Should students be held responsible for things they post online?

 As the use of social media has grown, people have been using the freedom to post whatever they would like to. While they do have this right, it also comes with a responsibility. Almost every school has to deal with technological issues with their students. These problems leave everyone wondering how far the schools can go to punish certain students.

One example of students misusing their freedom is the MySpace incident. On a website called “MySpace,” four students had pretended to be their principal while talking about crude things like stealing, drugs, and drinking. Hickory High School in Hermitage accused Justin Layshock, a senior, of being one of the four students who had created the fake account. After admitting to it, the school took it up with the school board, resulting in Justin being invited to an informal hearing. Justin had violated many school rules, and the school board found him guilty and gave him just punishments. However, when his parents filed a complaint that the school had violated his First Amendment Rights, the court entered a judgment in favor of Justin. In the minds of many, the judgment should’ve been in favor of the school. According to the Supreme Court case, Tinker v. Des Moines, students are allowed to use their First Amendment right as long as it doesn’t disturb the school’s work. Justin had disturbed the school day when he logged into his MySpace account during his Spanish class and showed it to his fellow classmates. After that event, students would ignore their teachers and schoolwork to log onto their MySpace account to see the fake account. This resulted in the school limiting the amount of time the students could log onto their computers.

There are many other examples of students using their privilege questionably. Some students post pictures of themselves using illegal substances or post indecent ‘speeches’ about their teachers or classmates. In the past,  there weren’t as many issues or arguments about technological problems. However, students are now recognizing the freedom they have with social media but forgetting the restraint they should have with it. At a certain university, a student had been taken into custody after tweeting about a bomb threat. Another incident was about a student who had posted a drug-related post. Although students believe that just deleting the post would eliminate their online activity, retrieving those problematic posts is easier than they would think. 

Students should take full responsibility for what they post outside of the school if it will affect their future. If they do not want to, they should have thought about that in the first place instead of posting harmful things on social media.