Homecoming king suspended for weblog post  NOV 12 2003

Homecoming king suspended for weblog post.

There are 25 reader comments

sjc37 12 2003 9:37PM

What have I been telling you?!?!? BLOGGING KILLLLLLLLZ

Bobby46 12 200311:46PM

As much as this sucks, if that one guy could get fired for something he posted from home about his workplace (the Microsoft guy who took a picture of a loading dock with a bunch of G5's), this is fair game.

Firas09 13 200312:09AM

Fair game? Hello, Michael posted about WORK. This guy's a school kid. A couple years ago some guy posted smutty comments about his schoolmates on a site in India and he got kicked out, and I was like, where on earth are we headed--seems like the schools out here in America are retarded too.

His friend, Valley senior Angie Scaduto, was called to the dean's office at the same time Juhl was.

She was questioned about one of her journal entries, which began: "I almost killed everyone today."

The entry went on to explain all the things that had gone wrong that day, she said, and wasn't a threat against anyone.


Hm... I think half the people using the LiveJournal codebase should be kicked outta school.

ben24 13 200312:24AM

"Juhl did not have a current zone variance to attend Valley. As a result, Juhl was sent to Chaparral High School, which is the school zone he resides in."

This appears to be the more likely reason for his suspension.

Mike36 13 2003 1:36AM

His lack of a current zone variance was something the school overlooked. It was the school's error. He was part of a Baccalaureate program of some sort which allowed him to go to that school.

"For three years, Juhl had been part of the school's International Baccalaureate program, but he chose not to continue in it his senior year. That was something the school should have caught earlier and it was not Juhl's fault, she said. "

They could have given him a zone variance if they wanted to but they chose not to, despite his mother's request. The article states that if you read the whole thing.

The reason he got suspended was because his comments were deemed inapprorpate.

"That journal statement, and another that included a vulgar comment about a teacher, earned Juhl an in-school suspension and a required parent conference"

Either way this is ludicrous. This flies in the face of free speech. Despite what schools have the authority to do when you're on "their time" and under "their jurisdiction", this clearly falls outside of those bounds and I hope he is able to get that clearly sorted out.

Bobby13 13 2003 2:13AM

Fair game? Hello, Michael posted about WORK. This guy's a school kid.

And the difference is what? They are both businesses that rely in part on their reputation to generate income. As a blogger, you have a responsibility to not make libelous remarks or threats to or about people you know in real life. And it doesn't really matter if you make them in or out of work or school, if they are going on the public internet (which includes said school or workplace).

Don't get me wrong, I think the school went too far on this one, but I still think it's fair game. Sometimes seperating what is fair and what is convenient or expected can be very diffucult.

Bobby34 13 2003 3:34AM

As well as difficult.

mike20 13 2003 5:20AM

school is a business? thats news to me. i thought it was part of the government. and last time i checked criticism of the govt was allowed. this is totally a free speech issue.

dowingba23 13 200311:23AM

Criticism of businesses is allowed too. Just thought I'd throw in my two cents. Unless the kid had to sign a confidentiality agreement to attend that school...

Blue55 13 200311:55AM

John Ashcroft gets off on stories like this.

matt20 13 200312:20PM

if the school had chosen to ignore this and juhl had gone on to a killing spree, the article would read "School apathy allows student death"; and, we'd all be arguing that if the school had just "done something", this could've all been avoided.

this is post-columbine. the school is dealing with these issues as best as they can.

Brian19 13 2003 1:19PM

What concerns me is what kids in public schools are learning from the people who are supposed to be setting examples for them (principals and teachers). I agree violence in schools is disturbing, but what about the context in which these comments were made? It would be one thing if every single post was about killing someone. But it was a throwaway comment. It saddens me that the head of a school operates in such a CYA manner.

crewk17 13 2003 3:17PM

The microsoft guy wasn't fired for 'criticizing the business.' He was fired for posting pictures from inside the company grounds - which I can see why Microsoft does not agree with. While his pictures weren't of anything confidential, it's a dangerous precedent to allow. Also, as stated before, Microsoft is a private business - they don't have to honor the first amendment.

Since public schools are part of the government and we require citizens by law to attend, they must honor the first amendment (and the rest of the Bill of Rights). It's just like the Goose Creek raid - just because your are on a school campus doesn't mean you give up your right to be free of unreasonable search and seizures.

ixg22 13 2003 7:22PM

It is a simplification to say that the school has to honor all of the bill of rights.

It is important to note the difference between the federal government and state government. The Bill of Rights originally placed restrictions only on the federal government, and not on the states. The 14th amendment has been interpreted so that some of the amendments in the Bill of Rights apply to state governments, like the 1st amendment protection of free speech. But there are parts of the Bill of Rights which defenitly don't apply to states, and don't have to be honored by states.

Bobby35 13 200311:35PM

school is a business? thats news to me. i thought it was part of the government. and last time i checked criticism of the govt was allowed. this is totally a free speech issue.


Yes, it runs on money, and provides a service in exchange for a payment. While it is not a private business, it runs under the same premise as any other establishment.

Also, there's a difference between criticism ("I don't like how my teacher runs his/her class."), libel ("My teacher is a fuckhead.") and threats ("Kill so and so.")

Unless the kid had to sign a confidentiality agreement to attend that school...

He didn't get suspended for revealing any trade secrets.

The microsoft guy wasn't fired for 'criticizing the business.'

But the senior kid also threatened one of his classmates. I assure you the Microsoft guy would have still gotten fired if he had done the same.

It's a sad thing, but hey, the kid learned a valuable lesson. You have the same responsibility when posting something on the internet as you would if it were any other worldwide publication. We can argue about whether the school was right or wrong to bust the guy, but the fact of the matter is that freedom of speech comes with a fair amount of responsibilities.

ixg13 14 200312:13AM

Yes, it runs on money, and provides a service in exchange for a payment. While it is not a private business, it runs under the same premise as any other establishment

It is not really relevant whether a school is a business or not, but whether the school is a part of the government. The distinction is important because government entities are held to a different standard than private companies - government agencies have to abide by the first amendment.

What the kid said may have been obscene (note that it isn't libel), but even obscene speech is protected by the first amendment unless it is "likely to provoke the average person to retaliation, and thereby cause a breach of the peace." Since it is not likely that someone would be provoked to violence by reading a comment in a weblog, his comment is protected under the first amendment.

Firas29 14 200312:29AM

"[..] the fact of the matter is that freedom of speech comes with a fair amount of responsibilities".

Agreed. Easily. What does the school have to do with it?

Very 'normal' highschoolers say things like "kill so and so" on their blogs. They're not going to kill them, ferchrissakes.

PS. I do realise that it gets prickly when they start *naming* people, but again, hardly something to scream "Columbine!" over.

Well, ok, I guess I agree with you (and perhaps going to police would've messed things up much more), but still. Sucks.

crewk05 14 2003 2:05PM

Another point is that we have a thing in this country called due process. If one of us had written a libelous statement, or had directly threatened someone on our weblogs, we would have our day in court before we were punished. Public school administrators don't seem to care about this. In *certain* situations, I can understand a school being worried about a direct threat (but even then there should be some sort of process, not just a knee-jerk reaction)... but if a kid writes a obscene or libelous statement about a teacher, I don't see how the school has any jurisdiction to issue punishment. If they have a problem with it, they can take care of it through the courts.

Bobby09 15 2003 1:09PM

Every school I've ever known has and maintains a Code of Conduct which includes these kinds of violations and their respective disciplinary actions. This is a contract between the student and the school, much how you might have a confidentiality agreement when working for Microsoft.

PS. I do realise that it gets prickly when they start *naming* people, but again, hardly something to scream "Columbine!" over.

I would say this is a matter of opinion. I happen to agree with you, but I guess this school didn't. If you consider that both 9/11 and Columbine both had preventative information leading up to the events that were ignored due to lack of credibility, it really becomes impossible to say where to draw the line on threats.

dowingba19 15 2003 6:19PM

Everyone has 20/20 hindsight, as they say. There'll always be disasters like Columbine and 9/11, no matter what you do leading up to them. Unless the school bans all kids from going there, it has no assurance as to whether or not one of those kids are gonna shoot up the place.

Unless this person wrote something very specific about killing people, which he didn't, I don't see any grounds for this punishment. Can the school control what goes on in every aspect of everyone's lives? Even signing a confidentiality agreement at microsoft can't stop someone from hating their boss, for instance.

Bobby56 15 200310:56PM

Everyone has 20/20 hindsight, as they say.

Indeed.

There'll always be disasters like Columbine and 9/11, no matter what you do leading up to them. Unless the school bans all kids from going there, it has no assurance as to whether or not one of those kids are gonna shoot up the place.

But at the same time, schools cannot sit back and do nothing. There is never a 100% assurance of safety anywhere, but the effort must be made if we are to say that we live in a civilized society.

Unless this person wrote something very specific about killing people, which he didn't, I don't see any grounds for this punishment.

From what I understand, he named a specific person. Albeit that he was probably kidding, but when you start mixing personal opinion with policy, it pretty much throws "going by the book" out the window.

Can the school control what goes on in every aspect of everyone's lives?

But this aspect is directly related to the school. This person knows and comes in contact with the student he made a threat towards via the school's property. Anyway, I think even the school took it half-heartedly since he only got suspended for it.

Tim54 17 2003 2:54PM

...we'd all be arguing that if the school had just "done something", this could've all been avoided.

this is post-columbine. the school is dealing with these issues as best as they can.


Okay, but if he had gone and killed people, would we be arguing that the school should have suspended him so he could go kill at some other school, or that the school should've gotten this kid some help?

Do they not have counselors at schools anymore? I don't think you can say the school is dealing with it the best they can. They are simply passing the buck. Dealing with it would be sitting down with this kid and his parents and discussing his motivations. I'm sure at that point they would've easily determined there was no real threat there. Instead they chose a knee-jerk response to show the kids that they're being educated in a police state. Not the best learning environment...

Rosenthal Marc 17 11 200312:17AM

Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.

Fasano Luke 19 21 2003 2:19AM

A stopped car does not imply a dead driver.

Mohaiemen Naeem 22 10 2004 4:22AM

There's nothing to gain and nothing to lose.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.

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