Time.com legal columnist Adam Cohen, pointing to a couple recent court decisions, advises educators to take the high road when it comes to derisive or mocking postings by students on social-networking sites. Students, he says, have a constitutional right to make fun of their teachers—one they have exercised for generations. The difference, of course, is that today there’s a better chance you’ll find out about it. Too bad for you:
There clearly can be student Facebook or MySpace speech that goes too far—for example, serious threats that really do disrupt educational activities. But when speech is merely offensive, and taking place outside of school hours and property, principals and teachers should ignore it—and think of it as the price we pay for living in a free country.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.