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Boy suspended for inappropriate Snapchat

As a Pittsburgh juvenile offenses lawyer here in western Pennsylvania, I have finding social media, especially amongst minors, can be a major point of contention. What many youths fail to realize is that what they say on the internet can follow them for the rest of their lives and it never really goes away. The internet has opened a forum where anyone can say anything about anyone and anything. While this can provide excellent discourse for serious global issues on one side of the scale, it also lets anyone with a Wi-Fi connection say something mean about someone else who they’ve never met over a Facebook picture. The contention this week comes after a 17-year-old special needs boy from Bethel Park High School has been suspended for at least nine days over a controversial Snapchat picture. For those of you who don’t know what Snapchat is, it’s a picture and video sharing application that is unlike Instagram or Facebook in that the content that is sent disappears after a certain period of time for whomever is viewing it. However, with most smart phones’ “screenshot” features, pictures can be captured and saved. The picture in question in this instance is one of the boy in question standing in front of a confederate flag in his room at home, with the caption: “they should all hang.” The high school junior’s father told reporters that his son did not mean any harm, but that instead the hanging is in reference to the confederate flag, as in “confederate flags should all hang.” The boy’s father says that “Kids are…listening to a lot of country music and…acting like rednecks…” He goes on, “And…they’re basically singling my son out as a racist based on a photograph.” The boy, who splits his day between special education courses at Bethel Park and a South Hills technical program, posted the Snapchat picture after he says he was confronted by some African-American students while leaving the tech school last Wednesday. One of those students, an unidentified girl, allegedly punched him three time. About the picture, however, the boy in question says, “…I never meant to be racist or anything—I never meant for anyone to hang.” The boy’s attorney says that her client was not given due process and there was no official hearing before Bethel Park administrators handed down the suspension. She says that because of the boy’s learning disabilities, the boy has trouble effectively communicating. She also says that she believes that the school’s security cameras have video of the boy being punched, but that video has not yet been released. The boy’s father says he feels his son is being singled out and it’s not how Bethel Park parents and families should be treated. If you have a son or daughter who has gotten into trouble at school, in college, or with the law over something they said or did on social media, call Pittsburgh juvenile crimes attorney Gary Gerson today for a free consultation at 412-219-6875. Source: CBS Pittsburgh, “Teen Suspended Over Snapchat Photo” 27 October 2014

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