School Disciplines Student Over MySpace Profanity

Burleson teenager fights suspension from drill team

A Burleson High School junior was suspended from the drill team because of her MySpace page, administrators said Monday.

Lindsey Wessel, 16, was told she could not perform at the school’s first football game as a member of the "Strutters" drill team.

"I think it's really stupid," Wessel said. "It's my private life."

Wessel said administrators first told her she was disciplined because of provocative photos she had posted of herself in a bathing suit, but that they later claimed it was because of offensive language.

She said a friend had written a single bad word in a posting on her page.

"Pretty much everybody has a MySpace or a Facebook," she said.

Her MySpace account is private, she said, and only accessible by about 400 friends she has approved.

"If you're not my friend, you can't see it," she said.

Wessel said she deleted the posting and the photos after she was informed of her suspension last week.

Her mother, Alicia Smock, said she did not find anything offensive and objects to administrators policing a personal Web page.

"I really don't think a private MySpace should have consequences for my daughter,” she said.

"I believe in the right to privacy, the right to free speech, and I believe that everyone has the right to have a private life that others cannot intrude upon," Smock said.

Richard Crummel, a Burleson Independent School District spokesman, said Wessel was suspended because of “totally inappropriate” language on the MySpace page.

He declined to elaborate on what was inappropriate, but insisted the photos had nothing to do with it.

“That’s way off base,” Crummel said.

Administrators are scheduled to review their decision at a hearing on Tuesday.

Wessel and her parents said they planned to attend.

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