We can debate the wisdom of telling your school to “f— off” on Twitter all day, we’d probably agree that suspension might be a lick too far … especially since, because of social media, the offense didn’t even occur on school property.
Such was the case that the ACLU picked up on behalf of North Attleboro High School senior Nick Barbieri (who, coincidentally, is also a minor YouTube celebrity). After school officials announced a snow day on Twitter with a snarky “see you in June!” (alluding to the need to make up the lost day in the summer), Nick yawped “f— off” in a quoted retweet.
School officials called Nick at his home asking him to delete the tweet, and he honored their request. But that wasn’t the end of it.
When he returned to school, he was smacked with the threat of suspension, six hours of detention, and a handful of meetings with school officials (during class) to discuss his Twitter habits.
Since Nick had issued the tweet from home (not on school grounds) and since he deleted it at the school’s request, he figured that the excess punishment was a little too enthusiastic and reached out to the ACLU (which is really good at turning cases into “freedom of speech” violations and then winning because of it).
The school backed down, and while Nick admitted that he shouldn’t have dropped the f-bomb on them so publicly, he thinks that student rights regarding social media should be respected by teachers and administrators across the country.
“I got to where I am by speaking my mind, but at the same time when it’s a respect issue I can understand how they would be offended by my choice of words,” he said.
Speaking of where he is, Nick, like we said above, was kind of a YouTube star before all of this national attention over his tweet. He makes pretty awesome Minecraft mod videos, an example of which is included below. You can join his 200,000 YouTube subscribers here, or follow him on Twitter here.