Tweets shouldn’t be taken so seriously
Twitter is one of the more popular social media sites among teens and young adults.
Because tweets are only 140 characters or fewer, it’s easy to post a quick-witted thought or idea without much regard to what is actually being sent out to a broad audience.
A tweet’s message isn’t considered a serious offense in society because users know that the weight of a tweet is pretty low.
However, 20 students attending McKay High School were suspended for favoriting or re-tweeting a tweet that claimed an alleged relationship between a teacher and student at the school.
“‘Ms. Dupree always flirts with her students. Her son’s name is Cougar too.’ McKay,” stated the tweet, which hinted at flirtations between students and a teacher.
School officials said that the tweet was an example of cyberbullying.
“It’s essential for us to have a safe and orderly learning environment,” said Sara LeRoy, the principal of McKay High School. “Those kinds of behaviors aren’t tolerated.”
Let’s face it, tweets don’t mean much to us.
They are so easy to lose in a timeline full of other people’s ideas and words.
The bigger issue that arose from the tweet that should have been addressed was the alleged relationship between the student and the teacher.
School officials were quick to suspend the students who re-tweeted and favorited the tweet without ruling out whether or not it had any truth to it.
If it was a true statement, the suspensions would have been unnecessary. Shouldn’t the school be worrying about a potentially illegal situation?
But McKay High School is not the only school suspending students for “cyberbullying” via Twitter.
In a South Carolina high school, a student was suspended for five days after just favoriting a tweet from a confessions Twitter account.
As a fellow tweetaholic, I would be outraged if I were to be suspended for something as simple as favoriting a tweet.
Tweets don’t hold a lot of weight in their words, but adults and school administrators have a different outlook on the seriousness of tweets.
Oregon Public Broadcasting held a radio interview in regard to the students’ freedom of speech and spoke to Dave Fidanque, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon.
“They [school districts] see something that doesn’t feel right to them and often, the first instinct is not to talk to the students and educate them, but to punish them,” Fidanque said.
The Statesman Journal was contacted after a mother of one of the McKay High School students reached out to say that her daughter had been suspended for simply favoriting the tweet.
The ACLU subsequently sent a letter out to McKay High School urging the school to drop the suspensions.
The letter stated that the school needed to “respect the free speech rights of students,” said Kevin Diaz, the Oregon legal director of ACLU.
Twitter accounts dedicated to confessions or anonymous posts should be allowed to post tweets and keep the author of said tweets private.
UCF has its own anonymous Twitter account, @UCFcrushes, run by students who post tweets about anonymous crushes.
It’s a cool and quirky way of letting someone know he or she has a secret admirer while being completely anonymous.
I personally favorite random tweets all the time because I may find them funny.
Does my favoriting of a tweet mean that I can be labeled as a cyberbully? Of course not.
However, this does not mean that some tweets aren’t hurtful or harmful to a person’s reputation.
Twitter even has its own policy for tweets that are considered to be abusive and unwanted.
Ultimately, Twitter is a form of expression.
Students should have the right to say what is on their mind without the fear of being reprimanded by their schools.
College confessions Twitter accounts:
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