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Austin Carroll was expelled for posting profanity on Twitter  (Source:
The student said he posted it during non-school hours, but the school's computer tracking system says otherwise

An Indiana high school student was expelled for posting an inappropriate tweet on Twitter, possibly during non-school hours.

Austin Carroll, a former senior at Garrett High School in Garrett, Indiana, recently posted a tweet that used the F-word five times. But it's no big deal, since Twitter is a non-school-related account and the tweet was posted after school hours, right? Wrong.

Garrett High School's computer system is capable of tracking its students' social media sites on the Internet. According to Yahoo News, the tweet was posted at 2:30 a.m. -- clearly outside of school hours -- but even though Carroll tweeted from home, Garrett High School's computer system could have recognized the tweet when he logged in again at school.

The tweet in question is the following, where all BEEPs are actually F-words: "BEEP is one of those BEEP words you can BEEP put anywhere in a BEEP sentence and it still BEEP make sense."

Carroll claims the tweet was posted from home, but the school claims it was posted from Garrett High School. Carroll lost this battle and was expelled with three months left of his senior year.

"If my account is on my own personal account, I don't think the school or anybody should be looking at it," said Carroll. "Because it's my own personal stuff and it's none of their business. I didn't post the thing at school but their computer is saying that I did post it, and I shouldn't be getting in trouble for stuff I did on my own time, on my own computer."

Carroll will now finish his senior year at an alternative school, where he will still receive his diploma. However, other students at Garrett High School are not ready to back down quite yet. Some students tried to protest Carroll's expulsion, but local police made sure to stop them quickly.

"I totally didn't agree with what Austin said but I didn't agree with an expulsion either," said Carroll's mother. "I mean if they suspended him for 3 days or something, I would be fine with that but to kick him out of school, his senior year, 3 months to go, wrong."

It seems schools and the government are both getting a bit invasive when it comes to social media sites, since a recent DailyTech report described how government agencies and colleges are asking applicants/students to log onto Facebook pages and other social networks during interviews.

Sources: Yahoo News, Indiana News Center

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I don't get it....
By mm2587 on 3/28/2012 9:01:43 AM , Rating: 5
I don't understand was this posted from a school owned computer? If it was posted on a privately owned computer to a personal twitter account it shouldn't matter when or where it was posted from.

RE: I don't get it....
By Jeff7181 on 3/28/2012 9:55:25 AM , Rating: 4
It was posted from his own personal computer to his own personal Twitter account. He then logged into said Twitter account on a school computer and their watchdog monitoring system caught all the f-bombs when his Twitter page was loaded on the school network.

A few questions come up...

1. Were the students and parents aware of this "watchdog" monitoring system?

2. Does the school have a policy in place in reference to acceptable Internet use?

3. What the hell is wrong with this principal? Expulsion? Can a principal even do that without the school district board's authorization?

This kid needs to be allowed back to his home school immediately, the incident expunged from his record and the
school district should give him a college grant for $10k.

RE: I don't get it....
By mcnabney on 3/28/2012 10:01:02 AM , Rating: 5
I am on a school board and can answer #3. A principal can do it, but the board is notified of the circumstances and they can suspend the expulsion for further review if they choose to do so. However, none of my principals are dumb enough to choose this type of punishment for foul language. I am going to take a guess that this student might have been on some type of probationary period due to prior stupidity. The idea of expelling a senior in the Spring for naughty words is insane. The legal costs alone will exceed the principal's annual salary.

RE: I don't get it....
By Kurz on 3/28/2012 10:04:03 AM , Rating: 4
Why the hell would the school let you access twitter?

RE: I don't get it....
By edpsx on 3/28/2012 10:38:19 AM , Rating: 2
I agree on that. If they have such a big deal with this, why not just block Twitter like Im sure they do with Facebook etc?

RE: I don't get it....
By Quadrillity on 3/28/12, Rating: -1
RE: I don't get it....
By corduroygt on 3/28/2012 11:10:27 AM , Rating: 2
Blocking a website is virtually impossible if you give a user access to the internet. Plus, some educational institutions can be be fined for not allowing open access to information. This is not to be confused with blocking harmful or illegal material though.

You know you just contradicted yourself, right?
Besides, it's possible and simple to block access to certain websites. Even some home routers have that functionality built in.

RE: I don't get it....
By Quadrillity on 3/28/12, Rating: -1
RE: I don't get it....
By wempa on 3/28/2012 12:23:16 PM , Rating: 1
Blocking a website is virtually impossible if you give a user access to the internet.

You're seriously kidding, right ? You think it's impossible to block a web site ? All you need to do is have all traffic go through a proxy/router and block access by website category. Of course, there are ways around using external proxies / bounce boxes, but blocking normal access is simple to do. As another person said, even most routers for home use can do this.

RE: I don't get it....
By sprockkets on 3/28/2012 1:05:04 PM , Rating: 2
I can bypass that by browsing via IP or my own proxy on SSL. Did it all the time at work.

RE: I don't get it....
By Quadrillity on 3/28/2012 3:56:28 PM , Rating: 1
lol @ the morons down rating us that don't have a clue about networks and security. If you are down-rating, please do us all a favor an chime in exactly where we are wrong. I'd like to see your technical breakdown of that.

RE: I don't get it....
By bh192012 on 3/28/2012 4:27:38 PM , Rating: 2
Most content filtering systems have a category called "uncategorized" that you can block. This means that all traffic not going to port 80 on pre-checked (safe websites you don't run) is blocked. I'm not sure how you plan on running a proxy from server. Because those systems will not let you get to or via direct IP.

Not all content filtering systems have this, but some do. Not all sites that run those systems are locked down well, some are.

RE: I don't get it....
By Quadrillity on 3/28/2012 4:48:55 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure how you plan on running a proxy from server. Because those systems will not let you get to or via direct IP.

You could easily SSH on port 22 to an outside machine and redirect SOCKS5 traffic. As I stated earlier, it's virtually impossible to block internet traffic if you have even a single port open. An IDS/IPS system would even have trouble on my connections since I use 2048 bit encryption across the tunnel. I say "virtually" because there are many ways to prevent this type of port usage.

RE: I don't get it....
By wempa on 3/28/2012 5:13:01 PM , Rating: 1
Who leaves port 22 open to the interent from an internal network ? That's the golden ticket to freedom via an SSH tunnel. You force ALL internal computers to go through one proxy/gateway and only allow connections out from the proxy on the standard HTTP and HTTPS ports.

RE: I don't get it....
By Quadrillity on 3/28/2012 6:36:57 PM , Rating: 3
You can tunnel encrypted traffic of any type on any port. I don't know of many production networks (other than ones that are highly specialized) that explicitly block port 22. It's a standard port, after-all.

You force ALL internal computers to go through one proxy/gateway and only allow connections out from the proxy on the standard HTTP and HTTPS ports.

That works well on a very special network, but it's pretty much a dream world for most administrators. It's not really scalable and cost effective.

RE: I don't get it....
By ritualm on 3/28/2012 6:07:22 PM , Rating: 3
Start using 16MBit encryption for your connections, boy. That 2Kbit encryption scheme you have is just going to be cracked by my custom Tesla cluster.

RE: I don't get it....
By Quadrillity on 3/28/2012 6:30:07 PM , Rating: 2
lol, true. I don't actually use it for top security transmission, I just keep it from curious eyes. Plus, it's running to a 768k connection anyway.

RE: I don't get it....
By jimbojimbo on 3/28/2012 7:33:49 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter if YOU can do it. If they block the site they block the site. If someone bypasses it in some way they bypass it, great. This guy did NOT bypass it and got caught. However expelling a guy for profanity is plain BEEPING dumb.

RE: I don't get it....
By Quadrillity on 3/28/2012 1:16:03 PM , Rating: 1
Give me access to a network that has any ports open to the outside, and I can pull any proxy in. My original statement still stands true. Yes, blocking "typical" access is easy, but there are an increasing number of power users out there.

RE: I don't get it....
By wempa on 3/28/2012 5:18:27 PM , Rating: 2
I would say it's easy to block a little more than "typical" access. Sure, there is always some way around the restrictions, but I seriously doubt many high school kids are going to go through all that trouble.

RE: I don't get it....
By Quadrillity on 3/28/2012 7:19:47 PM , Rating: 2
Take away a teenagers access to social networking sites and you lite a very short fuse. Don't be so quick to underestimate kids and their ingenuity. I busted holes in the network of every single school I have ever been to. Well, I white-hat "busted" holes. I never created any real security threats, or left anyone open.

RE: I don't get it....
By rocketcuse on 3/28/2012 12:50:17 PM , Rating: 3
1) He tweeted at 2:30AM. Parents were asleep.

2) That is the real question. The school my son graduated from had a strict policy for internet usage. Both the student and the parent had to sign (can't remember what the called it) basically a acceptable usage policy.

3) Yes he can. Most if not all school districts, the school board can over rule. Since they didn't there is more to the story.

What we don't know...

1) is there or what is the accepted usage policy?

2) is there a school defined Student Code of Ethics (a.k.a student handbook).

3) if #2 is yes, what is the defined punishment for excessive use of profanity. (again, my son school, 1st detention, 2nd suspension, 3rd 5 day suspension 4th expellusion. To clarify, these punishments were not for that occasional ooops a f-bomb dropped, They were for excessive use of profanity, like the tweet )

4) was the student on probation?

RE: I don't get it....
By geddarkstorm on 3/28/2012 1:05:42 PM , Rating: 4
Instead of expelling him, why not just 1) block twitter for all student level user accounts or just his user account, or 2) ban him from the computers and shut down his login account.

Simple and effective solution, isn't it?

RE: I don't get it....
By FaaR on 3/28/2012 11:54:30 AM , Rating: 4
Why should it matter if the computer was school owned or not? They have no business dictating what people can or cannot say in such a manner.

If it had been hate speech, online threats or otherwise abusive towards other people one might make a case that it'd be actionable, but this guy was trying to be clever (in a typical boneheaded highschool kid fashion).

Unless the school claims ownership over the students themselves they have no rights whatsoever to police the way students express themselves when that speech is still completely legal.

...And all this isn't even touching on the fact this guy actually got expelled for typing "the F-word". Christ! Overreact much?

The US has absolutely become a totalitarian state, no doubt about it.

RE: I don't get it....
By TSS on 3/28/2012 3:52:33 PM , Rating: 2
Just another perpetrator of thought crime.

Nothing to see here move along sir.

RE: I don't get it....
By mm2587 on 3/29/2012 4:00:57 PM , Rating: 3
if it a school owned computer I'm marginally ok with an "our toy our rules" kinda thing. Expulsion would still be an extreme but they would at least have some leg to stand on.

As is they have zero grounds for limiting his freedom of speach

By Brandon Hill on 3/28/2012 9:00:34 AM , Rating: 5
the tweet was posted at 2:30 a.m.

but the school claims it was posted from Garrett High School

Administration FAIL. You'd think that the ACLU would be all over this like flies on s***

By mcnabney on 3/28/2012 9:07:41 AM , Rating: 3
Not only that, but expulsion for foul language? And it wasn't like the profanity was being used for threatening purposes, it was used to be funny. It is like the principal is trying to get fired or something.

By corduroygt on 3/28/2012 9:28:03 AM , Rating: 4
Even if it was tweeted during school hours, it's not like people don't say the F word in high school.

Still not as bad as the UK jailing a man for 2 months for making racist remarks on Twitter.

By Arsynic on 3/28/2012 9:55:05 AM , Rating: 4
It wasn't even a racist remark.

By martin5000 on 3/28/2012 10:14:40 AM , Rating: 2
I'd say making a racist comment about someone who has just had heart failure live on tv is considerably worse. Not I think jail was the right punishment though.

By corduroygt on 3/28/2012 11:13:32 AM , Rating: 2
Tasteless speech is still free speech, you can't have the government decide what's tasteless or not. Otherwise we wouldn't have porn. You don't want to live in such a society.

By martin5000 on 3/28/2012 2:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, but I am still able to say one is worse than the other, I also have a right to my opinion!

By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2012 10:47:51 AM , Rating: 1
Still not as bad as the UK jailing a man for 2 months for making racist remarks on Twitter.

There's no Freedom of Speech in the UK, so I'm not surprised.

We DO however, at least in theory apparently, have that freedom here. It's unacceptable that the school has the power to ruin a kids life for something he says while not even IN the school on the Internet.

By gixser on 3/28/2012 1:00:33 PM , Rating: 2
There's no Freedom of Speech in the UK, so I'm not surprised.

Please see:

So your distinction between the U.S and the U.K. is wrong. You might fairly state the U.K only has freedom of speech in theory and not in practice. De Jure v. De Facto.

By Reclaimer77 on 3/28/2012 1:19:24 PM , Rating: 1
There's a key difference between the U.S and every other countries Constitution or set of laws.

Our Founders believed our rights were inalienable and self evident. That they extended to us just by being human beings. And the purpose of the Bill of Rights and Constitution were to protect, NOT DEFINE, these rights.

Everywhere else, especially the UK, the rights and protections of the citizens were granted BY the Government. And the logical progression of this practice is if all your rights and freedoms extend from the ruling class on down, than it's very easy to also take away those rights or modify them.

There is no "Freedom of speech" in the UK extended to it's citizens. I'm not even sure you understand the link you provided. That is the Bill of Rights for PARLIAMENT, not the general population.

"the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament "

By gixser on 3/28/2012 6:51:50 PM , Rating: 2
Glad you said "set of laws".

My point in providing the link was to indicate the development of the "notion of rights", up to and including the belief they are inalienable. This process may be traced to the Magna Carta (in the UK), through the Age of Enlightenment and Classical Liberalism to the present day. It didn't begin with the Bill of Rights. Please see:

The Bill of Rights 1689 is not a bill of rights for Parliament as you assert. The Freedom of Speech provisions are to protect speech within Parliament. The other provisions apply to all Englishmen.

So, you are right in saying there is no single codified right to "freedom of speech" in the UK but you are wrong in saying or implying there is no right to "freedom of speech" or "freedon of expression" in the UK.

So what is your basis for the following?:
There's no Freedom of Speech in the UK

By Reclaimer77 on 3/29/2012 9:14:38 AM , Rating: 1
UK law imposes a number of limitations on freedom of speech not found in some other jurisdictions. For example, its laws recognise the crimes of incitement to racial hatred and incitement to religious hatred. UK laws on defamation are also considered among the strictest in the Western world, imposing a high burden of proof on the defendant. However, the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 guarantees freedom of speech (within institutions of further education and institutions of higher education) as long as it is within the law

If that's your idea of "Freedom of Speech" than we have diametrically differing views on what freedom is. And again, I see NO such general "freedom of speech" as applied to the general population. I see it being applied to Parliament and here in educational institutions.

Again, you miss my point. Without a clearly expressed goal of defending the Freedom of Speech, an inalienable right, instead of a body of people GRANTING it, there is no such Freedom in reality.

By martin5000 on 3/28/2012 3:01:13 PM , Rating: 2
There's no Freedom of Speech in the UK, so I'm not surprised.

I believe the correct internet term to use here is "u mad bro?".

technophobic prudes
By Stacey Melissa on 3/28/2012 9:22:37 AM , Rating: 4
I'm still trying to figure out what people's big problem is with cussing. They're just words! It's not like certain randomly-chosen phonetic combinations have magical evil powers. The school administrators should be forced to watch George Carlin's "7 words" act, back-to-back with profanity episode of Penn & Teller B.S.

And besides that, WTF are they doing monitoring students' outside internet use?

RE: technophobic prudes
By gmkmay on 3/28/2012 9:26:05 AM , Rating: 2
I completely agree and am pretty baffled. If he spray painted the words all over school property sure, that's at least defacement and against the law. How on earth can you expel a student for using foul language at all? Hell, even if he mouthed off to a teacher that's not even grounds for expulsion, suspension sure.

Not offensive
By AnnihilatorX on 3/28/2012 9:43:52 AM , Rating: 2
EEP is one of those BEEP words you can BEEP put anywhere in a BEEP sentence and it still BEEP make sense

What's wrong? The above is not offensive to anyone and is a famous joke. Even if tweeted within school hours he should at most get a ticking off.

RE: Not offensive
By x10Unit1 on 3/28/2012 10:26:09 AM , Rating: 2
I am curious to know if he has had multiple warning about this? Given the information we have it is clear that he didn't write the tweet at the school. Given the "danger" of swear words being in social network site, the school might consider banning them on their network. What if all of his friends checked his tweets at school? Would they have been punished this heavily as well? It just doesn't add up, we have to be missing a piece of the story.

What I hate most about this story is if this was the first offense, it is a serious overreaction to the situation. Whatever happen to a simple discussion? I would think that detention would be the "extreme" punishment for a first time offense.

RE: Not offensive
By tastyratz on 3/28/2012 11:32:53 AM , Rating: 2
Even if it isn't, if you swear a hundred times in school at most you should have a hundred detentions, not even suspension. The punishment doesn't fit the crime no matter WHAT level of probation he might be on. This is unacceptable for a student both on and off campus with ANY history if you ask me.

Think about it...
By StraightLine on 3/28/2012 12:46:04 PM , Rating: 2
A kid gets expelled for something that isn't that bad. What's that mean? There's no way this was his first offense. This story reeks of something that's taken completely out of context. For all we know this kid has been suspended, disciplined, warned and who knows what else about his Twitter account, and this was just the last straw.

I'd like all the facts before passing judgement.

RE: Think about it...
By geddarkstorm on 3/28/2012 1:02:42 PM , Rating: 2
And why doesn't the school block twitter? And why does a twitter account have any baring on school business? It doesn't. Nor does swearing on a PRIVATE internet account have anything to do with school business. Expulsion for swearing is well beyond and outside the realm of reason. That has nothing to do with education or keeping a constructive educational environment, as it was posted on an internet site not said in the school or slapped up as fliers on the walls. What good can possibly come of this?

If the school really doesn't want twitter loading, then it can simply block it; that's the school's responsibility. There shouldn't be warning to students about going to twitter, there should simply be an outright internet block on the school computers. Even my high school back in the wild era of web 1.0 was smart and savvy enough to do that! No punishment necessary, just block the site.

So, try to justify this madness; nothing more about the story could possibly be added unless he broke into the school at 2:30am to post this--then it would be the breaking and entering that lead to expulsion not the PRIVATE twitter account.

RE: Think about it...
By Xonoahbin on 3/29/2012 12:43:14 PM , Rating: 2
Bet you the school wants Twitter accessible so it can spy on its students better. If the kids log in to Twitter or Facebook, bam, the school has access to all of that because it's through the school's connection, even if it's private.

Better for him
By henrikfm on 3/28/2012 10:10:40 AM , Rating: 2
Who would like to be in a school where a student gets expelled for this?

Fuck his school and find a new one.

RE: Better for him
By amanojaku on 3/28/2012 12:21:07 PM , Rating: 2
Fuck that fuckin' school of fucked up fucks!!!


By juserbogus on 3/28/2012 9:33:54 AM , Rating: 2
if they want to protest, all they have to do is get as many students as possible to re-tweet his tweet. during school hours would make the best statement but I could understand everybody doing it after hours as well.

Good lesson for his future
By dragonbif on 3/28/2012 12:02:06 PM , Rating: 2
Most prospective employers scan sites like this to see what they can find out about you. Something like this could prevent you from getting a good job or going to a good school. These days employers and higher education can be a bit more picky than they used to.

I dont know about this kid tho. I wouldnt think you would get trouble for the Fbomb a few times~. This school must have it out for him.

By the way the school district in my area has been paying a 3rd party to monitor students on Facebook, twitter and such for the past 2 years. They do this to look for any warning on an attack on other student or teachers at the schools.

Complete overreaction
By jeff834 on 3/28/2012 3:04:52 PM , Rating: 2
When I was in highschool, one of my friends was going on a class trip, and at the airport, thought it would be funny to put a number of fake toy guns in his bag. Mind you this was a few years before 9/11, and so was not taken quite as seriously as it would be now, but it was still a huge deal. Even that didn't get him expelled however. He was suspended for, I believe, 10 days. One thing to note about this situation was that this was senior year and he had never been in trouble before, not to mention he was in the top 2% of a very large class.

My point here is this. Either this school is some sort of crazy police state or this kid was quite a troublemaker and perhaps on his very last thin straw. Either way, it doesn't justify any kind of punishment for anything done not on school property during school hours.

The Matrix
By ritualm on 3/28/2012 6:15:57 PM , Rating: 2
The administration must think there is no distinction between a school computer and a student's homebound computer. There must be a top-secret bunker under the school...

By mindless1 on 3/29/2012 9:30:01 AM , Rating: 2
Fire everyone who conspired to cause this ridiculous situation and reinstate him at school.

It seems irrelevant to me whether it was a school computer or during school hours. Censorship should not be allowed, even if he said these words directly to a school official it is not an excuse to expel him, it was a benign sentence while the reaction of the school officials was far, far worse.

I'd even go so far as to wish those officials were never allowed a job in the educational system again.

Invasion on privacy
By marraco on 3/31/2012 8:43:00 AM , Rating: 2
Why the school haves any involvement on Tweeter accounts?

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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