One of the early Ethics Alarms posts about schools disciplining students for their use of social media involved a male student who rated his female classmates in a Facebook post. In 2016, Harvard cancelled the men’s soccer season as punishment for “the widespread practice of the team’s players rating the school’s female players in sexually explicit terms.” [The Ethics Alarms Quiz about that episode, which I just read, as well as the 156 comments it generated including two Comments of the Day, is a good one, and I’ll offer it here as another Ethics Alarms archives feature worth revisiting: Ethics Quiz: The Harvard Soccer Team’s “Locker Room Talk.”]
At Perrysburg High School in Ohio, however, the reaction of administrators to a similar incident plows new and especially alarming ground. After many students reported his Twitter account for rating the school’s female students in derogatory terms, the school had him arrested and charged with “telecommunications harassment.”NBC reports that 18-year-old Mehros Nassersharifi has been issued a summons to appear in court, and faces expulsion from the school.His account, @GirlsRanked, purported to list the “hottest girls” at Perrysburg.
No news yet if the school plans on confining him in an Iron Maiden or branding “SEXIST!” on his face.
There’s no quiz necessary here. What the school has done is far, far worse than a high school kid’s juvenile Twitter account. It is also one more item on my growing list of how the cancerous progressive fervor for installing “woke” attitudes into the culture using force and intimidation continues to metastasize.
No, you can’t prosecute someone based on the content of a Tweet. Every single student at Perrysburg High School should already know that, and indeed should have known it since the sixth grade at least. Yet apparently the teachers and administrators at the school don’t know it. First Amendment? What First Amendment?
Whether or not a personal social media post made off campus can even be the legitimate target of school discipline is an open question—even if such speech could be prohibited by the school, its policies would have to provide him with fair notice that his tweets were forbidden,before he could be punished for them—this is not. The school is using the law enforcement system for mind and speech control, just like so many progressive fanatics advocate. Nassersharifi’s tweets made the girls feel unsafe!
The weak, weak, gossamer thin thread that the schools censors claim supports this iron boot tactic is that the tweets “disrupted” the learning environment, but again, that;s an argument for school discipline, not arrest and trial.University of Toledo law professor Rob Salem told the media that the speech may be punishable by the school if it had the effect of causing “substantial unrest” within his school: “The school would have to link the tweet to disruption in the school’s learning environment. Students may have free speech rights off campus.”
Students MAY have free speech rights off campus?
“Mamas, don’t let your babies learn law at Toledo…Don’t let ’em take classes that Rod Salem holds…Their values will rot and their common sense mold…”
There is no debate here, no controversy. The State can’t punish you for a sexist tweet. What are the odds that the Ohio ACLU will back the oppressed student? I want to hear Christiane Amanpour weigh in, and reveal whether she believes, as she suggested to James Comey, that the government should “shut down” language it finds distasteful. I want someone to ask uber-feminist Presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand if she supports sending young men to the stocks for opining on their female colleagues’ womanly charms on Facebook or Twitter. Kamala Harris, too: what does the former prosecutor think? Who will ask them such a question in the candidate debates? Nobody at CNN or MSNBC, we can be sure of that.
We have one side of the political spectrum slowly expanding its definition of “hate speech,” and slyly avoiding saying outright what its “base” wants it to say, which is that “hate speech”—you know, anything that makes the right gender, the right races, the right self-identified victims, feel “unsafe”—needs to be banned, censored and punished.
No, I don’t think this is an isolated episode.
I think it’s a warning.
Pointer and Facts: Liberty Unyielding