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back to article High school student expelled for dropping F-bomb in tweet

An Indiana student has been expelled from school after sending a profane – if rather witty – tweet from his personal account. "Fuck is one of those Fucking words you can Fucking put anywhere in a Fucking sentence and it still Fucking makes sense," it read. Austin Carroll, formerly of Garrett High School, claims he sent the …

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Anonymous Coward

To far

I think that this snooping by schools goes far beyond any reason to know and violates the basic rights of students. I hope that this principle and the school is sued for everything they have

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Re: To far

"To far"? "Principle"? If thou art trolling, well played sire.

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Silver badge

Re: To far

To be fair, it IS in most school codes that profanity is not allowed (just as lewd clothing is not allowed--you're there to LEARN, not to pick up girls/guys). If the tweet had been done on school equipment (and thus public property), then it is likely well within the school's rights to discipline the student for breaking the conduct codes.

That said, outright expulsion seems VERY extreme for profanity. Detention, a weekend detention, or perhaps a day of in-school suspension would've likely sufficed to let the student know that spouting obscenities on school property is not proper behaviour.

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Re: To far

The grossly out of proportion punishment makes me wonder if he was really expelled for the profanity, or for being unapologetic about it. To certain kinds of authorities, refusal to submit and refusal to acknowledge their Moral Rightness when confronted is a far worse crime than whatever prompted punishment in the first place.

"Resisting arrest....FORTY YEARS."

Expulsion for swearing, even on school equipment, is so ridiculously over the top that there almost has to be more to the story here.

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Anonymous Coward

the punishment

In ridiculous, a little profanity hurts no one yet look at the double standards. Films from the US depict violence in the extreme, shooting, blood and gore which is ok with them, but show a little 'tittie' or say 'fuck' in the wrong way.........

Self rightuous knobs.

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Anonymous Coward

sadly

In the UK we have a similar problem. For instance the creator of Fireman Sam stopped at an airport for making an observation. Eventhough he had said nothing wrong someone took offence and he was told by a policeman 'you can't say that anymore'.

I reserve to right to freedom of speech and say whatever I want either to comment, insult or express an opinion however stupid , idiotic or rude.

I also defend the right of anyone who wants to insult, express an opinion or be rude to back to me. That is their right of freedom of speech.

Though be aware that if I am bigger than you I will give you a good belting and expect it in return if you are bigger than me.

Sod the censors and pontificaters.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: sadly

I for one agree with you,

freedom of speech is just that, we should not be told what we can say!

The police had better never try to curb my human rights!

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Silver badge

Re: sadly

If you claim telling a copper to fuck off as a human right, then I've got some bad news for you. Section 5 of the Public Order Offences Act 1986, to be exact. Trust me on this one.

All those involved can, however, still fuck off.

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Big Brother

Re: sadly

It's worse than that:- we're now told what we can think. Room 101 if you don't comply.

Thoughtcrime anyone?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: sadly

Soon commenting on fat people or Simon Cowells dress sense will get you six months inside.

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Re: sadly

"If you claim telling a copper to fuck off as a human right, then I've got some bad news for you. Section 5 of the Public Order Offences Act 1986, to be exact. Trust me on this one."

Actually, not any more. A judge ruled that a copper is quite unlikely to be offended by swear words (they hear them all the time) and as the law in question is using language likely to cause offence then you can't really be charged with it (as the coppers wouldn't be offended).

On topic though, indeed fuck[ing] can be put anywhere in a sentence and it still makes sense, however, if you put it in the wrong place it can make the sentence bad. Hey you going to see Maggie Thatcher fucking? <-- see!

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Silver badge

Re: sadly

Yeah, a judge had ruled that before my case too. Didn't stop them slapping me with a fine and a criminal record though.

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Thumb Down

Re: To far

I would agree with you if this tweet had been done on school time using school property. However neither was true. This was done on the students own time from the students home compute.

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Facepalm

Re: the punishment

That statement is actually why I have a big problem with the new movie The Hunger Games. It's a story of teens having to kill each other in gruesome ways (the book included having a boy being eaten alive over a period of days according to Wikipedia). This story is aimed at young teens and all the media seem to love it.. Yet, if there was just one scene of two of these teens actually making love, then watch the uproar it would cause.

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Boffin

Re: fuck off

not so, I'd have to track the case down but someone took the issue to trial and the Judge (Magistrate?) returned not guilty because fuck off is now part of the vernacular

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FAIL

Re: To far

Could you please explain to me how it is "snooping" to read something that someone tweet's ?

What goes around comes around - if you don't want anyone and everyone reading your "witticisms" then don't post them via a medium that exists to broadcast to anyone and everyone.

Yes, the punishment was harsh, but the discovery that lead to the punishment was no invasion of privacy or violation of any rights. Sheesh.

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Mushroom

Re: To far

That's what the student claimed. The school has _evidence_ to the contrary. This isn't "his word against theirs", it's "his word is plainly a lie".

In all probability, that is why he was expelled. Not for the profanity but for mis-use of school property. But why let the facts get in the way of a whipped up controversy born from deliberate misrepresentation of the facts, eh ? Especially if it gives license to print profanity and gain interest, traffic and ad revenue from prurient onlookers.

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Re: To far

I'm not sure there has to be more to the story: your second sentence makes me want to raise a glass to you for the its perception. There are no end of examples. And the first one that came to mind had nothing to do with the Catholic church, surprisingly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: To far

" To be fair, it IS in most school codes that profanity is not allowed (just as lewd clothing is not allowed--you're there to LEARN, not to pick up girls/guys). If the tweet had been done on school equipment (and thus public property), then it is likely well within the school's rights to discipline the student for breaking the conduct codes."

You have got to be kidding, have you ever been to a UK comprehensive. That's where you learn to swear and in a gramatically incorrect way.

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Unhappy

Re: To far

I agree. Unfortunately children do not have any rights.

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Bronze badge

@moiety

Didn't a judge just rule that Section 5 does not necessarily apply?

http://fullfact.org/blog/swearing_police_officers_court_decision-3150

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Silver badge

Re: To far

Of course we all know he has been a previously wonder model student.

Maybe, just maybe, there is more to this story.

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Re: sadly

"Though be aware that if I am bigger than you I will give you a good belting and expect it in return if you are bigger than me."

The term for that is assault. There are laws against that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: To far

The kid tweeted from his home. The tweet was routed through a school computer that 'monitors' what the kids tweet. The school is lucky they aren't being sued, because typing the word 'Fuck' at home in the phrase that the kid used is not grounds for expulsion, much less detention or suspension. This did not occur on school grounds nor did it occur during a school function. The fact that the tweet was routed through a school computer doesn't give the school any weight in the matter as this falls under the first amendment and the kid was not disrupting the functioning of the school (yes, even kids retain most of the rights afforded adults). It could probably fall under the fourteenth (equal protection), since I'm doubting that the school punishes anyone who says swears during school and on school grounds, with expulsion.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: To far

That would be the school codes in whichever country you're in, and which I would personally consider rather backwards.

In the country where I live in the south of Europe, there is only one law and it's the same for everyone (save for the very rich and the very powerful, of course) so schools don't go around making up their own "codes".

It also happens that what some would call profanity is perfectly accepted and part of normal familiar speech here, including in the classrooms, where a teacher can use a colloquial expression such as "Oh, sorry! I fucked up!" and nobody bats an eye.

I of course respect cultural differences, be it towards the more liberal or more conservative sides of the spectrum, but why would a country that likes so much to wax lyrical about the right to freedom of expression and which so readily condemns what they see as human rights violations in some (but not other) nations would resort to systematic surveillance of pupils' personal communications? That does not look to me exactly like promoting freedom of thought and expression, and that's not even considering that actual punishment is handed out on the basis of that monitoring.

Well done to the little fellow for not backing off. May he have a great future and help his country out of their misery.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: sadly

Next time you need to run faster.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: sadly

"The term for that is assault. There are laws against that."

Yes, and the term for not insulting someone in the first place is "respect". If you're going to forfeit that (as you are in principle entitled to do), I would expect you to have the balls not to hide behind a judge.

Not to put words in someone else's mouth, but I think that's what the other poster was hinting at. That said, I'm one of those "can't we all please just get along" sort of people.

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Re: To far

@jukejoint

I don't know about you, but the example in my mind when I wrote it was "parents."

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dvd

Re: the punishment

The book mentioned that an incident of cannibalism had occurred in the past. It did not dwell on it.

And it's not wholly a book about the fighting, it's a book about the lengths that those in authority will go to to control a population and (ultimately) about the resisting of that authority.

Read the book if you want to cite it, don't rely on second hand reports from the internet.

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Silver badge

Re: To far

If he was tweeting from home, why would the school computer get involved? You'd be going through the parent's consumer ISP, so the school doesn't get involved unless they're performing some ISP-like role like a content-filtering proxy.

We've had all this argument, but a few key unknowns remain. First, if the student really did tweet from home, then he did it after school. What was the TIMESTAMP on the original tweet? Second, if the student really did tweet from home, then the tweet's origin address should indicate that rather than a school machine. What was the source IP of the tweet?

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Unhappy

Re: To far

I agree, there is probably more to the story. I was expelled from school for smoking (almost 40 years ago) but in fact it was the final straw in a long line of transgressions.

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Re: sadly

Just for precision:-

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A person is guilty of an offence if he—

(a)uses towards another person threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or

(b)distributes or displays to another person any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

with intent to cause that person to believe that immediate unlawful violence will be used against him or another by any person, or to provoke the immediate use of unlawful violence by that person or another, or whereby that person is likely to believe that such violence will be used or it is likely that such violence will be provoked.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Or to put it another way - you won't be arrested for simply saying "fuck" in public. You won't normally even be arrested if you just tell a copper to "fuck off" - unless he feels threatened. If a cop arrested someone every time he was told to fuck off, he'd literally have no time to do anything else.

Frankly, why should coppers - or anyone else in public service - have to put up with "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour" when they are just doing their job?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: To far

@Josco - My father was a headmaster and had a similar incident where he was reported in a Sunday paper for expelling someone, I won't go into details, but they spun it so it appeared that a boy punched a girl and the girl was excluded. The actual story was that they were both excluded after a series of incidents, escalating in nature complicated by a decades old rivalry between the two families involved. The final fight was just the last straw, I suspect that something like that has probably gone on here.

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Megaphone

Re: To far

This is a story that hits close to home - Literally, as the school is a only a few miles from here and I've been following the story for over a week.. He posted the tweet from his home computer at 3 am, not from a school computer. When he had later logged into his twitter account at school the filtering software did a grab of what had been previously posted. This principle of the school already admitted that their software does this.

A controversy being whipped up by misrepresenting the facts? No. Someone who has NO knowledge of the facts, falsely calling someone a lier? Most definitely.

There is much more to the story, such as the principle using automated dialing equipment to call EVERY STUDENT, and EVERY PARENT to inform them that ANY student who does anything to support or protest the expelled student, even so much as sponsoring a facebook page to discuss the issue, was grounds for expulsion. Oh, and he called them all TWICE just to make sure that they got the message.

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Silver badge

Re: sadly

If you are a front line police officer and feel threatened simply because a member of the public uses an anglo-saxon derived term rather than a latin alternative.

Perhaps it's time to consider a less demanding career - something in the tea shop waitress industry?

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Holmes

Re: the punishment

@dvd

"And it's not wholly a book about the fighting, it's a book about the lengths that those in authority will go to to control a population and (ultimately) about the resisting of that authority."

It still involves teens having to kill each other. I stand by my original statement.

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Facepalm

Gawd protect us from oversensitive busybodies intent on scoring brownie points with the local moral fundamentalists. Anyway, has anyone argued the actual merits of his statement?

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Happy

@Turtle_Fan

"has anyone argued the actual merits of his statement?"

Oh fuck that!

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Childcatcher

Moral fundamentalists?

"Let him without sin cast the first stone."

This is not moral fundamentalism. It is control-freakery and pride (in their IT systems and reputation) dressed as morality.

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Mushroom

Well said

Oh yeah I love these fucking people, they've never made one single, regrettable mistake in their lives have they! This was some smartarse kid who simply needs slapping down, so now his life in a of mess that will take weeks to iron out instead of simply calling him and his parents into the school office and having a word with them all. Suspension for a week, embarrassed parents, kid gets home, gets another mouthful of mum and dad, no allowance/pocket money for week as well, job done. We all move on like proper grown ups and with any luck kid learns valuable lesson not to be such an arse next time.

What really gets my goat is that these are kids, kids make mistakes. When you're young you make a fuck-up, you get slapped and you learn. It's how I learned the most from my most stupid mistakes when I was growing up. I was lucky enough to grow up in a time when adults knew this, knew kids were dopey sods who would make mistakes and be allowed to learn from them. These days we seem to demand that the second a child is ripped from the womb that they must be treated as an adult. How about these tosspots in charge of our kids realise that it's not until you hit your mid 20's that you start get some common sense and starting thinking properly?!

"Oh no, we can't have that! Kids cannot be allowed to make mistakes and learn! THEY MUST LEARN OUR RULES AND ABIDE BY THEM! NO SECOND CHANCES! GET IT RIGHT FIRST TIME OR ELSE!!"

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Flame

He Should Be Thankful To The School

He just learned that he has to weigh every single word, or the United Soviet Union Of America Signals Intelligence will go after his arse.

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Meh

Real world

try that where I work (using their IT kit) and you'd be shown the door too.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Real world

The student is in the real world, they were expelled from a school in an actual country that exists on a planet that also exists.

Oh I get it, you were pointing out that the bag of shit place you work for would punish you in the same moronic sense as an out of touch authority on another continent. Well played, serious kudos.

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Title fucking

Perhaps he was expelled for presenting a sloppy argument.

"Is one fuck of those words fucking you can put anywhere fucking in fucking a sentence and it still makes fucking sense,"

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Headmaster

Re: Title fucking

You could also remove all the other words and use fuck as the adjective, noun, adverb and verb; the sentence will still make sense e.g.

The fucking fucker's fucking fucked

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Thumb Down

amazing

Zero tolerance needs to be updated to Zero brains or Zero common sense.

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Swiving Hell!

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Ah, my home state

Consider this: Indiana is the must industrial of the 50 US states; it has the highest percentage of the workforce in manufacturing. However, the strongest union BY FAR is the teacher/education union. You can't win an election and even question things they're doing. The lobby is that powerful.

Which means they can do things like this.

Now, if he wrote this on a school computer, then a three day suspension seems fair if a touch harsh. But kicking him out for this? One of the foulest mouths I ever heard was from a principal on a community golf course; she swore long, loud, and colorfully enough to be a Baptist preacher. (I've played golf with my cousin who's a Baptist preacher, so I know whereof I speak.)

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