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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    1

    Default Student Punished for Being in a Picture With a Beer Bottle on School Grounds

    My question involves education law in the State of: Texas

    I made the mistake ok capturing a still photo(selfie) of myself in my high school parking lot, with a dos Equis can in my hand, the mess up comes when I post it to my Instagram Sunday evening.
    School admins found out about it. Called me in Monday, and talked to me, so far I have admitted to only 2 things. Yes it is me in the picture, and yes I'm in front of the school with an empty beer can(I'm not kidding it really was empty).
    I so far have been assigned 3 days of out of school suspension and 30 days in a district alternative education program. Soley based on their assumption the can had alcohol. And I might add they had finalized their decision on punishment, long before my hearing to defend myself. Papers were already typed out for them.
    In me and my parents attempt to fight this what we think is overly harsh punishment we have argued and questioned how me this situation is any different than the drug dog busting someone with an empty can in the bed of their truck on campus?(this happened last year, kid had multiple cans and only received 3 days ISS) my super Intendents response is "well it's in your hand" but as far as I know the law states that you are fully responsible and in possession of anything in or on your personal vehicle?
    Am i correct? Do I have ground to stand on here? How much does my school have to stand on?

    ps. My parents are livid, my vice principle has lied to my mom twice now concerning this situation and the super Intendents is backing her up, along with avoiding in tough questions my parents ask.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    RTR/WDE
    Posts
    1,723

    Default Re: Punishing for Social Media

    Zero tolerance.

    I'm also willing to bet that both you and your parents signed a piece of paper saying that you agreed to follow all the rules and regulations as outlined in the Student Handbook.
    Don't make me quote Monty Python at you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,261

    Default Re: Punishing for Social Media

    What is the issue here?

    That you're being punished at all, or that someone else got less punishment than you?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7,733

    Default Re: Punishing for Social Media

    It doesn’t take much imagination to conclude that if you were holding a beer can in your hand that you had been drinking from that beer can. The reason it was empty may well have been because you drank the beer in the can, thus emptying it. They don’t have to believe your own self-serving testimony that you didn’t drink it while at school. They have the photo with you holding a beer can on school grounds. They can assume you drank from that can. They may punish you for violating any school rules that prohibit possession or drinking alcohol while on school grounds. They could potentially have referred you for criminal prosecution, too, for being a minor in possession of alcohol. If that didn’t happen, be grateful for that.

    As for what the other kid got in different circumstances, that’s not all that relevant. The key issue I see here is whether the punishment imposed is within whatever the rules call for as punishment for this kind of violation. If it is then I don’t see it likely that making further challenges here will help you. But you and your parents are free to consult an attorney in Texas who is experienced in dealing with school disciplinary matters. Perhaps there are additional appeals or other efforts that may be tried to lessen the punishment for this.

    I’ll tell you this, too: if I was your parent, I’d not be mad at the school district, I’d be mad at you. What you did was foolish and you set yourself up for what happened with the school. It is, at least, a good lesson for the future: do not ever post anything on social media that you would not want someone else to see — teachers, bosses, friends, relatives, police, whatever. Do not assume that anyone whom you’d not want to see it won’t find it. Even after you take something down it may be possible for others to find it because there are site that archive the internet. For example, one guy I know posted a photo to facebook showing him wasted a party that he thought was really funny when he was in college. A few years later, he applied for a job he really wanted after graduation. The employer found the photo and didn’t think it was funny. He didn’t get the job. This kind of thing happens all the time, unfortunately, because people don’t think carefully about what they put up on the internet.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    314

    Default Re: Punishing for Social Media

    I am sure your school district has a stated policy regarding student code of conduct. If you violated those codes of conduct you are subject to discipline. Learn from your mistake. Your parents should also review code of conduct too.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    3,148

    Default Re: Punishing for Social Media

    Your parents attitude explains why you thought you could break the rules and get away with it. They should be teaching you personal responsibility by example an example.

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