Written by olsonaplc-31aSchool: Sioux Central
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution should allow schools the right to punish students statements they make outside of school on the internet depending on the severity. Students and people in general are allowed to express their opinions because of the First Amendment. Although there is this amendment, there is a point where stating your opinion can and has gone too far. As far as the First Amendment goes, if a student publishes anything online off campus, then they are safe from any consequences from the school. This is the law, but there has to be line drawn. People have the right to freedom of speech, but they do not have the right to create a fake profile or account so they can make vulgar confessions of a made-up sexual encounters dealing with their peers and principal, or false possession of alcohol and drugs. In many ways the act should depend on the malignity of the situation. For example if a student is venting their feelings of the day on a status or tweet, this is completely different to the cases that have been addressed to the Supreme Court. The point where venting turns into hateful posts, harassment, and false profiles and pages, is when the school should be allowed to step in. This is a prime example where common sense would tell anyone that this is a disruption of the school and community. Making false accusations of anyone on a social network in a sense has nothing to do with the First Amendment, but has more so to do with harassment and false accusations. The problem with a student posting or creating false profiles on the internet to make fun of or lie about someone else is that many times it may be on their own home computer or laptop. The school, in all honesty, cannot do anything with it being at home and on the family’s own property. The position that the school has to take then is to take it to a higher power. If the school cannot punish them, the court system should be able to find some reason for punishing this student. The size of audience or who the victim is, should not be a determining factor on how much of a punishment the person/student should receive. The punishment should solely rest on what the person has done and how many school codes and government laws the person has gone against. The fact that a student/person has made this offense, will create friction, disrupt school environment, and perhaps even cause an uproar within the school. So, in reality when one looks at it, not only does it affect a student/person’s life and family, but it causes problems within the school and even the community. School systems and parents need to start the process of eliminating harassment online as much as they can and make it a way that can be effective. Schools also need to let their students know of the consequences of their actions online, not only because of the trouble they could possibly get with the school, but now with law system.