Students increasingly punished for Internet postings

In what some student free-expression advocates say is an alarming trend, students at both public and private schools are being punished for Internet postings made off school grounds on Web sites not affiliated with the schools.

Crime under wraps

Although federal law permits the disclosure of records of the outcome of disciplinary proceedings when a student is found responsible for behavior that would constitute a violent crimes or a nonforcible sex offense, many college say they would rather maintain the students’ confidentiality. Others said they were either compelled or restricted from releasing the records under state law, but many of those schools were in agreement over their concern for students’ privacy.