Coon Rapids students suspended for Facebook comments

8:42 AM, Nov 17, 2011   |    comments
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COON RAPIDS, Minn. -- Ten students are not welcome in their Coon Rapids High School this week after they were suspended for doing something that has become all too common in modern teenage society.

The students were allegedly posting threatening and harassing statements on classmates' Facebook pages.

"We take every situation that affects the safety of our students seriously," Anoka Hennepin School District spokesman Brett Johnson said Wednesday.

The suspensions range from three days to 10 days, depending on the offense. School officials said they found out about the situation on Tuesday when a shouting match erupted in the high school stairwell and the students involved then told administrators it was related to posts -- several of them made on Facebook.

"Some were threatening; some used language of harassment which is words or phrases we do not want in our school or anywhere and then defamation," Johnson said.

One of the suspended students told KARE 11 that he did post comments on a classmate's page that were deemed threatening by school officials. That student then told KARE 11 he decided to deactivate his Facebook page entirely.

The Anoka Hennepin School District has not been free from bullying controversy. In just two years, eight students in the district have committed suicide. Parents of some victims say that happened because of bullying at Anoka Hennepin Schools that went unpunished.

Two federal lawsuits currently name the district as the defendant, alleging six students were bullied or harassed because of their sexual orientation.

The district says the decision to suspend ten students from Coon Rapids High School on Tuesday has nothing to do with those past issues and that this only has to do with students right now violating district policy.

It also brings to the forefront, how important it is for families and the district to work together in a day and age where teenage rifts can go viral in seconds.

"This is really a partnership with parents to say please be checking out your kids' facebook page, seeing what they are talking about. If you see things you don't like reinforce that we don't talk that way or use those words," Johnson said.

(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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