The family of a student from suburban Chicago high school is considering legal action against the school after her son was suspended for something he wrote on his Facebook page.
Justin Bird, 16, sophomore at Oak Forest High School, used his Facebook page, for criticizing a teacher.
Oak Forest High School superintendent says the Facebook announcement interrupted the school day, so the student was suspended.
The suspension of bird has raised questions about whether school officials exceeded their authority.
A few keystrokes, mouse click and a new Facebook page, was born. And almost as, was suspended Justin Bird.
“I did this on this laptop in my room, sitting in my chair. I do not know how they can come to my house and suspend me for what I did in my spare time,” Bird said.
Bird admits that fans created a Facebook page in which he called a teacher in a derogatory name. About 50 people have become followers. And then Justin took it down. But the next day at school, was suspended for five days. His parents are now considering taking legal action against the school.
“I do not think this is the site of the school to enter our house and say … my child is suspended for something he did at home,” said Donna Bird, Justin’s mother.
High School District 228 Superintendent Bill Kendall says what Bird wrote was “disrespectful, inappropriate and lewd. Although it has been done in house, broke the school”.
However, the American Civil Liberties Union says that this case is part of a growing trend across the country.
In another instance, Katherine Evans was suspended from her school in Florida to write on a Facebook page that her teacher was “the worst teacher you’ve had.” Last week, a federal judge ruled that Evans could sue the principal.
Legal experts say that while students are not threatening a teacher, which are protected by the First Amendment, particularly at home.
“We need a kind of non-governmental agent in your way to school in households and correcting the behavior of school simply because they think somehow involved,” said Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the ACLU.
Legal experts say there is much uncharted territory in the world of social networks. It may be a while before the U.S. Supreme Court have a case, because much of the time, parents and students are so embarrassed that they accept the punishment and move on.