Back in the day, teens would usually confine their profanity to places and people slightly more receptive to the F-word. Behind closed doors, in back of the local gym, gas station or neighbor’s house — far away from the hearing and immediate disapproval of their parents and other adults who might overhear them. As we all know, those good ol’ days are long gone. The latest instance of a teen’s private-public F-bomb made national news.
Austin Carroll, a high school senior, writing from his home, recently held forth for his online friends by dropping — you guessed it — an amazing number of F-bombs in his “colorful” Twitter post. His profanity was aimed at no one in particular, not his teachers or school administrators or his fellow students. But when his high school got wind of his F bomb Tweet, Austin was expelled.Austin is presumably appealing his expulsion, arguing, no doubt, that his free speech rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution have been impermissibly trampled by the school ‘s order of expulsion.
He has an excellent argument. However, the little that his school has leaked indicates that he was online either (1) using his school issued computer, and/or, (2) using his school’s web portal when sending out his Tweet.
This recent example brings the issue of school disciplinary actions on social media in the national spotlight. On one hand, increased scrutiny by the schools may be a solution for cyberbulling, but what about teens who are just blowing off a little steam and not directing their messages at anyone?
While the case in point is still ongoing, one thing can be said for sure: teens need to be a bit more cautious when posting online. In this day and age, you never know who’s watching.