A high school junior student by the name of Mollie Woodbury was kicked off of her zoom class due to the Trump flag displayed on her wall. The flag was visible in the background during the zoom class and the teacher asked her to remove it. When Mollie refused, she was kicked off of the zoom class. It was not “technical difficulties” or anything of the sort because Woodbury received a message that said she was removed from the call by the host.
Woodbury says that she was not suspended and was able to return to the class the next day. However, the teacher avoided her throughout the class. The teacher has not responded for comment but the Waterboro, Maine high school released a statement:
“RSU 57 supports the rights of both students and staff to express their views on matters of public concern. There are; however, times when the District must make content neutral time, place and manner restrictions on speech to ensure the orderly operation of its schools and the educational process. Whereas educators are pretty familiar with what is and is not appropriate in the traditional classroom, we are all still learning the rules in a virtual environment. In this case, staff acted to ensure that permission of such display and others would be appropriate in the online setting. This situation has been discussed and resolved at the local level.”
This incident does not mark the first time that a school stands accused of overstepping their boundaries. A 12-year-old boy was suspended from school (zoom school?) over a toy bb gun that was briefly seen on camera during a zoom call. Not only was he suspended, or at least threatened with it, the police were called to the boy’s home. Nobody from the school bothered to call the boy’s parents to ask what was happening before they called the police. The boy was left traumatized over something that should have been nothing.
Another boy was suspended in Louisiana for nearly the same thing as the boy from Colorado Springs. Neither boy was playing with their toy guns during the zoom call. They both simply moved it from one place to another. In the case of the Louisiana boy, his sibling tripped over it while coming into the room. The suspended fourth-grader simply picked it up off of the ground and moved it to a chair next to him.
At a certain point, “distance learning” that features zoom or any other camera-centric product like it must be seen as a violation of privacy. There are some instances where someone with authority needs to be informed of what’s happening on a zoom call screen. Parents doing drugs or abusing their children are obvious red flags that cannot be ignored. But toy guns? Trump flags?
We are in uncharted territory when it comes to rules and regulations of the online learning world. Something needs to be done to rectify this and if that doesn’t happen, there will be many more cases like this one and the rest.
Student removed from class for having Trump flag in Waterboro, ME | newscentermaine.com
4th grader suspended for having a BB gun in his bedroom during virtual learning | General | kptv.com
Louisiana 4th grader suspended for having a BB gun in his bedroom during virtual learning – CNN
Police Called on 12-Year-Old Boy Over His Toy BB Gun Seen In Online Class | Anthony Brian Logan