Student nearly expelled from Virginia school due to a careless Facebook post

It’s in the news more and more often as the social media platform explodes in popularity: someone unwittingly posts a remark on the not-so-private forum, and suddenly that person is facing a lot of trouble.

We’ve been cautioned to watch what we say on facebook because current or prospective employers could potentially scout us out there.  We’ve seen the backlash that results when students and their teachers become facebook “friends”, leading to relationships that appear inappropriate.  As a tutor at a local tutoring company, I was expressly forbidden from accepting my students’ facebook friend requests at the outset due to past problems the company had had with their tutors becoming too chummy with students.

So it really comes as no surprise to me that a recent article titled “Student’s careless Facebook post nearly leads to expulsion” headlined on the site eSchool News.
What is surprising is that the student in jeopardy of irreparably tainting her academic record is a high achiever with a 3.5 GPA, and is an active member of her church.

After receiving a lower than expected grade on an English essay accompanied by the remark that parts of the essay were “incoherent”, Michelle Edwards vented on her friend’s Facebook wall “I say we shoot our English teacher in the face.  But then again we might not be able to carry that out since we’re so incoherent.”

Was her remark careless?  Sure.  But did she really intend to harm her teacher?  Of course not.  Her remark was something we can all imagine ourselves guilty of saying with no real bad intent but to vent.

Michelle will not be expelled, but the Chesapeake school division did elect to suspend her for 90 days, after which she will be allowed to graduate with her class.

Says her father John Edwards “My daughter was trying to make light of the situation. It was a poor choice of words. She made a sarcastic statement, and the next thing you know, it’s turned into a full-blown mess.”

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