West Seneca High School Student Suspension




While at work this past week I heard a news report on a student from West Seneca High School being suspended for a vulgar tweet he posted about his student. At the time I couldn’t understand what was going on. Later after some research, I found out that Brandon Guzda, a student of West Seneca, had f-bombed a teacher on twitter, for kicking him out of a game because of his behavior. According to WIVB-4, the tweet was along the lines of, “F*** mrs._____ #freedomofspeech”.

            The future teacher in me says that the teacher had the appropriate grounds on suspending the student for his vulgar comment toward the teacher, and setting bad precedent for other students. Due to Guzda’s remark other students may feel that it is okay for them to be disrespectful and that what they say on social media sites doesn’t matter, but it does. By punishing Guzda, you set a precedent for other students on what is acceptable behavior and how you have to be accountable for your own actions, which is what being an adult is all about. Plus, Buffalo News reported that school officials had told the students that “that they were accountable for what they posted on social media” so they had been warned head of time.  

            On the other hand, the liberal side of me says that the student didn’t threaten anyone and he didn’t make that remark to be malicious and ruin someone’s career, but rather out of frustration. I mean doesn’t everyone say things that they wish they could take back, especially when they were an adolescent. I’m sure that if he would’ve known that it would’ve caused such a spectacle, he wouldn’t have done it, especially if he knew he would get suspended for a week for it.

            While I’m being torn at the seams on what my stances is, other individuals have voiced their own stand on this issue. For example, CourtneyInNY, a commentor of WIVB-4’s article on the issue wrote ‘I am uncomfortable with this overreach of authority into a student's private life. It seems controlling and ominous. What if our government started monitoring people's Tweets and punished everyone who spoke out against their leaders, simply because it made the elected officials feel "uncomfortable"? I don't mean harassing threats, but impassioned (if crude) opinions?’ While Betty Ann Danhof, commented on the article and said “I agree that this young man's comment was lacking in respect for an elder and person in authority, and the school has dealt a punishment, BUT, there may be more to this story.” While Donn Esmonde, News Senior metro columnist for Buffalo News, said “A week’s suspension may be tough to swallow, but – given the bigger issues – I think it’s the right medicine.”

Everyone may have their own beliefs on whether or not Guzda’s punishment was justifiable, but I think the real issue is: what are we really teaching our youth and why. Are we teaching them how to be accountable for their actions? To be complacent in what others deem appropriate for us? That it is justifiable to speak in any way we choose to as long as we don’t threaten others because we have the right to. I don’t know what we’re supposed to be teaching them, but what I do know is that we need to teach them is how to act rationally, logically, and critically. As a future educator it makes me happy that a student knows what their rights are, and that they can accept what they did as wrong, but still question whether the punishment fits their actions. If they’re able to do this that means that they’re being educated and are willing to question what is happening to and around them instead of just accepting what is, which to me, is confusing and amazing.