Teen suspended for tweet critical of high school sports

The senior class president at a Wichita high school is suspended for suggesting that his school isn't all that at sports. Just that. No cursing. No incitement to violence.

So very mean, no? Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I am writing this with a cold compress on my head and a milk chocolate digestive biscuit in my mouth.

Both are to soothe my furrowed thoughts.

For this is another tale of peculiarity from the antiseptic-smelling hallways of America's high schools.

It has been well-established that strange things happen in the nation's places of youth education.

You can get expelled and arrested for putting toilet cleaner and foil in a water bottle on school premises.

You can also get suspended for tweeting that you don't think your high school has very good sports teams.

Wesley Teague, the senior class president at Wichita's Heights High School, took to Twitter to make a slightly caustic comment about his school's sports teams.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the Heights High School takes its sports very seriously. It refers to them as "Heights U," thereby suggesting they are at university level.

I am sure this doesn't suggest that the players are being paid. Just as it seems that Teague is sure that his school's sports teams are really not so very good.

So he tweeted: "'Heights U' is equivalent to WSU's football team."

A small word of explanation here: WSU is Wichita State University. It hasn't had a football team since 1986.

Please now offer a small laugh.

I only ask for that, because the school didn't titter at this Twitter. Indeed, it suspended 18-year-old Teague for the remainder of his time there.

A school spokeswoman told the Eagle: "There was a negative reaction from many students, including threats of fights in the school. It caused a major disruption to the school day. Other students were also suspended."

It seems that some underclassmen take their "Heights U-ness" very seriously. They are not to be mocked. Where goes mockery, there goes violence, after all.

Teague's mother says she received a letter from the school that cited her son's incitement of "the majority of our Heights athletes."

This seems odd. One of the requirements of being a college athlete (if that's what these high schoolers claim they are) is the ability to put up with far worse that a curse-free, non-violent piece of amusement.

Have you ever listened to either student body at a Duke-North Carolina basketball game or anyone who didn't go to Notre Dame watching a Fighting Irish football game?

It's not as if Teague seems like the world's most awful human being. He was chosen to speak at this Friday's senior breakfast and convocation ceremony. Now he can only speak via Twitter.

He told the Eagle: "I guess I hurt a group of people's feelings ... and I got suspended for the rest of my senior year. People get their feelings hurt every day."

The school appears to be relying on its code of conduct, which is replete with lusciously vague phrases such as the idea of maintaining "acceptable behavior."

Acceptable to whom? To school authorities? Or to those who embrace social sanity as their goal?

The policy tries this definition: "The common standard against which behavior is measured is that which is conducive to learning and a contributor to the general purpose and welfare of the school."

Some might wonder whether learning to take a joke isn't a socially helpful thing to do.

You will be stunned into crocheting your own Wichita State football sweater when I tell you that Twitter has already been adorned with two new hashtags: #FreeWesley and the touchingly ironic #TeamWesley.

For his part, this isn't Teague's only problem. He says his girlfriend has left him. He tweeted: "I want nothing but my girlfriend right now. Forget the attention, the interviews, forget it all. I just want my girl. @ImperfectDazjai."

Sometimes they come back, Wesley, sometimes they don't. I am worried for you, though. @ImperfectDazjai tweeted Wednesday: "Stand up for what you believe in, even if that means standing alone."

Oh, of course Teague knew his tweet might wind some people in an imperfect direction. But was the punishment warranted?

I leave this tale of "Friday Night Lights and Twitter Fights" with one last piece of information: Wesley Teague is a member of Heights High School's track team. Presumably he knows a little of its standard.

Trouble, trouble, trouble. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET
 

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