Schoolboy kicked out over Facebook slurs
Schoolboy kicked out over Facebook slurs

A Catholic school has kicked out a Year 9 boy for setting up a public Facebook page that denigrated teachers.

Catholic Education Office director Ron Dullard said the Prendiville Catholic College student had posted "racist and vulgar" remarks under pictures of teachers and fellow students about three weeks ago. Dozens of other students had responded with similar comments.

Mr Dullard said the Year 9 student was suspended for five days "with the likelihood of exclusion".

The boy's parents were asked to withdraw him from the Ocean Reef school or else he would be expelled. He has not returned to the school.

The college also suspended 10 students for between one and three days for their involvement and sent warning letters to the parents of another 185 students who had written messages on the site.

The Prendiville student's father said his son's punishment seemed harsh compared with that meted out to six Ballajura Community College Year 12s who wrote on Facebook that a female teacher should be raped and murdered.

Those students were suspended for between one and five days and banned from a river cruise and final Year 12 assembly.

"The worst consequence was a week's suspension," he said. "I don't think it's fair."

The father said his son, who had not even had a detention before, was trying to be funny and had not been responsible for all comments on the site. "My understanding is the reason he was expelled, or offered withdrawal, was because he'd set up this site and basically pressed the button to allow people's expressions and opinions to be seen," he said.

The student had written letters of apology to the teachers.

Mr Dullard said schools had to take a strong stance on online abuse and they also had to teach students what was appropriate.

Schools were doing an "incredible job" of keeping on top of student misuse of social media, he said.

"The schools are making these rapid adjustments to inform kids of what's the ethical, moral and proper thing to do in a changing world," Mr Dullard said.

"These things are there for ever, they're not something you can take back. People have to appreciate the damage that they can do to their future or to their job prospects."

Curtin University head of internet studies Matthew Allen said such incidents were the online equivalent of behaviour that had always been seen in schools.

"But the consequences are potentially much worse because of the public nature," he said.

'These things are there for ever, they're not something you can take back.'"Catholic Education Office director *Ron Dullard *

The West Australian

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