At Posh CT Boarding School, a Facebook Scandal

200-page private thread poked at classmates
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2010 2:01 PM CST
At Posh CT Boarding School, a Facebook Scandal
Choate's Andrew Mellon library.   (Wikimedia)

(Newser) – It counts JFK, Michael Douglas, and Ivanka Trump among its alums, but the elite Choate boarding school's golden reputation has lost its sheen, thanks to a Facebook scandal that seems fit for an episode Gossip Girl—and is emerging as the latest Internet privacy/cyberbullying debacle. Officials of the Connecticut school expelled two girls and suspended four more after learning about a 200-page-long Facebook thread titled "Mwaahhahaha" in which the girls wrote these sorts of things about classmates: "EWWW, SHE'S SO GROSS AND FAKED AND SPRAY TANNED" and "Some ho kissing Herbie."

But as Lynnley Browning writes for the Daily Beast, many think the punishment didn't fit the crime, arguing that this case should not be grouped with those of Phoebe Prince and Tyler Clementi. It's "PC hysteria," says Norm Pattis, a lawyer who specializes in civil-rights violations. "Yes, what was written was mean, but it's not bullying." One distinction seems to be that the comments were made in what Browning describes as "essentially a private, electronic gossip chamber." The school has banned access to Facebook from campus computers, which Pattis says sends the wrong message to students, who need to be taught how to be civil online ... and who can still access the site from their phones.
(Read more Choate stories.)

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