Print 56 comment(s) - last by marraco.. on Mar 31 at 8:43 AM

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

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