Teen mocks principal's looks on Facebook, gets expelled

Technically Incorrect: After being told to remove dye from his own hair, the student finds a picture of his principal with purple hair and posts it. And he's said to have added some choice comments. The school is not amused.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Jordan Ford is on the left. The picture he posted is on the right. Jawmo News/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

What are we to do about those who go onto Facebook and post pictures of themselves with dyed purple hair and fluorescent pink Doc Martens?

Yes, of course I'm talking about school principals. Whom did you think I was talking about?

This particular school principal suffered the indignity of one of her teenage pupils finding the picture on Facebook and reposting it with a critical comment. Subsequent to this, 14-year-old Jordan Ford was expelled from the Bridge Learning Campus in Heartcliffe, western England.

Now why might have Jordan committed such an act? Well, as the Bristol Post reports, he had a mohawk, dyed red. He was ordered to change it, as the dye was against school rules.

On December 11, Jordan turned to Facebook. That's what many 14-year-olds do. It seems that his school principal, Keziah Featherstone, had few privacy controls on her account. It was, therefore, simple to lift the picture and accompany it with a comment about Featherstone not setting a good example herself.

He also allegedly posted nasty comments about the way she looked, including her weight. (The post, the picture and the comments have since been taken down.) When his post came to light, the heavy hand of the school suspended him for five days, before delivering the final expulsion on January 5.

One might imagine that Jordan isn't a model pupil. His father, John Ford, told the Telegraph that his son is merely the "class clown."

However, the school's chief executive, Mark Davies, told the Telegraph that this Jordan's actions were a clear breach of social-media policy. He said: "Jordan and his parents signed a home school agreement in terms of acceptable use of IT, which is very clear. Even if it was in his own time, it invaded a person's private space and he copied pictures from a staff member's personal Facebook profile."

Oh, but anyone could have copied those pictures, couldn't they? Jordan's parents say that many of the comments left on the picture by kids were far worse than the ones left by their son.

I have contacted the school to ask for its comment and will update, should I hear. However, Davies did tell the Telegraph that the teen "refused to take part in any restorative justice."

If only all justice was restorative.

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Featherstone's picture had reportedly been taken before she'd joined the school and it was only her fancy dress party garb.

Still, Jordan's mom, Patricia Hedges, says that several teachers at the school have dyed hair.

This blood-red friction has all, of course, been wrought by Facebook. Not deliberately, but just by how its very existence has crept into people's bones, minds and habits.

In the years BF (Before Facebook), kids could go home, meet with their friends, say all sorts of appalling things about their teachers, their parents and their not-friends in the comfort of their own street corner.

Everyone would laugh and, more often than not, frustrations would be handled at a personal level.

Facebook makes everyone a writer, a photographer and, worst of all, a publisher.

Suddenly, images and opinions are splayed out before the world. And we do know how the world loves to offer its judgment on a second-by-second basis.

It may well be that the school had endured, in its view, enough of Jordan. It may well be that principal Featherstone has a slightly thin skin beneath her occasionally dyed hair. It may well be that Jordan is, in equal parts clownish and unruly. (His mother admitted to the Telegraph that he's "no angel.")

But when everyone's exposed in public, everyone makes a stand. So here we are.

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