MySpace: Your Space to Say Whatever You Want
By Amanda Dickman in Miscellaneous on Apr 11, 2007 6:40PM
In yet another Student vs. School free-speech battle, MySpace is playing its evil, world-dominating role.
Shawn Gobert, a middle school principal in Greencastle, Ind., had his feelings hurt when he came across an expletive-laden comment on MySpace criticizing his policy on body piercings at school. The comment was left by a student identified only as A.B. in court documents.
A.B. posted the comment on a MySpace page that was made to look like it belonged to Gobert. Although A.B. played no part in the development of the fake page, the student's comments were viewed as obscene by the state. A.B., labeled as a "delinquent minor," was sentenced to nine months probation in March 2006.
A.B. appealed on the grounds that the comments, made against a school policy, were protected political speech under the state and federal constitutions. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of A.B. While they didn't support the vulgar language, they did find that the judge who assigned the probation violated the student's right to free expression.
Listen, these are middle school kids, set to rebel against anything and everything. Remember when you wanted to get that piercing and your parents/school denied your right to party? You ran into your room, slammed the door, shook the walls with the most angst-filled album you owned and called your best friend to discuss the unfairness of it all.
Well, now the kids these days have the platform of MySpace to vent upon for all the world to see. We highly doubt that A.B. would have walked up to the principal and said the same comment to his face without fear of retribution. Oh, those internets, providing a dizzying bravado behind a false sense of anonymity — just what hormonally-charged, angry young teens need.
Image via margaretlyons.