Snapchat Story Causes Controversy on Campus

Jared Moisey, Mirada Staff

From Snapchat story to Saturday school, junior Shane Becker posted an image stating that there are only two genders, and anything else is a mental disorder. He would find “later that day” that vice principal Robert Kerr was notified and that Becker would receive a saturday school for harassment.

Becker served his sentence but was not satisfied with the blemish on his record and the school’s restriction of his speech. In response, he emailed principal Brian Ginter to remove the harassment charge from his record. Ginter asked who gave him the saturday school, and the situation has since left his hands and is as of now being determined.

This incident of discipline has sparked conversation concerning the administration’s involvement with student behavior on social media. For privacy reasons the administration was unable to comment on Becker’s specific incident; however regarding the student handbook definition of harassment, there are multiple kinds with varying levels of disciplinary response.

The most accurate definition to this case would be “engaged in an act of bullying, including, but not limited to, bullying committed by means of an electronic act.” Bullying is further defined as “severe or pervasive physical or verbal act directed towards one or more pupils that has or can be reasonably interpreted to have the effect of one or more of the following Placing a reasonable pupil in fear of harm to that pupil’s person or property, causing a reasonable pupil to experience a substantially detrimental effect on their physical or mental health…academic performance…. Ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by the school.

In regards to the school’s acceptable use technology under inappropriate technology/online conduct under C, it states, “accessing, posting submitting publishing or displaying harmful or inappropriate matter that is threatening obscene disruptive sexually explicit or that could be construed as harassment or disparagement of others (cyber bullying) based on their race/ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion or political beliefs.”

Considering the nature of Becker’s original post (which was on school wifi) stating that any perceived gender other than male or female is a mental disorder, it is subjective to the viewer to analyze and determine whether or not this constitutes harassment or disparagement.

Becker believes that his post was a statement of beliefs and facts and he was not specifically targeting anyone and therefore cannot be classified as bullying because there was no specific person targeted by his post; however, the word “construed” could very well make his case fall under a violation of the acceptable use policy.

The definition of construed is “interpret (a word or action) in a particular way.” Therefore, if a student uses the school wifi or school computers and says something that could merely be interpreted as offensive to a person or group of people, it could fall under harassment and bullying with disciplinary options of, “other means of corrections considered, may suspend, may expel, and optional contact of law enforcement.”

The overall consensus of students is firmly against this kind of acceptable use policy. One student, posted on their story in response to Becker, stating that “if you actually think there are two genders go f*** yourself YOU ARE THE TRUE PROBLEM IN AMERICA.” This could violate the acceptable use policy as well.

When asked on whether the school’s jurisdiction should extend to social media,president of feminism club Zoe Murray said, “even though I totally disagree with what he said, I don’t think he deserved a saturday school because he was just saying what he believed in and one of the things that I really believe in is your first amendment right to say whatever you think.”

When asked about whether or not the school should have jurisdiction over what is posted on social media, Becker responded with “I do not, I think it’s dumb, I wasn’t insulting anyone, harassing anyone or targeting anyone specific.”

Becker has “received more positive support than any backlash.”

“I want to pursue this so students can have their free speech it’s BS that we can’t say that kind of stuff,” said Becker. His opinion on his post hasn’t changed since his saturday school, and still exercises his social media.

Edward Malloy, president of conservative club, said that, “no, so long as a person isn’t directly threatening or harassing anybody, they should have no say in what you think say or post on social media. Regardless on what you agree or disagree with what Shane said, unless someone specifically pointed to someone and said you have a mental disorder it’s none of their business”

Malloy also commented on the responses on social media, “there was a lot more targeted backlash to what Shane said on social media than what he originally posted.”

Despite any political differences in opinion, one thing is consistent. Students don’t want the school to be involved with their social media activity.