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Teen suspended for taking picture of school's dirty water

A Michigan teen is told she's sanctioned for inappropriate use of an electronic device. She posted a picture of bathroom water that was urine-colored to Twitter.

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


The picture that got a teen suspended.

WXYZ-TV screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Kids armed with phones can give schools conniptions.

Some schools believe in an element of confiscation. Others apparently offer arbitrary sanctions if what the kids do with their phones happens to displease them.

Michigan teen Hazel Juco was in the bathroom at John Glenn High School in Westland, Michigan.

As WXYZ-TV reports, she noticed yellowy water coming out of the faucet.

This didn't seem right to her. So she took a picture with her phone, aired the issue in her newspaper class and then posted the image to Twitter and other social media.

Was she commended for her public-spiritedness? Not quite.

She was suspended for three days. The reason she says she was given? "Inappropriate use of electronics in the restroom," she told WXYZ.

"Every girl takes selfies in the bathroom and makes it their profile pictures. No one has gotten in trouble," she explained.

This I find remarkably believable. But this wasn't a selfie. It was a waterie. Could it be that the school had a specific rule against dirty pictures?

In any case, why was the school offended by the picture? Did it feel exposed?

Juco claimed she posted it because she believes the school doesn't have the money to fix these things and she hoped someone might help.

Her friends did decide to help. When they heard of her suspension, they too began to post their own bathroom pictures.

Wayne-Westand Community Schools didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The schools' superintendent Michele Harmala did, however, tell WXYZ that Juco hadn't been treated fairly. Mistakes had been made. The problem with the water, which turned out to be a corroding pipe, should have been reported by the adults.

"The punishment is inappropriate. I am going to make sure the out of school suspension is expunged from the student's record," Harmala told WXYZ.

But how has Juco been treated at school since the incident.

"Nobody has apologized to me, but nobody has retaliated either," she told me.

At least the schools reached a relatively enlightened decision.

I wonder if any of the administrators got detention.

Updated 6.27 pm: Adds comment from Juco.