Thursday, April 26, 2012

Facebook, teenagers and death threats... Oh my!

    I was reading an article in my local paper about three 8th grade girls who had a conversation on facebook with one another (I posted a link to the article below). It seems it started out as just talking about things that annoyed them and then moved on to joking about who they would kill, if it wasn't illegal of course. The problem arose when a parent was alerted to this very public conversation and brought it to the school's attention. The young ladies were then expelled from the school.

     The ACLU is now suing the school for violating their First Amendment rights to free speech. Now, I consider myself to be a very liberal person. I believe that every human being has the right to speech, and I will fight tooth and nail for our constitutional rights to be upheld. But I have a problem with my tax money being spent to defend a handful of girls who did not have enough sense to make what was surely an innocent conversation, private. Let's face it, The world we live in today is completely different than the world our forefathers lived in when the Constitution was written.

    I'm not saying that what these girls did was awful. And I feel expulsion is too drastic, especially if these girls are not the type to get into trouble in the first place. But I do think that this is not the type of conversation that should be happening in a public forum. I have read the article and understand that this conversation was held on their status updates and supposedly only "friends" could see it, but since a parent read it and reported it, obviously that was not the case. The problem with facebook is that ultimately, it is not private. Unless it is sent in a private message, it is out there for the whole internet to see.

This is a lesson we need to teach our children. It is important that they learn that once typed and posted on the internet, they are not your private thoughts anymore. And right or wrong we are judged by what we put out there for others to see. Schools, judges, even prospective employers look at sites like facebook when making decisions, and it's important that our kids understand that. Yes, we have the freedom to express ourselves, but they need to understand the consequences of over expressing ourselves. That goes for adults too.

So I guess what I am saying is that while I think the punishment was too harsh for what was more than likely an innocent conversation among friends, by posting it on facebook, it became so much more. In a world where school violence and bullying are so rampant, lines have got to be drawn. Kids today have got to learn that for every action, there is a reaction. And though they may not have understood that this was wrong, ignorance is never an excuse. Let's face it, facebook is not a synonym for private. Just sayin'.


  1. Well my dear, this will be your first article in the Harper County Herald. =) And we're keeping you for a long time, so keep your mind sharp!

  2. Thanks guys... I missed writing for you guys.