The PJ Tatler

'YOLO' Tweet During Texas STAAR Test Gets Student Suspended

Educators deliver heavy-handed lesson to kid for the crime, basically, of being a kid.

“I was being a high school kid getting on Twitter,” [Arlington, TX junior Kyron Birdine] explained.

Using an iPad, he tweeted a photo of the word YOLO (“you only live once”) and a smiley face scribbled on the essay portion of the exam, along with this declaration: “I have the TAKS test to study for, not this unneeded craziness.”

He sent it to Arlington ISD and the Texas Education Agency.

The junior, who nearly has a 3.0 grade point average and a high score on the PSAT, will be graduating under TAKS testing standards, not STAAR.

“It wasn’t for a grade,” Kyron said. “Colleges don’t see it. It didn’t benefit my personal life at all.”


But STAAR impacts the money that public schools get.

After the tweet, school officials yanked him from class, called his parents, claimed he had violated the test’s security somehow, and handed him a four-day in school suspension.

Kind of ridiculous. Kind of Stalinist, actually, unless blue lines on a white page are a STAAR state secret. It looks like they’ll hang him on this.

Any student’s cell phones will be confiscated before testing begins. If one does not turn in a cell phone to the proctor before the test and the cell phone rings during the test, a student’s test scores will be invalidated, and the proctor, along with the student, will be dealt with by an administrator. The proctor or student may wind up in legal trouble.

The real security violation in this case is that the student is openly contemptuous of the bureaucrats.

He had to delete the tweet, and apparently has taken one Twitter stream private. He has another with no tweets, and the only message there is “I’m just chill.”


Birdine sounds like a good kid, and he isn’t alone in being skeptical of the STAAR testing regime.

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