl had been
talking about sex.
What did the girl do? She sued.
At the beginning of this month, a U.S. district judge ruled
that the school had violated the First Amendment (protecting free speech) and
the Fourth Amendment (protecting against unreasonable search and seizure, or
privacy). The judge declared that punishment for things said on social networks
violates free speech unless what is said poses a safety risk or creates a
substantial disruption of the school environment. Further, the judge decided
that private emails and Facebook messages, like letters, are just
that—private—and cannot be searched without reason, or without an attempt to
minimize the intrusion.
While the court is still looking into the veracity of the
girl’s claims, if her side of the story checks out, the school will probably
end of paying her a settlement. Regardless, the judge’s ruling stands:
punishing students for posts on social networks and requiring a student to
supply social media and email passwords and then searching their accounts is a
civil rights violation.
What do you think of
this case, babe? Does calling someone “mean” count as bullying? Do you think
your school should be able to decide what’s OK and what’s not OK for students
to post on social networks?
BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 9/17/2012 4:13:00 PM
POSTED IN In the News, social media,