Privacy & Security

After Newtown, Students’ Online Postings Bring Disciplinary Action

By Sean Cavanagh — December 21, 2012 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Perhaps it was inevitable in our social media-saturated age, but in the week following the shootings in Newton, Conn., leaders in several districts around the country were forced to quell rumors of future violence posted by students on various online sites.

The content of those online postings reportedly ranged from talk of actual violence to more half-baked musings (about the world coming to an end in accordance with the Mayan calendar, for instance).

But in the shadow of the Newtown tragedy, many school and law enforcement officials are clearly not of the mind that they can take any chances.

The incidents included a 17-year-old Ohio student getting arrested and led from the school in handcuffs after reportedly saying on Twitter that he would take actions similiar to those in Newtown, according to the the Springfield News-Sun.

In Washington state, a high school student in the Chehalis School District was “emergency expelled” after allegedly posting threatening material on Facebook, according to the Chronicle, in Lewis County. The decision means the student won’t be allowed to return to school until a disciplinary hearing is held, the school’s superintendent told the newspaper.

In Delaware, rumors of school violence have led school officials to make outreach efforts to calm parents. A state police official tells the News-Journal that much of the scuttlebutt was being spread on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

If anything, the incidents are a reminder that district officials today have little choice but to keep tabs on social media chatter, even if many questions remain about how vigilant they should be, and what constitutes out-of-bound online behavior by students, morally or legally.

School administrators end up having to address rumors, partly because they spread so quickly among students and parents, and police end up having to devote time and resources to investigating them.

It should be noted that many districts have found ways to embrace social media and integrate it into their academic programs, and in their outreach to students and to parents. As in so many other parts of society, social media platforms in school can enhance learning environments and our ability to communicate reasonably—or they can fuel lots of problems.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Privacy & Security Spotlight Spotlight on Lessons Learned: Digital Safety
In this Spotlight, review ways you should be approaching student and system data, discover how others teach digital safety, and more.
Privacy & Security Quiz Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Protecting Students During Remote Learning?
Quiz Yourself: What should you know about storing video content involving students?
Privacy & Security Spotlight Spotlight: Online Student Safety
In this Spotlight, assess possible digital vulnerabilities, learn how students may be partaking in digital self-harm, and more.
Privacy & Security Hackers Post 26,000 Broward School Files Online After District Doesn't Pay Ransom
Hackers who demanded up to $40 million from the Broward School District have now published nearly 26,000 files stolen from district servers.
Scott Travis, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
3 min read
Image shows a glowing futuristic background with lock on digital integrated circuit.
iStock/Getty Images Plus