What do you think violation of freedom of speech or bullying in school?

Amy - posted on 04/26/2012 ( 25 moms have responded )




The ACLU is defending 3 girls after they have been expelled over a facebook conversation that ended with them discussing which of their classmates they would kill. The ACLU states that the conversation was normal "teenage banter" and could not have been interpreted seriously. The school states the girls behavior violated the schools policy bullying, harassment and intimidation.

The girls are allowed to take tests and will be able to graduate 9th grade, but the ACLU talks about how one parent has had to spend $1,000 on home schooling. What do you think is the ACLU over reaching or is it really a freedom of speech case?


I think the school was right to expel these girls, and why in the world would they think that it's anyones problem but the parents to cover the cost of alternative schooling? What do you think?


Sally - posted on 05/01/2012




Not enough info ,so could change my mind. On what i have read . The girls were stupid not to go to private chat but i think it just a bunch of kids moaning about others. I did it with my friends, im sure a lot of you did as well but we didn't have things like FB , so it stayed between us. I truely believe that the age for joining these social networks should be upped, so that the kids using them have a better idea of the impact they cam have.

Alahnna - posted on 07/06/2012




in my personal opinion, when freedom of speech infringes on the rights of someone else, the line needs to be drawn. Death threats are serious adn whether they meant to or not, you should never be "contemplating" who you would like to kill. I don't think it should even be up for discussion, the girls did wrong, do the time, learn from the experience,move on. End of story

Michele - posted on 04/30/2012




On the other side though, if one of the victims did commit suicide, many people would probably say "why didn't the school do something?" It doesnt matter that some or all bullying is done away from school. That is the environment for schools now. They have to be very careful. No one wants them to be soft on bullying.

Kristi - posted on 07/07/2012





I'm not really sure where to start my rebuttal to your confusing, opinionated comment. When I use "opinionated" in this context, I am using it as an adjective, suggesting your comment is based mostly on your opinion and very little on fact. There are a number of reasons that your comment confuses me, as well, least of which is your insinuation that you are a lawyer and yet, you don't even have basic English grammar skills like spelling and punctuation. However, that is relatively unimportant except that it took me longer to figure out what you were trying to say. Now, this is where I am really confused. You make several statements saying bullying is normal and policies that are in place to protect students from bullies are outrageous. Then, later, in your post you make reference to rich kids being able to get away with bullying poor kids with absolutely no consequences. My question is, do you believe kids bullying is ok and should go unpunished or do you believe only rich kids should be punished for bullying because it's wrong when they do it to poor kids? Here are the statements that led me to ask this question:

"Bullying is actually quite normal human behavior."

"Kids fight it's normal enough treating kids like adult prisoners it's just plain stupid"

"Zero tolerance policies are outrageous and do nothing to serve the children"

"....most children need time to learn and understand behavior fallacies." (I'm still a little unsure about this one, I think you're trying to say they need time to learn what constitutes inappropriate behavior, because a fallacy is -noun. a deceptive, misleading, or false notion, belief. You can see how I don't understand exactly what you mean. I don't know what deceptive notions and misleading beliefs about behavior are floating around out there, but shouldn't teenagers have dispelled those myths by this point?)

"...only welathy preppy kids who are supposedly perfect little angels get to stay in school when their moms and dads can buy their way out or influence their way out of punishment."

"I've seen these kids taunt and crap on poor kids and get no punishment what so ever."

I would do more research on bullying, like how many kids/teens have attempted or committed suicide because they were bullied but this post is way too long already. On to Facebook and privacy.


This is the link you can go to to educated yourself on everything related to Rights & Responsibilities a person agrees to when one signs up for FB and FB's Data Use Policy, which includes everything regarding privacy. I have provided a few key passages below:

Under R & R

Section 3--Safety

line 6. You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.

line 7. You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.

line 10. You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful (threatening someone's life is a terroristic threat and is against the law), misleading, malicious, or discriminatory.

Data Use Policy

-Choosing to make your information public (public, friends, custom, self only), is exactly what it sounds like: anyone, including people off of Facebook will be able to see it. (FYI--friends, also makes your info pretty public because generally teens have hundreds of friends and the apps they are subscribed to can share a lot of their info)

Anyways, that is just a tidbit of my opinion. For more information, I will refer you to Shawnn Lively and Jill Smith's comments, as I agree with both of them 100%.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 07/06/2012




The school may have "no JURISDICTION" over a PRIVATE POST, but if these children were on their PUBLIC wall, commenting betwixt themselves, but on the public wall that ALL of the people that they've friended (and most of THEIR contacts as well) can see, the information is considered both PUBLIC and THREATENING.

Had the girls been texting, or writing on paper and passing it, THEN they could cite violation of privacy, but unless they checked all those stupid little boxes about "who gets to see what", if it was in a wall post, commented on by other posters, which was in turn seen by someone outside of the three girls, it was not a private conversation, nor is it protected speech.

IMO, the 3 bullies got caught, and their parents are scrambling to cover up the fact that they raised little bullies, and allowed their prima dona behaviour to continue. In ANY scholastic discipline situation that results in expulsion, it is the parental duty to obtain whatever tutoring or homeschooling assistance to enable their child to get a diploma, NOT that of the school.

These children are lucky that they're allowed to "graduate" with the rest of their class.


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Krista - posted on 07/06/2012




You specialize in Con law but you can't even spell jurisdiction correctly?

Erin - posted on 07/06/2012




How did they violate her rights? Question, how did they see what was written on her wall? Whenever there is a reasonable expectation of privacy and that privacy is violated in any way it's a violation of the right to privacy. We can't punish people for exercising rights otherwise they aren't rights. I specialize in Constitutional law and I can promise this school will loose a case filed against it for Constitutional rights violations. The school again, has NO JURISTDICTION over a private fb account of any student, they cannot punish children for acts outside of school either. They are NOT police are NOT the courts and are NOT entitled to parent or punish children outside of the school. This is harassment and the girls have the right to justice. Bullying is actually quite normal human behavior, zero tolerance policies are outrageous and do nothing to serve the children. Children who have no education do not succeed and most children need time to learn and understand behavioral fallacies. Suggesting that children loose the right to educations is an outrage when there is no real excuse for it. I suppose it's just another socialist scheme to force perfect robot cloneism on our kids. It seems to me like only the welathy preppy kids who are supposedly perfect little angels get to stay in school when their moms and dads can buy their way out or influence their way out of punishment. I've seen these kids taunt and crap on poor kids and get no punishment what so ever. It's rediculous, kids fight it's normal enough treating kids like adult prisoners it's just plain stupid. It's a wonder anyone even would want to interact with other humans in a society like this. Every child has potential we can choose to take it away at every little squabble or choose to focus them to greatness. Kids with no chances end up on the streets and in jails there;s NO EXCUSE to crap all over kids all their lives for one dumb thing. I get so sick of reading this kind of garbage.

Kristi - posted on 06/07/2012




I say the ACLU is right about you're right to freedom of speech. But, like with all freedoms comes responsibility. When we act irresponsibly there are consequences. For example, it can be as simple as a toddler who won't stop saying a naughty word, (I know he is too young to be "responsible" this is just an example) first you talk to him about it, then he gets a time out & so on. A little more severe, use a racial slur on someone, possibly get punched in the face. Make inappropriate sexual comments/jokes, etc at work, warnings, law suits, suspensions, terminations. Make threatening comments or statements about who you'd like to kill in a public forum, get expelled for cyber bullying.

I'd be willing to bet those girls knew there was a potential for expulsion if they got caught. Most schools have a Zero Tolerance policy when it comes to bullying. They are usually very strict and very specific. In many schools breaking the policy results in immediate expulsion. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200. I doubt the school was spying and in my personal opinion, so what if they were, somebody should be paying attention to what kids are up to online and in real life. Someone probably turned the girls in or their profiles were public for the world to see and maybe one of their intended "victims" saw it and told his/her parents.

And apparently I'm stuck in a time machine somewhere because I missed out on the whole killing our classmates thing becoming normal teenage banter. My daughter's 2 older sister's (from her dad) and I have maintained a very open and loving relationship. I was around them throughout their teen years and there were some seriously outrageous experiences along the way but neither one of them ever made reference to killing anybody, except each other, of course.

I can't remember who posted this earlier, but someone said something about making them do a research paper about the effects of bullying, see a counselor, those are good ideas. They should add community service or volunteer work since they have so much free time now. If the parents don't want to pay for their child's "new school," then make her get a job and pay you back, not old enough, I'm sure you have plenty of things around the house that need to be done. As I said before, just because we are afforded these wonderful freedoms doesn't mean we are free from responsibilty when and how we choose to exercise those rights. I have the right to bear arms, does that mean I can shoot whoever I want for free? ......it is to the same thing.

Jodi - posted on 06/07/2012




Um, exactly HOW did the SCHOOL violate the girls' rights to privacy? No-one spied on anyone.....

Erin - posted on 06/06/2012




I think the parents should sue, first the children were obviously spied on which may mean the school violated the girls' right to privacy, second a private fb account is not the jurisdiction or priveledge of the school district or government, third the comments while distrubing and clearly needing parental intervention is in fact free speech and the girls' right were violated.

Janice - posted on 04/30/2012




One mean comment is not bullying! I agree with Meme. My friends and I were bullied in high school. The principal did nothing and told us our bullies were justified because we dressed weird. I have no doubt that there were times when my friends and I discussed that we wished our bullies would die. I think unless their was other incidences that showed that girls were in fact bullies then the suspension is over the top.

Yes, bullying is serious and children do need to learn that purposefully hurting another person with words is cruel and not okay. However, in this case I fail to see how bullying occurred.

Isobel - posted on 04/30/2012




Jodi, I think it becomes the school's job because many schools now have their students sign anti-bullying agreements that reach outside the classroom. I would be willing to bet that these girls probably signed something along these lines.

America3437 - posted on 04/30/2012




Ok it was done at home not at school so the school expelling them was not appropriate however, I think they should investigate why these young ladies feel this way towards these kids. Maybe they themselves are victims of bullying. I would have taken it to the police first!

Gina - posted on 04/30/2012




This was on Facebook where all their friends could see it so I think it's bullying. Cyber bullying is very serious, it can damage the kid is a really bad way.
A girl at my daughters school committed suicide in January because of all the cyber bullying she went through, just shy of her 14th birthday.
Facebook is not private and the bullying was just too much for her. It left the whole school devastated and affected so many students so it was a school issue even though the bullying happened at home on privately owned laptops.
I agree the school had to act but maybe in another way, they could give the girls detention and help raise awareness about the seriousness of bullying in classes.

Stifler's - posted on 04/28/2012




Ok they were speaking hypothetically on FB and now it's bullying. They should have done it in a PM I agree. But seriously. And I agree, facebook isn't in the school's jurisdiction. There is probably something more than just a facebook conversation happening here for there to be so much outrage and expulsion.

Kaitlin - posted on 04/28/2012




If it's in a public forum, ie facebook, it is not private, and is therefore bullying, and heck yes they should be expelled.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/26/2012




From what I have read, these girls were at home, on their own personal devices and it was not during school hours. They were talkng back and forth about everything under the sun, when one started talking about how they cut themselves shaving, which then the question was asked "If you could kill anyone, who would it be?" From there they went back and forth listing names, which included smiley faces and several LOL emonicons.

According to the ACLU, from reading the lengthy conversation it was obvious and would be by anyone, that these girls were far from serious. They were being silly and having very indecent conversation but meant absolutely no harm. However, where they were not at school, not on a school device and no one other than their circle of friends were able to read any of their comments, the ACLU argues that there was absolutely no intentions to fulfill their thoughts. These children are entitled to freedom of speech, according to the ACLU.

Now, I am glad the school stepped in but to expel for the remainder of the school year solves nothing. I believe the school wants to be certain they "catch/stop" something that could potentially become/be serious, before it occurs. I just fail to see in these types of instances what they plan on solving. Now the girls have ample time to do as they wish. If they were serious about hurting or killing a classmate, well what is stopping them outside of school? However, I do agree, cyber bullying is terrible and very serious. I just fail to see how they were doing such a thing if they were not directing their statements at anyone. The ACLU said, there was no mention of it by any school member the following day, which shows no one was made a victim by their irrational and stupid voiced thoughts.

Yes, they were being stupid. Yes, this is FB and they need to learn a lesson that you cannot be so casual while on a public app. However, expelling them is not going to teach them a hell of a lot. How about giving them some extra work? Perhaps writing an essay on cyber bullying/bullying, of which they would actually have to research and learn what negative outcomes can prevail toward a victim of such an action of thoughtlessness. Having them speak with the counsellor, so they can be evaluated that they do not have some undermining sick thoughts or premeditated murderous ones.

If they were serious, I think they would have voiced this outside of their small circle of FB friends. I think there would be some evidence showing that they were bullying during school, not just a one time conversation of who they would like to kill if they could. A conversation that was full of so many other conversation, that this ended up being a small portion of it. Do I think they were serious? Not at all. I think they were being 14 year old teens. I think they were being foolish by doing so in a public app but you know, if there was no such thing as FB (or the internet) they would've conversed it outside of the virtual realm anyhow. They just would not have been caught. ;)

If it was my daughter, I would be very upset. I would have some good ol' consequences for her. Ones that she would learn from and definitely rethink her actions in these circumstances, twice. The girls were wrong but I don't think they are dangerous or meant any ill action.

I also agree with Jodi. How can the school envoke some rules but not others? I think they should be acting on all of them, not just picking which ones they will actually enforce.

Jodi - posted on 04/26/2012




I think this is where there is a fine line between what happens at school and what happens at home. I believe it gets into very murky ground. For instance, were these comments on FB made while the girls were at home or at school? Can a school actually implement and police a policy that controls what students can do in their own homes?

I am glad to see the school taking action, because cyber bullying is becoming a major problem due to the very nature of the internet, and something does need to happen. I do question whether the school really has the jurisdiction to control what goes on with FB walls. For instance, I am sure there is a no swearing/cursing policy at the school too, but I'll put money on it that there's plenty of that going on on these same FB walls. Are the kids getting disciplined at school for that?

Michele - posted on 04/26/2012




Which parent "turned in" the conversation? It must have been on their public wall therefore other people could "hear" it. If any on them were "friends" with those they wanted to kill, and saw it, yes, they should be expelled. At the very least, it is stupid to have such a public conversation even if they were not serious. And yes, the parents should cover the costs.

Jodi - posted on 04/26/2012




Well, if this was a facebook conversation on someone's wall and therefor public, or at least available to be viewed by the girls' friends and such, then hell yes they should be expelled. And as a parent, I would be slapping a restraining order against them if it was my child they were talking about! To talk about killing someone is NOT normal banter at any age! And of course the parent's should have to cover the cost of alternative schooling, they could have done free online schooling, they CHOSE to spend the $$$ on homeschooling. Their child messed up and got expelled, pay the piper.

Kimberly - posted on 04/26/2012




They had the right to expel the girls for sure and how the hell can they say talking about killing classmates is normal teenage banter when there has been that many school killings is beyond me sorry. As for the parents who are out of pocket for there kids education, who do they think should cover the costs? Thats what happens when your kids get expelled

Tracey - posted on 04/26/2012




if it was a private conversation between friends then no it is not bullying. If they made any comments to the girls discussed then yes it is bullying.
Was this one conversation was the only incident or is this an ongoing situation?

[deleted account]

I think there is probably more going on. I can't find this story on aclu.org so I'll wait to hear more info.

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