In December 1999, Friends Central School expelled an 11th grade student because of private, offensive comments that he made to a friend over the internet. The students comments, which referred to other students as"dumb as bricks" and suggested that "we kill off the stupid and crazy people," were made to a friend on AOL Instant Messenger. Later in the exchange, the student wrote that "I don't really think that they should be killed, but they are quite annoying." Neither student was at school during the exchange and neither student was using school computers or internet access at the time. FCS learned of the exchange after a transcript, which had been printed out by one of the students, was obtained by a chaperone on a school trip and turned over to the headmaster. Despite an official school philosophy that emphasizes "risk-taking in the service of learning and critical thinking and questioning" and seeks to encourage students "to speak their minds as young people," the student was expelled. I, for one, find this deeply troubling and antithetical to the idea of free expression and a liberal education.





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