Friday, March 03, 2006

Did this school do the right thing?

According to this report, 20 school students were suspended after seeing a posting on a MySpace.com website that contained a threat directed toward a girl at the school. Did the school overstep its bounds by disciplining students for actions that occurred on personal computers, at home and after school hours?

2 comments:

Simon said...

I think the School clearly did the right thing - the posting constitutes bullying (or even assault).

The fact that it occurred through personal computers outside of school hours is irrelevant. The mere fact it involves students from the same school is enough.

Traditional notions of discipline should evolve with developing technology.

Floris said...

I agree with the above comment. The threats will negatively impact upon the student threatened, the school’s reputation and other students. Such threats and comments are easily disseminated through the Internet and read by different sections of the community.

It is however acknowledged that the school’s decision impacts upon the values of freedom of speech and privacy. The school is regulating the home life of students.

In other jurisdictions, for example, the United States, students have taken legal action in response to their suspension or expulsion for comments made on the Internet in their own time. The following links provide examples of two instances:

http://www.freedomforum.org/templates/document.asp?documentID=10591

http://www.freedomforum.org/templates/document.asp?documentID=12097