Matt Smith, principal at Garrett High School in Indiana, recently expelled a student for Tweeting a swear word on his own time. In response, NYRA’s new Executive Director sent Smith the following message:
Dear Mr. Smith,
I was disappointed to hear reports that your school chose to expel a student for a Tweet he wrote about the F-word. What a student writes to his Twitter followers is hardly any of the school’s concern. To violate his privacy is bad enough, but on top of that you pass judgment on his word-choices?
To even reprimand Austin Carroll for his off-campus communication with friends would be inappropriate, but to expel him is way out of line.
I would urge you to promptly own up to your mistake, apologize to Mr. Carroll, and assure the public that your school will never again snoop through students’ messages without good cause and will never again punish a student for discussing a feature of the English language.
Please let me know what steps you are taking to rectify this situation.
National Youth Rights Association
1101 15th Street, NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20005
Those who would like to send their own message to Matt Smith may reach him at MSmith@gkb.k12.in.us .