A lesson for teens: Be careful what you tweet

A lesson for teens: Be careful what you tweet

An Oregon City teenager's tweets have gotten him suspended from school for what he's calling a joke.

Cody Fast, a junior at Oregon City High School, thinks the school violated his privacy and crossed the line by punishing him.

The incident raises questions about what's private and what's not on social media.

Whether you're the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, someone who is retired, or reporter for a news organization, you might want to consider that what you post on the Internet is public.

Social media profiles can be gold mines for employers, law enforcement and as Fast found out, a quick way to get suspended from school.
 
"I go, 'Oh, I hope she comes in tomorrow, #ShesGonnaGetHit,'" Fast said about his tweet.

But that answer to a schoolmate's question about a vice principal who came looking for him in class, has him in hot water.

"I wasn't actually going to hit her," he said. "I wasn't going to punch her. But apparently, it was a threat on her life."

Oregon City High School officials took the tweet seriously and as a threat. On Wednesday, they suspended Fast for five days, and he can't go to the prom this weekend.

"People have tweeted worse things about teachers, like threatening them, and I feel like what I tweeted wasn't that much of a threat. It was a joke," he said.

The tweet he calls a "joke" came to the school's attention after Fast had already been suspended for two days last week. That punishment was because of another tweet directed at a math teacher.

"I didn't actually have his name in it," Fast said. "It said, 'When your teacher's on his man period, #Calmthe(expletive deleted)down.'"

Oregon City Principal Nancy Bush-Lange released the following statement to KATU News: "As mandatory reporters and concerned staff, all threats are treated seriously. Threats made online or via social media are by their nature easily sharable, identifiable and public."

Fast said he understands that now.

Despite that lesson, Fast didn't apologize for what he tweeted. He said he thinks school officials looked through his twitter account to find the tweets.

The school said that's not the case – they didn't go looking for them.

It's against school rules to use a cellphone during class, which is a rule Fast knows he broke.

His mom said she supports her son but can see the school's side too.

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