Student Suspended for Facebook Post

Sophia Bollag

Associate Principal Sharon Bartlett explains the involvement of the administration in online interactions and postings made by Miramonte students on social networking sites

The week of Jan. 10, a Miramonte student was suspended for posting a message on Facebook which contained a perceived potential threat. The student was called out of class the previous Friday and taken to the police station. After interviewing the student and searching his backpack, the police determined that the student was not a threat.

Associate Principal Sharon Bartlett said that this is not the only time the administration has been notified about postings made by students on Facebook. “I would say it’s not a regular occurrence,” she said. “But we see it way too often to call it rare.

“Since Columbine, there is no institutional sense of humor,” said Bartlett. “Everything is taken very seriously.”

Bartlett said that the administration currently has no rules which specifically concern messages written by students online.

“Where we become involved is if something on Facebook significantly impacts safety or well-being or the general running of the school,” she said. Instances of this include cyber-bullying and potentially threatening messages posted online.

Bartlett also stated that the administration gets most of its information about postings made by students online from parents and other students.

“We don’t search Facebook,” she said. “We really count on people letting us know if there’s a problem.”

The student who was suspended said that he had no intention of actually carrying out any of what he threatened in the post.

“It was kind of a joke,” the student said of the posting. “I wouldn’t do anything like that.”

The student was surprised that the administration and the police became involved.

“I didn’t know I was going to get in trouble,” the student said. “I wasn’t expecting any of this.”