Teen suspended for YOLO tweet mocking high school test

A Texas high schooler is made to take a test that he believes is "unneeded." So he tweets his disapproval followed by YOLO. The school is not happy.

Kyron Birdine with smiley face. KENS Channel 5 Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Schools aren't always the best listeners.

Sometimes they make kids do things that the kids don't want to do. And when the kids complain, the school just gets annoyed.

This might be the picture in the case of Kyron Birdine, a junior at Arlington High School in Texas.

"It didn't benefit my personal life at all," Birdine explained to San Antonio's KENS Channel 5.

No, he wasn't talking about school. He was just talking about one little test that his school forced him to take.

You see, he was graduating under a testing standard called TAKS. But the school made him take a test under some newfangled standard called STAAR.

I am not aware if Birdine will, one day, be a star, but he clearly found this test taxing. So, to express his displeasure, he went to the essay part of the test and wrote: "I have the TAKS test to study for, not this unneeded craziness."

To this he added something that perhaps tipped the school's temper over the edge. Yes, he wrote "YOLO" and added a smiley face.

But, wait. Perhaps what really sent the school into a conniption was that he then took a photo of his paper and tweeted it via his iPad.

Of course he aimed a little @ symbol at the Arlington Independent School District and the Texas Education Agency. Wouldn't you?

Did the school reward him for expressing his freedom of speech? No, it dragged him out of the class and suspended him for four days.

Birdine told Channel 5: "Basically said something about it being a 'breach of security' and that with the breach of security they have to have some sort of punishment."

The school district's official words were: "Today there was an incident with a student tweeting a picture of an answer booklet for a STAAR field test. We have made an initial report of the incident to TEA and will continue to investigate further. The student has been punished in accordance with district disciplinary procedures."

Those procedures seem to have included forcing Birdine to delete his tweet.

Naturally, the citizens of Twitter are divided on this matter. Some declare Birdine to be deserving of punishment. Others praise him for speaking "truth to power."

And of course there's already a #FreeKyron hashtag.

Some, though, might be reminded of a university entrance exam some years ago in the U.K. One of the essay questions was "Define courage." One student wrote: "This is," and walked out.

 

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