Saturday, January 21, 2012

Twittering away your future.....another story worth checking out.

Don Bosco Prep School in Ramsey New Jersey is a private catholic school that takes this like morals, sexuality and image very seriously. They made that VERY clear to the country and the rest of the world when they chose to expel highly ranked recruit, Yuri Wright. 

All of this wouldn't even be news if he was the 3rd string quarterback on his high school football team that is winless. The thing is, he's the star cornerback on one of the top schools in the country, Don Bosco is what you would call a football POWERHOUSE in high school football. This isn't your local high school in New Hampshire, they consistently churn out impact, highly ranked college recruits, year after year. 

The landscape of has changed drastically for high schoolers that want to go on and play at the next level. AAU for basketball and the off-season leagues for sports make it much easier to get exposure and get your name out and get your foot in the door by way of scouts and recruiters. However, this is a 2 way street. That same exposure is exactly what can hurt your prospects like it did here. 

Yuri Wright had a Twitter account just like hundreds of thousands of other high schoolers in the world, he tweeted just like hundreds of thousands of other kids, he tweeted some sexually explicit tweets just like thousands of other people, but there certainly are not hundreds of thousands of high school football players that can measure up to his talent on the field. The school chose to expel Wright and take a hard line on these types of inappropriate posts(their opinion). I have not seen the actual tweets myself and the "offending" twitter account has been taken down, so I don't have enough information to form an opinion of my own. It has been said to several media outlets, through head football coach Greg Toal, that  it was "totally inappropriate, and sexually graphic".

MY take on the situation is that in this grey area, schools should err on the side of caution when trying to control students outside of school hours. I realize that the students are what form the image of the school and at a catholic, and specifically at a private school where i'm sure the price tag per year is in the 5 figure range. They have to do what's best for the school as a whole, looking at the long-term prospects of future parents and students. However, as I said I didn't see the actual tweets so I can't say what I think the severity of them is, or what I think the severity of the punishment should be, if any at all. In my opinion though, unless it is extremely graphic or derogatory, the school board should look at other ways to handle the situation. There are many many steps you could take between expelling a kid, suspension from school, suspension from team, mandatory sensitivity classes, counseling possibly or requiring him to close the account in order to play possibly. 

I know the article says they have spoke to him several times about his twittering and online activities but it does not say whether he was punished prior. Maybe they should have taken a more hard line stance earlier and he may have taken the situation more seriously? 

What do you think about the situation? Is the school right or wrong to expel him? Should school have taken action, but not expelled? or Should the school have no authority over his outside activities whatsoever and this is completely wrong? Look forward to your comments!