OHIO — Clayton Telles got the urge to take his creativity to theWorld Wide Web — and it earned him a 10-day suspension.
The suspension, enforced Oct. 16 through Oct. 27, came after OtsegoHigh School principal Robert Nicholson learned of Telles’ Web site, OtsegoSucks.com.The site, which Telles created from his home computer, features a guestbook, chat room, satire of Otsego students and faculty, a “favorite Otsegoteacher” poll and an “OtsegoSucks Store” offering T-shirts and mugs bearing”the official OtsegoSucks” logo. Nicholson visited the site after receivinga complaint from an Otsego student mentioned on the site.
Telles is appealing the suspension, but school officials have not yetmade a ruling.
Nicholson notified Telles’ parents of his decision in a letter citing”derogatory and inflammatory comments about Otsego High School studentsand staff.” Nicholson also cited “unauthorized use of copyright material”he said might place the school in “legal jeopardy.” The letter did notspecifically mention the Web site.
Telles said Nicholson also ordered him to take down the site or faceanother 10-day suspension.
Nicholson was unavailable for comment.
OtsegoSucks.com is still running, but Telles has added the followingdisclaimer: “This page is for entertainment purposes only. Some of thepage’s content is fictitious, satire, parody, or opinion.”
Telles also posted links to American Civil Liberties Union opinionsand news releases on cyber liberties, and the site warns Otsego studentsto “leave the page now or else you may be punished for it is against therules to look at it in school.”
Under local school policy, Telles could have served his suspension ina local juvenile detention center to avoid missing schoolwork and assignments.He declined that choice, saying he did not want to be labeled a “bad kid.”