Freedom of Speech Gone too Far?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


After posting rude, unprofessional comments on Facebook about his teacher, a California high school student was suspended by his high school.


Donny Tobolski is the student from Mesa Verde High School that vented his frustration on Facebook saying Mr. Cimino, his biology teacher, was a "fat ass who should stop eating fast food, and is a douche bag."

Harsh words there, kid, but not too threatening.


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has already said the student's free speech rights were violated and the school broke federal and state laws.

We've come to another case where the battle for freedom of speech is debated. Just what exactly is saying too much and how much is going too far when posting something on the Web?

Now, a federal agency last November already declared that Facebook updates were protected speech. In a similar case, an employee named Dawnmarie Souza was fired for making belittling comments about a supervisor in a Facebook status update.

Again, the comments were very rude and malicious, but it wasn't anything horribly threatening.

So, just what is the general feeling on this sort of thing? I think we can all agree it's a bit immature and disrespectful, but it is freedom of speech, isn't it?

Tell me what you think. Do you think Mesa Verde high school should have the right to discipline students for any opinions they put on the Internet?

Personally, I know I've expressed my mind through Facebook on rare occasion. Not to that extent, but I do believe freedom of speech is something that can never be taken away. At the same time, there's a certain professionalism we should hold when using the social network called the Internet.

Photo credit: sodahead.com from Creative Commons

5 comments:

Alexa Smith February 1, 2011 at 7:00 PM  

Freedom of Speech is like a tightrope, you have to be careful what you say. My question is why is the teacher looking at the student's Facebook?

David Talley February 2, 2011 at 8:39 AM  

Well he may not have even seen it himself. Someone might have relayed the post to him, but Facebook is a public site. If you post something then anyone can see it.

Erin Gerken February 2, 2011 at 10:49 AM  

I think people should just be aware that the comments they post on Facebook or Twitter can be seen by almost anyone in the world. They should know better than to insult people, especially supervisors, and they should realize that what they post could have consequences.

Katie Buchholz February 2, 2011 at 10:50 AM  

This is a very good question..I think you should definitely watch what you say on Facebook. I see kids everyday who vent and say these nasty things, it's just a sign of disrespect. And if that is how they want to be perceived then go ahead and post away.

Amanda Hintgen February 2, 2011 at 11:35 AM  

Just like what everyone else has said people need to remember that even if your Facebook is set to private there are still ways people can view it. It might be best to follow the simple rule of if you wouldn't say it in front of or do it in front of your mother then it doesn't belong on Facebook.

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