Think that what you do behind your closed bedroom door at eleven o’clock at night is up to you? Well, apparently some high school principals think otherwise.
High school officials across the country continue to punish students for creating off-campus, private Web sites that dare to criticize school officials and policies. The past month has seen students in Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee punished for their out-of-school speech.
In mid-February, a junior high school student in Georgia was suspended for 18 weeks for publishing a Web site that included a list of suggestions for disrupting class (“booing if we hear something we don’t agree with,” “leaving a room without permission,” etc.). In late February, a Missouri high school student was suspended for five days for a Web site that criticized the school’s punishment of another student. And in early March, school officials suspended a Tennessee student for the remainder of the school year for publishing a Web site from his home that included a link to the Anarchist’s Cookbook, a commonly available publication on the Internet that, among other things, includes information on bomb building, lock picking and computer hacking.
Old habits apparently die hard. High school officials who are used to having their way when it comes to censoring official school publications are having a hard time adjusting to the idea that some parts of their students’ lives are simply beyond their control. As long as they are not breaking the law, courts have been pretty consistent in ruling that parents