ACLU intervenes after student gets detention for tweeting swear - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

ACLU intervenes after student gets detention for tweeting expletive

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NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- A North Attleborough student wrote a tweet using an expletive and got detention. Those 140 characters didn't sit well with one school official, but that high schooler says it's all about free speech.

When you get detention in high school, typically you just serve it. It appeared that's what one local teenager was ready to do, until the ACLU got involved. The student says he doesn't think he crossed a line.

After the school sent out a tweet announcing a snow day a week ago, Nick Barbieri tweeted out a response using some colorful language.

"'[Expletive] off #senioritis #seniorsnomakeup,' and that was just a reference to kind of a running joke in my school because on snow days seniors don't have to make them up," Barbieri said.

Within minutes, Barbieri said the assistant principal had called his home, talked to his mom, and asked him to delete the tweet even though it didn't mention the school's twitter handle.

"I deleted it, I figured that would be the end of it. Why poke the beehive," he said.

"He took it right down and I thought that would be the end of it, until he came home and said he had a detention, and I said okay you got a detention," Barbieri's mother, Michelle, said.

Barbieri said days later the assistant principal told him he'd violated the student handbook code on inappropriate language in school, and gave him two detentions. Then she told him to delete three other tweets.

"I was quoting the school, and it's not on the school page. It's not as if I went on the Facebook page or their school web site and wrote it in the comments section. It's under my page," he said.

Barbieri, a gamer who likes to post provocative tweets, says some of his followers reached out to the ACLU. It didn't take long for an ACLU lawyer to send a letter to school administrators, saying the school has the right to control students in class, but can't punish them for personal comments about the school. It worked.

"I walked away with nothing," he said.

In a statement, Suzan Cullen, Superintendent of schools in North Attleborough, said the principal had spoken with the ACLU and expressed a willingness to work with them.

She added, "This student will not be disciplined for the tweet he sent out, nor will there be any information regarding this matter put into his record file."

In fact, the school told FOX 25 Wednesday night that it prides itself on being proactive when it comes to new technologies.

Barbieri says he's never been in trouble before, and is planning to head to college in the fall.

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