Sunday, April 24, 2005

Bloggers Beware!! (part two)

High schools are getting involved in monitoring blog content. This article is from the Hartford Courant ...

New Britain student disciplined for profanities on Web site

April 23, 2005

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. --A New Britain High School drum major has enlisted the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut after he was disciplined for posting a profanity-laced entry in an online journal.

Daniel Gostin, 18, a senior, was stripped of his drum major position, given an in-school suspension and barred from participating in music-related extracurricular activities and performances for the remainder of the year.

Lori Rifkin, an ACLU lawyer who represents Gostin, says the school's actions violate his free-speech rights. In a letter to schools Superintendent Doris Kurtz on Wednesday, she asked that Gostin be reinstated as drum major, his disciplinary record be expunged and that he resume participating in musical activities.

The posting "contained no threats nor did it contain any other statements which would interfere with the ability of school administrators to maintain order and discipline at the school," Rifkin wrote.

Kurtz, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Ron Jakubowski and New Britain High School Principal Thomas Reale could not be reached for comment, The Hartford Courant reported Saturday.

Gostin posted his entry on a Web site that allows users to create their own pages and record thoughts as in a diary. Rifkin said the posting was apparently brought to the
attention of school officials by another individual without Gostin's

At Gostin's request, she said she would not release a copy of the March 9 posting, which was largely directed at the band director. Rifkin characterized it as a "typical teenage rant" over the director's cancelation of several band activities.

New Britain police have launched an investigation following an earlier, more threatening entry on the Web site that promises a "homicidal spree" and "long, torturous death," presumably targeting fellow members of the band.

Police say the investigation will not likely result in criminal charges. Because of a nearly two-month lapse between the time school officials learned of the earlier posting and when police heard about it, electronic evidence was destroyed or deleted, police say.

Gostin and his parents have declined to discuss the case, The Courant reported.

No comments: