I read with interest the articles in the Post Dispatch about 10 teens suspended from a local high school for inappropriate tweeting. The ACLU got involved, saying its not in the schools jurisdiction to do so. I disagree.
Every student at the beginning of the year signed an agreement about posting comments that were inappropriate on the internet and cellphones, after what the school described as spending a lot of time discussing internet and cellphone usage ethics. So the teens were educated by the school and warned of the consequences if they broke the agreement, and they did it anyway, as teens are apt to do from time to time.
It’s interesting to hear comments from the teens about why they shouldn’t have consequences for their actions; they sound like the excuses teens have been spewing for 100’s of years. And they scream of “DON’T HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE!!!” Beyond the suspensions, I hope the students are given more education about internet ethics and the impact their words have on others, especially if they are broadcast online. Never assume that just because teens are internet savvy that they have the wisdom and experience and impulse control to use it wisely. That’s why they are teens; they have lessons to learn, and sometimes the hard way.
And don’t assume parents are doing their jobs when it comes to internet monitoring and education. Research says that 2/3’s to 3/4’s of parents have no boundaries for their kid’s technology usage. That’s sad, but it also means that other adults like teachers and schools have to make sure teens don’t cross important lines of behavior. When I was a kid, it was okay and advised that any parent in our neighborhood could redirect any mischief from any kid that happened in their presence; that was the village that was raising kids. Today, the village has gone viral, so we have to keep up with it wherever it rears it’s head.