Students’ tweets at South Lakes High School drew attention from SLHS administration

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Four students attending South Lakes High School received punishment for posting tweets with which the SLHS administration took issue.

Two of the students, seniors Mitch Dempster and Brian Kraus, received a two-week sports suspension from the varsity soccer team.

Dempster and Kraus, along with senior Sam Campbell and junior Rachel Berman, were reprimanded by the school for tweets they sent out.

Students believe their right to freedom of expression was unfairly suppressed by the school’s administrative team. Campbell told the South Lakes Sentinel, the SLHS student newspaper, “I think it’s against my rights and unfair, it has affected me physically and mentally.”

SLHS principal Bruce Butler, who could not comment on the specifics of the incident, suggested that the tweets were involved with a concern for the well-being of students. “If any information comes to light which makes us concerned about the safety and choices of our students, we share those concerns with the family an appropriate resources. To do otherwise would be unacceptable,” said Butler.

FCPS high schools have been cracking down on the tweets of students. The “Annandale High School Problems” twitter page was taken down after pressure from the AHS administration was placed on the creators of the account. As the Student Rules and Responsibility (SR&R) Handbook suggests, during school hours, the school administration takes the place of government.

In a school district where the daily lives of students are more involved with social media, FCPS has been increasingly intertwined with the conduct of students online.