No, that is not a parody headline. A real, live middle school principal in Oregon sued two of his students for their parody Twitter and Facebook accounts. He accused them of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and when that didn’t work, tried the RICO Act you know, the act that was designed to shut down organized crime.
Because clearly, two middle school boys are completely mobbed up.
Blessedly, according to CNet, the judge quickly tossed the case because it had quite literally ZERO legal ground.
It’s been over two years since a judge ruled in two separate cases that students do, in fact, have the legal right to mock their teachers and principals. It’s probably not a good idea to do so, of course, but at this point it’s up to the parents of the students to enforce better behavior if the parents know about it, of course.
Of course, when we all set about having kids, none of us thought we were going to be needing to spend time discussing with our kids these deep intricacies of social media behavior; and, naturally, no matter how many “don’t bully online” discussions we have with kids, how many of us also suggest we not bully adults?
While I personally believe that kids should have a voice to share what they want and when they want, I would not tolerate this particular behavior from my daughter and would discipline her heartily for setting up an account parodying her teachers or administrators as I’m sure the parents of these kids did once they found out the site.
But taking it to the courts? I’m sorry. It’s ridiculous. Suing your students isn’t a reasonable thing to do. What do you think? Do you discuss this sort of online behavior issue with your kids?