High School Must Overturn Suspension of Student for Inoffensive Twitter Message

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Target: Heights High School Principal Bruce Deterding

Goal: Allow Wesley Teague, a student suspended for a Twitter message about his school football team, to return to school

Recently, 18-year-old Wesley Teague, a student at Heights High School in Wichita, Kansas, was suspended after putting a message on Twitter about the school’s sports teams. The message seemed innocuous, but caused outrage among the students. Teague was suspended because of the harsh reaction to his message, even though it was said on his private Twitter account. Teague had a right to say what he wanted about the team, and his right to free speech should have been respected.

Teague posted on his Twitter account ‘‘Heights U’ is equivalent to WSU’s football team.’ Heights U is the term students and some faculty at the high school use to refer to the sports teams, implying they are at university level. Teague mocked the idea by comparing the team to Wichita State University’s non-existent football team. Many students at the high school took offense at this joke, and Teague was suspended on the basis of ‘purposely inciting the majority of students.’ This is despite the fact that the message was a clear joke, and did not directly insult the school or any students.

Teague posted the message on his private Twitter account. The school should not control what students say outside of school, but chose to do so anyway. The students who support the school’s sports teams cannot be shielded from any slightly negative things said about the teams, and it is ridiculous of the school to attempt this. Teague did not say anything offensive in this message. He should not have been suspended based on how others reacted to it. Tell the school that Teague’s suspension was an overreaction and should be overturned.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Deterding:

Recently, 18-year-old Wesley Teague was suspended from Heights High School for posting a message on Twitter about the school’s sports teams. The message mocked the idea of calling the teams ‘Heights U.’ It did not directly insult the school, the teams, or students. However, other students took offense at the innocuous message, and Teague was suspended because of their reactions.

I ask you to overturn the suspension. Teague, like all students, has the right to free speech. The message was posted on his private Twitter account, and was not intended to insult anyone. Teague’s intentions should have been taken into account in his suspension, but they were not. Instead, he was suspended solely on the reactions of others to his message. This is a ridiculous and unfair reason for his suspension, and it should be overturned immediately.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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