The Lower Merion School District wants to punish some high school students who appear to be drinking and doing drugs in a YouTube video. How far should school officials go?
The Feed ran a report yesterday about Lower Merion School District officials preparing to discipline high school students seen using drugs and alcohol in a video on YouTube that’s part of a documentary project called “I’m Shmacked.”
For infrequent readers of the Urban Dictionary, to be “shmacked” means to be so drunk or so high that you are unable to function.
It’s not clear how Lower Merion high school students got involved in the clips, but officials seem eager to crack the yard stick. A letter the district sent to Lower Merion and Harriton high schools parents reads, in part: “Where we have the authority and power to act and respond, we will.”
Producers say “I’m Shmacked” is meant to be a film and book project looking at weekends spent partying at 20 of the best and biggest universities around the country. Lower Merion School District officials, apparently, are not in a partying mood.
What authority should school officials have to punish students for misbehavior committed far from school grounds?
On the one hand, if the students were committing illegal acts, they should clearly be punished — by their parents, by law enforcement. But if they were not saying, doing or wearing anything to identify themselves as Lower Merion students, is there anything for school administrators to do? And what responsibilities should be borne by the producers of the videos?