Tweeting on school computers risky

Here’s something for both students and parents to consider when it comes to using school computers to engage in a little personal social networking.

An Indiana high school student was expelled after he tweeted a string of obscenities on his personal Twitter account while using a school computer, according to a Digital Trends report.

Austin Carroll, a senior at Garrett High School in Garrett, Ind., was in the privacy of his home when he sent the tweets at 2:30 a.m.

Carroll criticized the expulsion, essentially arguing that what he does on his own account is his business. “I don’t think the school or anybody should be looking at it,” he told the Indiana’s News Center.

Garrett High, however, didn’t see it that way, according to Digital Trends. The principal said all tweets can be tracked once a student logs into a school computer, and Carroll’s were no exception.

Carroll left the high school and finished at another school.

At least one observer, Mike Masnick at TechDirt, said the student’s First Amendment free speech rights may have been violated:

A 1969 case, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, ruled that students in public schools have a constitutional right to free speech. Though some later cases limit speech when it applies to school-sponsored events, sexual innuendo, and talk about illegal drug use.

Many students use school computers at school instead of taking them home. Do you know your child’s school’s policy on accessing personal social networking accounts on its computers? Does your child know?

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