T Nation

Schools Legislating?


Teens nabbed for drinking after report in blogs

Michigan students may face disciplinary action for off-campus party photos

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Fifteen to 20 students at East Grand Rapids High School face possible disciplinary action by the school after parents reported seeing Internet photos of them drinking alcohol at parties.

Principal Patrick Cwayna said the school has started giving the students two-week suspensions from sports, a Valentine's Day dance and other extracurricular activities.

Cwayna said some parents already have appealed the suspensions, which do not affect attendance or academics, to James Morse, superintendent of East Grand Rapids Public Schools.

"This is an issue that every high school in the country deals with," Morse told The Grand Rapids Press for a story published Tuesday. "Kids will be kids, and they make mistakes. But they have to be held accountable."

None of the parties in question happened on school grounds, but students involved in extracurricular activities can be disciplined when administrators learn of rule violations, the superintendent said.

"We often get reports from the Public Safety Department if there is a party and our kids are involved," he said. "We bring them down to the office and, in many cases, they 'fess up."

Parents get blog tutorials
In this case, however, the students were caught after parents reported discovering the photos posted to online journals known as Web logs, or "blogs," and personal Web sites such as Xanga, Myspace and Facebook.

The sites are becoming so popular among middle school and high school students that nearby Rockford Public Schools has started offering parents presentations about them.

Bob Goethal, the district's security director, said blog entries often reveal names, addresses, cell phone numbers and other information that can make students vulnerable to online predators.

"We have to try to educate our parents on what their kids are putting out there," he said. "Predators are a concern because people would know so much about them."

Goethal said security officers monitor known sites of local bloggers. The school takes limited action, usually calling parents if they spot stories about parties or other items of concern.

Rockford administrators said they, too, cannot punish students for bad behavior away from school unless they are involved in extracurricular activities.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may


That would happen here. Extracurricular activities aren't a right. The students who participate in them represent the school.


I think it's funny that we now live in such authoritarian times that schools monitor student behavior, on their own time, so that they can be punished for breaking the rules.

Admittedly, the school does not have to let people participate in extra-curricular activities, but I really can't see any good from having the government act as a nanny in this way.

I think they should retitle Orwell's novel 2024 so that people will continue to read it. I think the fact the title is 1984 has people thinking it has no relevance...


This is not new vroom. When I was in high school (70's) we had to sign agreements that we would not consume alcohol or smoke. And this meant away from school grounds. I see no problem with that and see no problem with them monitoring such sites.

It's not about them nannying--it's about the kids accepting responsibility. It's a life lesson.

And quite frankly, worth more than Geography in my opinion.


I don't think schools are competent to teach kids responsibility.

I think they are competent to teach kids to successfully hide their misbehavior and thereby avoid getting the guidance they do need when they screw up.

I mean, what kind of squares and retards are we around here that we'd think anyone plays by these rules? I sure as hell don't know anyone that didn't smoke, drink or skip classes.

Funny, most people still turn out okay when they finally enter the real world.


We all (most) violated the rules vroom. But we also knew if we were caught there were consequences. I see no problem with that.

I find your opening statement quite interesting. Because alot of school is about teaching responsibility. And the responsibility grows with each year. I'm not sure what you are talking about.

Are you implying we should just have your basic anarchy because 'most people turn out ok.' That they should, and their job actually is, to 'teach' the kids how to avoid getting caught as opposed to accepting personal responsibility?

Good to know that you consider those that value responsibility and maturity as squares and retards. I would actually use those terms to describe those that allowed their pictures and stories to be blogged.


as long as they are not threats to other kids..i dont see why the actions of kids outside of school should at all be a concern to the school. What next, kids that don't wash behind their ears cant play on the hockey team for a day?

Schools need to worry more about teaching and not on other bullshit.


I know a guy who accidently got a girl IMspammed for like an hour by a few people. Bitch was too stupid to figure out how to block them, and ended up getting him in trouble for harrassment. Over AIM.


I think you are all missing the point here. Believe it or not, I don't believe the school has a role here at all! If the kids were not at an official school function or some event that was in the name of the school, then the school has no role.

The point you are all missing is that I think that the school feels a need to step in because WHERE THE H**L ARE THE PARENTS? WHY DON'T THEY KNOW WHAT THEIR KIDS ARE DOING? WHAT VALUES HAVE (OR HAVE NOT) INSTILLED IN THEIR KIDS?

As a teacher I see this all of the time. Parents abdicate their role to teh schools. It is the "you take them and teach them attitude." That is simply wrong. It is the parents role to teach their children and instill moral and ethical values in them. The problem is that with so many broken homes, alchohol abuse, etc. what do you think the young people will be like.



The point of school is to make people into non-thinking, obedient consumer whores.


These kids could fight this in court. Sucessfully. Public schooling is a right, not a privelage. If the schools punish/remove/suspend them they have to have a reason or the law could be called. if i was in these kids shoes i would call my lawyer and make a big deal in it in the media and embarass the school. Eventually they would have to drop the case.


They suspended them from extracurricular activities, not from class. You have no right to go to dances or play football.



What responsibilities did you have at school?

I had the responsibility of doing my homework, which until the last year or two of high school I never even bothered to do.

The role of school is not to be a parent or to instill values that our parents have the responsibility to teach us.

If you think school is going to do that for your children, you deserve the shock you are in for down the road, if you haven't taken care of this issue yourself.

I still don't see where the authoritarianism is coming from either.

Somehow, while the school does offer some events, I'm not sure the school actually has the authority to punish people for private actions. Perhaps part of the story is missing, where the school and parents together decide the child is not authorized to attend the special events?


Being kicked off from teams I can understand because teams/coaches have their rules. When I played sports in high school we had strict no drinking and no smoking rules. If you were caught you were dead and off the team or diciplined heavily. You do represent the school and team in that respect. But for the kids that arent on teams and what not, the responsibility becomes the parents and the parents responsibility to punish accordingly. THEY shoould say no dance/parties etc. Not the school. The school plays NO PART in a students time off school hours, unless they play on a team or are in an after school group (drama, yearbook, etc.)


This is stupid. I didn't learn "responsibility" at school and I am so glad that what I did at friend's houses during sleep overs did not become public school knowledge. First, the kids were dumb to post pics on the internet if their parents could find out. Second, no school should be taking the place of a parent. Going to a dance may not be a right, but it is the PARENT's responsibility to take that right away. Who is teaching responsibility to the parents?


If the parents were putting on the dance, it would be their responsibility to take that right away. If the school is putting on the dance, it is their right to say we aren't going to allow little criminals into our dance.


You would think it would be the school's responsibility to inform the parents and step back so the parents can actually parent. If you have parents getting upset at the action, what have the kids learned? Not a damn thing other than that this one school doesn't like it but their parents really aren't that pissed. They may be even more likely to do it again because there was no lesson learned. Great tactic, teach.


My thoughts exactly on this subject.


Personally, I think kids have partied, are probably partying right now and will party in the future. The difference is who's smart and who's not. Just about every one of us on this site went to parties in HS where people got drunk, trashed, stoned, etc. whether or not it was at someone's house, in a field or behind a 7-11. The main difference right now is that we weren't so forthright about it. It's just plain stupid to put incriminating pictures of yourself, your friends, etc on a site for everyone to see. Do I think a school should crack down on the kids for a party? No.

However, if they're stupid enough to put stuff up where teachers and administration are going to see it, tough luck if the school wants to suspend them. Personally, the district I teach at isn't that tight about stuff, but they do report and have arrested anyone who posts pics of themselves doing the heavier drugs, from pot on up. At least three kids have walked out of school in cuffs this year from that. Sheer stupidity, in my opinion.


If anything, hopefully that is the lesson learned. You have kids getting caught committing major crimes because they video taped it. That is the most basic and stupid thing you could do aside from doing the crime in the first place. I was at friend's houses who drank out of their parent's liquor cabinet when they were out of town. In fact, I have yet to meet the person who was so straight that they weren't even around this activity even once in their lives. I don't even drink alcohol but I would hate to have been punished by the school because I happened to appear in a home video around others who did.

I think the school should ahve informed the parents and let them handle it. At the most, I could see calling a meeting of all involved and openly discussing it. However, to just ban them from some dances and public events? You just created some pissed off parents and teenagers and possibly more attitudes related to public institutions being overbearing. It is not the school's job to raise anyone's kids. How could a "conservative" think otherwise?