Austin Carroll Serial Offender?

By: Heather Campobello - April 4, 2012

We reported earlier that Austin Carroll, a teen from Indiana was expelled from school after he tweeted the F bomb late at night. His commentary had nothing to do with the school. His cursing was not even directed at anyone who attends or is employed by the school in the small town of Garrett but school officials continue to defend their decision.

Carroll’s expulsion is now generating controversy regarding how closely school officials can monitor students’ online imprint, especially when they are conducting such activities outside of school.

School representatives contend that the senior must have used a school-issued computer or school network to send out the tweet. If this is true, then the school has a basis for their ruling, if not this debate could build and become a fiery dispute over First Amendment rights.

Pam Smitth is the offending teen’s mother. She does not agree with her son’s expulsion and thinks a more appropriate course of action would have been to suspend him for a few days.

Students at Garrott High School agree that his expulsion is an injustice and cops were called in after a riot broke out.

The senior says that he was just trying to be funny and said, “One of my tweets was, f@#$ is one of this f@#$ing words you can f@#$ing put anywhere in a f–@#$ing sentence and it still f@#$ing makes sense.”

Do you think that school officials overreacted?

According to CBS News his mom thinks the board made the decision, “in retaliation for her son’s previous misbehavior, which included a suspension earlier in March for violating the dress code by wearing a kilt to school and a suspension last fall for using the same expletive on a school computer. Then on March 16, her son tweeted the F-word again.”

Why can’t he wear a kilt? Is this school stuck in the 1950s?

Ernie Abilla was also also suspended by his public school for wearing a kilt back in 1984.

No one is saying that his comment was appropriate, but should that keep him from being able to attend prom and graduate?

Heather Campobello

About the Author

Heather CampobelloPrior to working as a Staff Writer for WebProNews I was an English Instructor at various colleges in New York, Colorado, and Wyoming. I have a Master of Arts in English from the SUNY of New York at Buffalo and have been working in marketing, clinical research, and education for the past five years. Google:+Heather Campobello

View all posts by Heather Campobello
  • JohnAnderson

    A contract is an inconvenient document. Mr Carroll, along with the rest of the student body of Garrett H.S. has a code of conduct that clearly states what can and cannot be posted by students on school or personal computers (I took the time to read the document, particularly beginning on page 22). This is not a Freedom of Speech issue, or one of schools “spying” or prying in to student lives. We have to assume that the school board of this district, the administration and parents of Garrett High School and the students all had input in to the creation of this document. I’m willing to bet that earlier in the year, Austin Carroll signed something that he had read and understood his rights and responsibilities (ooh, that “R” word!)This should be an illustration that when ever you enter into ANY agreement, you gain certain rights and have to perform certain duties. Imagine getting any job and finding out that you are not able to say what you want, when you want to and finding out that you can be fired for it!

    • Elliott

      Public Schools are state actors (they ARE the state) and attendence is mandatory. This makes a good portion of your argument void. The dress code perhaps can fly, what is done ON school computers or ON school grounds can also fly. However, outside of school on non-school property and equipment the state has to overcome that pesky little document called THE CONSTITUTION. And even the supreme court has stated clearly that students don’t shed their consitutional rights at the school yard gate..

      Simply using your argument the school could regulate ALL aspects of behavior out of school even over parental wishes. Last I checked the supreme court had stated that absent clear evidence of unfitness a parent is assumed by the court to be acting in a childs best interests.. (Troxel vs. Granville, paraphrased)..

      You don’t gain rights, you HAVE THEM without debate, you can only be given privileges.