Students disciplined for Facebook comments

Students are learning a tough lesson about Facebook in the North Syracuse Central School District. A student at the Roxboro Road Middle School has been suspended for three days. School officials say the student created a page about a teacher that contained offensive and even sexual comments. 33 students have been given detention.

Superintendent Dr. Jerry Melvin said, "When you attack a teacher, what you're doing is undermining that person's effectiveness in the classroom."

The school gave detention to the 33 students who joined the Facebook page. School officials say some of them also posted comments about the teacher.

Dr. Melvin said, "What we found very important here was on the invitation itself, it spelled out what the content was so when they went in there, they full knew what they were going into."

The page has been removed and the superintendent says some parents raised objections to the discipline, but most parents were satisfied. Some parents we spoke to today support the district's decision. Deborah Dearborn said, "If they joined in the situation, I believe each kid should take responsibility in what they join."

Others think the school is going too far. Lisa Price said, "I just feel it is wrong, that it should be left up to the parents not the school district. It was done out of school, not on school property."

Barrie Gewanter of the New York Civil Liberties Union said it's difficult to get the full perspective on the situation not knowing exactly what was written but she said, "If the student wrote something defamatory about a teacher in a public forum, the school might consider that as disrupting the educational process. Otherwise, off campus speech is protected by the First Amendment. However, we are disturbed with the idea that students who did nothing more than gain access to look at that speech are also being disciplined."

The district hopes students get the message that what they write on the Internet could hurt them in the classroom.

Original Story:

A student at Roxboro Road Middle School has been suspended for three days for comments posted on an online social networking site.

North Syracuse School District Superintendent Jerry Melvin says the student posted some very offensive comments about a teacher on Facebook, and school officials found out after a parent contacted them.

About 30 other kids who joined the Facebook group have detention as well.

Melvin says it's critical that parents understand what their kids are doing on Facebook.