High school student expelled for swearing on Twitter

A couple of days ago, we reported on the case of a young British man who was jailed for 56 days after making racist comments on Twitter. A few days earlier, though, on the other side of the pond in Garrett, Indiana, a high school student also had to face the consequences of his tweets – although the circumstances in that case were very different indeed.

High school senior Austin Carroll had posted numerous tweets containing profanities on his personal Twitter account. Carroll said that one example of his tweets read: “F****** is one of those f****** words you can f****** put anywhere in a f****** sentence and it still f****** makes sense”.

The student clearly does not deny writing and posting the tweets in question. But Garrett High School alleged that Carroll did so from a school computer. He denied this, claiming that he had tweeted from his home PC, and insisted that the school was poking its nose where it didn’t belong. He said: “If my account is on my personal account [sic], I don’t think the school or anybody should be looking at it. Because it’s my own personal stuff and it’s none of their business.”

Garrett High School’s principal explained to Indiana’s NewsCenter that the school actively monitors students’ social media activity on its equipment and all tweets on a Twitter account are tracked when a student logs in to the network.

According to Fort Wayne's Journal Gazette, the tweets had in fact been posted in the middle of the night, as late as 2:30am, so if nothing else, it’s fair to say that the student was on his own time. The school maintained that the tweets “had the school’s IP address”, but Carroll’s mother remained adamant that her son had tweeted from their home computer. She said that she didn’t approve of the language her son had used, but defended his right to privacy outside of school hours. Garrett High School ultimately ruled that the tweets had been posted from a school laptop, and Carroll was subsequently expelled.

He added: “I didn’t post the thing at school, but their computer is saying that I did post it, and I shouldn’t be getting in trouble for stuff I did on my own time, on my computer. I just want to be able to go back to regular school, go to prom and go to everything that a regular senior would get to do in their senior year.”

Carroll will be permitted to complete his studies at another school.


Image via Indiana's NewsCenter

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Im going to sum up the article again because people just assume **** and dont read:

The kid basically at 2AM at his home posted on Twitter, the following, among other things: "F****** is one of those f****** words you can f****** put anywhere in a f****** sentence and it still f****** makes sense"

He arrived at school either the next day or some days after that and was expeled for using a vulgar slang english word. Sources have proved that indeed he posted at his house, and logically by the time of the post, he couldnt have posted at the school.


That basically sums it up. Read.

This doesn't make any sense. If the school fears the students posting on school hours and using school's resources why don't they block the whole thing?

What was he doing at school at 2 AM? My gosh, this school administration is stupid. Three months to go and they're going to suspend the guy? Kudos to him on finding another school, one that doesn't feel the need to monitor their student's social activities. Don't they have other things to do?

srprimeaux said,
What was he doing at school at 2 AM? My gosh, this school administration is stupid. Three months to go and they're going to suspend the guy? Kudos to him on finding another school, one that doesn't feel the need to monitor their student's social activities. Don't they have other things to do?

HE wasnt at school, he was using a computer provided by the school. which most likely VPNS back into the schools serves so he can access learning recoruces and his data held on his school account. obvously using abusive language on school property is some thin he shouldnt have been doing. what adumb ass for tweeting that like any one cares, but hey hes got the attention he wanted.

xSuRgEx said,

HE wasnt at school, he was using a computer provided by the school. which most likely VPNS back into the schools serves so he can access learning recoruces and his data held on his school account. obvously using abusive language on school property is some thin he shouldnt have been doing. what adumb ass for tweeting that like any one cares, but hey hes got the attention he wanted.

FTA:
The kid and his mom both stated that it was his own computer. The school, also does not make the claim that it was their machine. Merely that it was on their IP address. The original article states that the school scans all tweets whenever someone logs in from school.

I think he logged in the next day at school, the school saw what was on his account, and they expelled him.

xSuRgEx said,

HE wasnt at school, he was using a computer provided by the school. which most likely VPNS back into the schools serves so he can access learning recoruces and his data held on his school account. obvously using abusive language on school property is some thin he shouldnt have been doing. what adumb ass for tweeting that like any one cares, but hey hes got the attention he wanted.


READ THE ARTICLE.

It was HIS computer. The school had nothing to do with this.

How the hell would he have the school's IP address if he was at home? The school IT department either A) has no clue what they're talking about, or B) the administration is clueless and relaying false information. To begin with, I am sure that school's wireless network wouldn't reach his home.

FTA:
"The principal at Garrett High School claims their system tracks all the tweets on Twitter when a student logs in, meaning even if he did tweet it from home their system could have recognized it when he logged in again at school. "

So basically, he made the "offensive" tweets from home, on his own PC. Then, while at school, he logged in to his Twitter account, and the school's spyware flagged his previous tweets, and suspended him.

Ridiculous.

Hambone72 said,
FTA:
"The principal at Garrett High School claims their system tracks all the tweets on Twitter when a student logs in, meaning even if he did tweet it from home their system could have recognized it when he logged in again at school. "

So basically, he made the "offensive" tweets from home, on his own PC. Then, while at school, he logged in to his Twitter account, and the school's spyware flagged his previous tweets, and suspended him.

Ridiculous.

No. What is ridiculous is that he is logging in on a school computer and tweeting.

Tuishimi said,

No. What is ridiculous is that he is logging in on a school computer and tweeting.

LOL, so you're saying that, in the USA, it is OK for a school to EXPEL a student for writing the F-word on twitter at 2am from his own home on his own PC?

Nice.

Tuishimi said,

No. What is ridiculous is that he is logging in on a school computer and tweeting.


Again he did not login on the school computer and tweeted this.

He did it on his own time and home and with his equipment.

I've seen kids walk up to teachers and tell them to F off. Suspension at most, if anything. The issue isn't the twitter thing, it's that he got expelled for just swearing in the first place....

Sounds to me this School is just trying to set an example, and they went too far with it. If my Kid went to that School, I'd remove them from it. Put them in an environment a little more down-to-earth.

astropheed said,
I've seen kids walk up to teachers and tell them to F off. Suspension at most, if anything. The issue isn't the twitter thing, it's that he got expelled for just swearing in the first place....

Sounds to me this School is just trying to set an example, and they went too far with it. If my Kid went to that School, I'd remove them from it. Put them in an environment a little more down-to-earth.

Ok, think of it like this, you go to work and have 17,000 bosses, because that is what school districts have to deal with, at least 1 parent for every kid in the entire district telling them how they should handle this. Which approach do you choose?

Odds are this is not his first offense. Most school districts require the school board to decide an expulsion. In most cases they meet once a month. Also this is interweb reports as well, odds are when they said expelled, they meant suspended.

CyberWolf said,

...Odds are this is not his first offense...

...Which approach do you choose?...

I can't make those kind of assumptions, since the article doesn't mention anything about it. Seems fair for me to form an opinion only on the information I'm given, assumptions have no real place in it.

And the approach I would choose: Suspend the kid and not listen to 17,000 people making irrational decisions about indefinitely affecting the outcome of this child's future because he said a no-no word.

Kids are so retarded these days.

A) Why would you let your school even know what your Twitter account name is
and
B) Why would you ever be dumb enough to login to anything much less Twitter on any insecure system like a school's???

Nogib said,
Kids are so retarded these days.

A) Why would you let your school even know what your Twitter account name is
and
B) Why would you ever be dumb enough to login to anything much less Twitter on any insecure system like a school's???

If he used a school computer then there is no hiding it. We tell all our users, staff and student, we can see all activity all the time. If you do not want it as public record, do not do it on a school computer.

why are we paying somebody in the public school system to monitor social apps like facebook and twitter?

Seems like a huge waiste of money... But that's not uncommon in the US government...

bguy_1986 said,
why are we paying somebody in the public school system to monitor social apps like facebook and twitter?

Seems like a huge waiste of money... But that's not uncommon in the US government...

You are not. The systems are automated and kick out a report every morning. If the systems were not monitored and controlled you would be complaining that inappropriate content is being shown to minors.

I work in a high school district as an IT professional. People have no idea the rules and regulations we have to follow to maintain funding from the state and federal government.

What do you say to the next parent that walks in and complains about the first kids language and behavior on a school computer and then sues you because you exposed their child to profanity? You think it won't happen? Already has, thousands of times, and it never gets public attention. School districts are constantly being sued.

You want to stick a small toe into the pool regarding this subject... Start there and work your way in to the various laws.

http://www.4kids.org/safesurf/adults/coppa_cipa.shtml

My school's computers block facebook, twitter, youtube and other social sites, along with obvious adult content. Problem solved.

CyberWolf said,

You are not. The systems are automated and kick out a report every morning. If the systems were not monitored and controlled you would be complaining that inappropriate content is being shown to minors.

I work in a high school district as an IT professional. People have no idea the rules and regulations we have to follow to maintain funding from the state and federal government.

What do you say to the next parent that walks in and complains about the first kids language and behavior on a school computer and then sues you because you exposed their child to profanity? You think it won't happen? Already has, thousands of times, and it never gets public attention. School districts are constantly being sued.

You want to stick a small toe into the pool regarding this subject... Start there and work your way in to the various laws.

http://www.4kids.org/safesurf/adults/coppa_cipa.shtml

I wonder what would happen if one posted 123456789 FSP on their facebook xD lolololololol... if you don't know what that is, get yourself acquainted with Bob Orilee.

How is using a computer at a school any different from using a computer at work? I view or write questionable things while using a work computer, even off hours, and I am held responsible by the company and have to submit to reprimand or even possibly be fired.

While I don't agree with what the school did, I love this little bit here.

“If my account is on my personal account [sic], I don't think the school or anybody should be looking at it. Because it's my own personal stuff and it's none of their business.”

I'd say the best bet is if you don't want others to see it, no matter who it is, then you probably shouldn't put it on the internet in the first place. It's sad but, privacy on the internet is becoming more and more of a myth.

Lels said,
While I don't agree with what the school did, I love this little bit here.

“If my account is on my personal account [sic], I don't think the school or anybody should be looking at it. Because it's my own personal stuff and it's none of their business.”

I'd say the best bet is if you don't want others to see it, no matter who it is, then you probably shouldn't put it on the internet in the first place. It's sad but, privacy on the internet is becoming more and more of a myth.


That's what I thought too but I still don't agree with their decision. Heck, I don't agree with the people allowing what you said to be the case.

Unless the school has logged the traffic through its firewall, how would they know the ip address a particular tweet came from without getting that info from twitter admins?

duddit2 said,
Unless the school has logged the traffic through its firewall, how would they know the ip address a particular tweet came from without getting that info from twitter admins?

That's what I'd like to know, as well.

duddit2 said,
Unless the school has logged the traffic through its firewall, how would they know the ip address a particular tweet came from without getting that info from twitter admins?

You answered your own question

Hambone72 said,
Anyone out there care to explain to me how the school got the IP address from which he tweeted?

ISP

htcz said,

ISP

They couldn't possibly have had twitter contact the ISP to hand over the IP address, right?

So then, the school is his ISP?

This doesn't make any sense.

Hambone72 said,

They couldn't possibly have had twitter contact the ISP to hand over the IP address, right?

So then, the school is his ISP?

This doesn't make any sense.

Most schools use proxies.

Hambone72 said,
Anyone out there care to explain to me how the school got the IP address from which he tweeted?

Because he was going through the school's VPN at the time, the tweet would have been monitored by the school. SSL means nothing as the school could be doing a MITM on his laptop.

ThePitt said,
free speech!. Not in america

Free Speech does not exist on the Internet. Servers are private property of someone, and they dictate what can or cannot be done. Your ISP could adopt a policy of no profanity in anything traveling through their network, and they would be well in their right to do so.

RichardK said,

Free Speech does not exist on the Internet. Servers are private property of someone, and they dictate what can or cannot be done. Your ISP could adopt a policy of no profanity in anything traveling through their network, and they would be well in their right to do so.

Except to enforce and track that, they'd need to snoop on your internet traffic which I believe is against the law without a court issued warrant.

juresp said,
This would be ridiculous even if he posted the tweets from the school's computer.

No because they are school property. That I would completely understand.

htcz said,

No because they are school property. That I would completely understand.

So what? It's his account. Being expelled is a huge deal, especially in senior year, it interrupts your studies for one thing, let alone the social side of your life. This isn't even a detention type offence (it's not an offence at all).

Minimoose said,

So what? It's his account. Being expelled is a huge deal, especially in senior year, it interrupts your studies for one thing, let alone the social side of your life. This isn't even a detention type offence (it's not an offence at all).

No, it's not his account. It's an account owned by the school on a school owned server that the school has given permission for him to use for a limited range of purposes, swearing not being one of them.

However, I don't believe he should have got expelled for the mere fact that it came from a school IP. A detention would be a suitable punishment for using a school resource for online public swearing, while out of school at home.

rtire said,
No, it's not his account. It's an account owned by the school on a school owned server that the school has given permission for him to use for a limited range of purposes, swearing not being one of them.

That's not what the article above seems to imply. Where is your source for that?

rtire said,
However, I don't believe he should have got expelled for the mere fact that it came from a school IP. .

That's just it though, how the heck do the school know what IP a tweet originated from? Twitter don't generally give out your IP address to everybody just happening to look at your tweet... do they?

rtire said,

No, it's not his account. It's an account owned by the school on a school owned server that the school has given permission for him to use for a limited range of purposes, swearing not being one of them.

However, I don't believe he should have got expelled for the mere fact that it came from a school IP. A detention would be a suitable punishment for using a school resource for online public swearing, while out of school at home.


A Twitter account made by the school used by a student?

Are you high or something?

I read this and thought WTF....but then the student could be connected via VPN to the school, hence the school IP Address - or some similar secure connection with all internet traffic routed back and filtered via the school.

GE

garethevans1986 said,
I read this and thought WTF....but then the student could be connected via VPN to the school, hence the school IP Address - or some similar secure connection with all internet traffic routed back and filtered via the school.

GE


1: Why would he connect via VPN to his school at that time?
2: Those are off school hours; I think he is pretty much more or less (unless it is dangerous for the school such as bullying) to do whatever the **** he wants....

htcz said,

1: Why would he connect via VPN to his school at that time?

School laptops commonly connect to the VPN automatically, so that all Internet access can be monitored and filtered.

rtire said,

School laptops commonly connect to the VPN automatically, so that all Internet access can be monitored and filtered.


But the laptop was not school property.

If this is indeed true (and Twitter gets its time from a server, not the local PC time) then I see a lawsuit coming.

A big one at that.

He has just been locked up for it.

To be honest whether this story is justified I don't know, but people need to be responsible for the Internet otherwise attention seeking little trolls will ruin it for the masses.

htcz said,

Completely different and nonrelated. I, BTW, dont agree with that one either. I agree it is incorrect what he said but atrrested? No.

Completely off topic.

These things happened in different nations. The guy arrested was in the UK. From what I've read, the UK has more limited free speech than the US.

I am astounded that this kid was expelled from his US high school. I agree with the parent that there is a lawsuit coming here. He did it on his own time, from his own PC. The school has no business in his private life.

stevember said,
He has just been locked up for it.

To be honest whether this story is justified I don't know, but people need to be responsible for the Internet otherwise attention seeking little trolls will ruin it for the masses.


They are "attention seeking little trolls" only if YOU pay attention to them.

htcz said,
If this is indeed true (and Twitter gets its time from a server, not the local PC time) then I see a lawsuit coming.

A big one at that.

yeah school pretty much ruined the senior high class on this little fishing snafu.

very hard to get expelled when I was in high school and hearing the schools gym teacher say f**k after he tripped over the fence on the inside loop around the track outside isn't one of them. since a Lutheran high school doesn't consider gutter language swearing. Swearing is Jesus H Christ Goddamn, damn, hell, heck .. any of those could get you detention. But not expelled. Expelled at our school is 1. throwing 2 tiny rocks thru our big tempered windows. ahem. oops. well don't touch the glass it might just all fall down. or squirting mustard in the desk of the bad temper teacher. eek. who sent me to the principles office for whatever reason and when I explained it when I was in there they were like what??? oh go back.. so had to explain it to her that I didn't do anything wrong. nutcase school here is likely going to have ACLU pains...

I agree with you there it is his own time at home, and no reason to be involved in his private life.

Hambone72 said,

These things happened in different nations. The guy arrested was in the UK. From what I've read, the UK has more limited free speech than the US.

I am astounded that this kid was expelled from his US high school. I agree with the parent that there is a lawsuit coming here. He did it on his own time, from his own PC. The school has no business in his private life.

David085 said,
I agree with you there it is his own time at home, and no reason to be involved in his private life.

Even if it wasn't on his own time I can't count how much swearing I heard in high school. I could understand getting corrective learning or weekend detention (those were 2 main punishments at my school) but definitely not expelled... Hell there's been brawls that happened there in the middle of hallways where 3 or 4 kids started beating the crap out of each other and they all only got suspended for a week...

htcz said,

Completely different and nonrelated. I, BTW, dont agree with that one either. I agree it is incorrect what he said but atrrested? No.

Completely off topic.

So threatening people with "I'll stomp on your face till it's flat" is not an arrestable offence?

It's also not off topic.

Hambone72 said,

These things happened in different nations. The guy arrested was in the UK. From what I've read, the UK has more limited free speech than the US.

I am astounded that this kid was expelled from his US high school. I agree with the parent that there is a lawsuit coming here. He did it on his own time, from his own PC. The school has no business in his private life.

Free speech does not cover the right to be racist

Largoh said,

So threatening people with "I'll stomp on your face till it's flat" is not an arrestable offence?

It's also not off topic.


There is a difference between a bully comment which is what you posted and saying english words.