I don't even know where to start with this one. A Connecticut school has barred a student from serving on the student council (even though she won the election... as a write in...talk about campaigning) because she referred to a school administrator as being a "douchebag." This is a story that's been around since July of 2007, but it's back in the news today as well as appeals court.
Here's my struggle.
1) I don't care what anyone calls me on the Internet as long as they are willing to explain why they wrote what they wrote to my face. If you think I'm a "douchebag," tell me why and maybe we can get to the root of the problem. Believe me... I am aware that I can be a "douchebag" on occasion so there is a chance I might agree with you.
2) I am clearly a fan of free speech, but I am smart enough to know that slinging insults at an authority figure is not a wise idea. If I were to slander my boss, coach, parent, etc. on my blog, I would expect there to be some sort of repercussion. It seems all too frequently these days that respect is something that is on the decline. (The two girls that got booted off of a Southwest flight are the perfect example)
In the instance of Avery Doninger (The CT. Student who write the post on her Myspace Page) I do feel that the punishment was too severe. Being the rambunctious, destructive hellion I was in high school, I know for a fact that I called the administrators worse than "douchebag." In fact, I called all authority figures worse things and received less of a punishment than this 17 year old. However, my parents let me know that there was a valuable lesson to be learned from those experiences...
Sometimes, it's better to say nothing at all. If you have to say anything, make sure you can say it to that person's face and can take what ever comes to you.
Good bloggers start writing because they are passionate about something. Passion can occasionally lead to poor judgment. There is always more than one way to say something and there is always another way to receive something someone has said.
Not only is this case one of the many instances that highlight our social struggles with the rise of collaboration and conversation on the Internet, but it brings awareness to the slippery slope of issues that await us if we start to regulate the conversation. In my opinion, Avery should have been punished for her insult, but not by the school administration. Her parents should take this opportunity to teach their child that there are better ways to approach problems.
But what do I know... I'm just an occasional "douchebag" without any kids and an occasional blog post.
*For those that are interested. This is day 10 without cigarettes. Chantix does work wonders.