Student's tweet leads to discipline and ACLU response - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Student's tweet leads to discipline and ACLU response

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WHDH) - A teenager in North Attleboro is learning a tough lesson about social media.

He tweeted something to his high school that got him in big trouble.

It was meant to be a joke, but not everyone is laughing it started a war of words between the teen and the school.

18-year-old Nick Barbieri spends a lot of time online; most of that time the North Attleboro high school senior is busy posting video game reviews to his well followed YouTube page and tweeting.

"I don't sensor myself on my twitter and I think that's what's gotten me where I am,” he said.

On Feb. 5 he saw a tweet from his school's twitter account written by assistant principal Leann Todd that said "No school tomorrow - see you in June!"

Nick retweeted it adding "[expletive] off #seniors #nomakeup #chirpchirp”

"It was kind of just a reference to a running joke at our school,” he said.

His assistant principal wasn't laughing.

She asked nick to delete that tweet and several other related tweets.

He complied.

"The first thing out of my mouth was ‘I’m sorry if you took offense to my choice of words,’” he said.

At first the 18 year old planned to just take three detentions as punishment but then something happened online.

"My fans started tweeting at the ACLU that they got involved and I realized that this might be something important that we need to bring up,” Nick said.

If Nick was on school grounds he would have been in trouble, but he was not.

Nick's tweet was written at home on his personal account.

Which is why the ACLU sent a letter to the school saying: "...Nick's speech was expression protected by the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as by the Massachusetts Student Freedom of Expression Act ... I am asking that you rescind the discipline, remove it from Nick's record..."

The school agreed with the ACLU’s recommendation.

Nick said he hopes what happened sparks a conversation in North Attleboro and at other schools.
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