PJ Media

Do Schools Have Jurisdiction over Kids on the Internet?

This is a tough one and it is hard to say how I feel about it (Hat Tip to a href=”https://treatmentonline.com/treatments.php?id=519″Treatment online/a). A teen in California and his friends were suspended in February for making (and viewing) threats on a href=”http://www.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=splash”MySpace.com/a:br /br /blockquotea href=”http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/MYSPACE_SUSPENSIONS?SITE=7219SECTION=HOMETEMPLATE=DEFAULTCTIME=2006-03-02-15-08-13″A middle school student /a faces expulsion for allegedly posting graphic threats against a classmate on the popular MySpace.com Web site, and 20 of his classmates were suspended for viewing the posting, school officials said.br /br /Police are investigating the boy’s comments about his classmate at TeWinkle Middle School as a possible hate crime, and the district is trying to expel him.br /br /According to three parents of the suspended students, the invitation to join the boy’s MySpace group gave no indication of the alleged threat. They said the MySpace social group name’s was “I hate (girl’s name)” and included an expletive and an anti-Semitic reference.br /br /A later message to group members directed them to a nondescript folder, which included a posting that allegedly asked: “Who here in the (group name) wants to take a shotgun and blast her in the head over a thousand times?”br /br /Because the creator of a posting can change its content at any time, it’s unclear how much the students saw./blockquotebr /a href=”https://treatmentonline.com/treatments.php?id=519″Treatment online /ahad this to say about the case:br /br /blockquoteChances are, the California middle school student, who authorities will thankfully not mention by name due to his age, will not be reinstated. The threat of violence, and the graphic nature of the threats made to a specific target take this case above and beyond the more questionable calls that districts have had to make in the past. These new technologies are presenting administrators with new challenges every week. School districts must respond with very specific guidelines about what they expect from students both while they are in school and while they are at home. The debate will most likely hinge on whether the internet, as some folks in Littleton argued, can be considered part of the overall learning environment, and therefore when students post harassing, mocking or even threatening things online they are in fact disturbing that learning atmosphere. There will not be any easy answers, and districts will be forced to be flexible and learn along with parents. Discussing these issues with students may help create a more open dialogue and educate decision makers about some of the attitudes and behaviors that they need to understand./blockquotebr /br /I think my uneasiness with this case is that the 20 classmates were suspended by the school for viewing a message by the boy who put out the threat. Did they suspend any of the kids who previous school shooters told about their crimes? For example, many studies found that the a href=”http://www.icrsurvey.com/Study.aspx?f=SchoolPollII.html”school shooters told classmates /aabout their plans and left clues that could have warned of the attacks. However, I have never heard of the classmates who knew the plans being suspended, arrested, or held accountable for what they heard. br /br /What do you think? Should schools have the right to expel or regulate their students on the internet outside of the school setting?