Student Suspended For Creating Hashtag About School Budget

Kids are rotten online, this has been sufficiently established, we think. Teens in particular can be bullying, threatening and just all around vile some days – and we cheer online when they get in trouble for it, don’t we?

Well, we should get just as chatty about the flipside: A teen facing a foolish punishment for creating a hashtag on Twitter that wasn’t bullying, threatening or in any way vile, but it ticked school administrators off – and they apparently can take whatever action they want, without consequence.

According to, a Cicero-North Syracuse High School student, Pat Brown, was suspended Thursday “after he posted on Twitter about the district’s failed 2013-14 school budget.” But there’s a bit more to it than that:

Brown, who has never been in trouble with the district before, started a hashtag on Twitter Wednesday to discuss things the district could cut in its budget for next year. The hashtag #shitCNSshouldcut became very popular with students who started posting throughout the school day.

On Thursday, Brown said he was suspended for using a cell phone in class and inciting a social media riot that disrupted the learning environment. Superintendent Kim Dyce Faucette said she was aware of the situation, but could not comment on disciplinary actions against a student.

CNN reports the tweets started because “students were concerned, Brown said, because the school board had warned that if a new budget was not eventually passed, they might have to eliminate athletic programs, other extra-curricular activities and introduce additional administrative cuts, including the elimination of some teacher positions.”

The tweets accompanying the #shitCNSshouldcut hashtag were funny at first, but then Brown, “an executive board member for his class on the student council and a community volunteer, says the tweet that got him in trouble was a call for the termination of the school’s executive principal.”

“I said we should cut her, because I don’t think she does a good job. But that’s just my opinion I was sharing on Twitter,” he said.

According to Brown, on Thursday he was called into the office and told he would be suspended for three days for harassing the principal, using a mobile phone in class and disrupting the learning environment.

Students have started the #FreePatBrown hashtag and the story is attracting national interest, for obvious reasons, but the school apparently is NOT relenting:


So even if you’re reading this after the fact, tweet out your support to #FreePatBrown so that MAYBE other schools will think twice before blatantly violating a student’s freedom of speech.

(Image from Shutterstock)