SALEM, Ore. — At least some, and possibly all of the 20 Oregon high school students who were suspended for apparently retweeting an anonymous post about a teacher could have the suspensions expunged from their records.
Jay Remy, spokesman for the Salem-Keizer School District, confirmed Tuesday that officials at McKay High School are sitting down individually with each of the students and their parents to discuss the possibility of getting the suspensions wiped from their records.
"It's possible that all 20 of them could have it expunged," he said. "We can't talk about a specific student's record. It's not one big announcement or one fell swoop, but they'll contact and talk to each of the parents and work through it with each individual kid.
"The eventual outcome is very likely it would be all 20 of them," he added.
At least 20 students at the school were suspended earlier this month after apparently retweeting or hitting favorite on a tweet from an anonymous "confessions" type of Twitter account.
The tweet in question read: "Ms. (name redacted) always flirts with her students."
In the wake of the suspensions, the Oregon branch of the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter electronically Friday to the school and to the Salem-Keizer School District urging them to remove the suspensions from the affected students' records.
The ACLU called the discipline unlawful and "a clear violation of both the United States and Oregon Constitutions."
Officials with the school said the suspensions would not follow students beyond high school, nor would it appear on their transcripts. But parents and students alike expressed concern the suspensions would be a "blemish" on students' records when they applied for college or scholarships.
Remy said the school's conversations with students and parents had already begun when officials received the ACLU's letter.
"I do know last week when the story broke, we already had a few parents we were working with," he said. "I think the meetings really began last week and we're still working through the process. They're ongoing."
In a response Wednesday, the ACLU said, "We are hopeful that the district's response to our letter will make it possible to resolve our primary concern for all of the students involved; expungement of the two-day suspension," said legal director Kevin Diaz in an e-mail. "We also hope that other Districts — as well as Salem-Keizer — will treat any similar incident in the future as an opportunity to educate students about the impact of their expression rather than to impose suspensions or other sanctions."
The meetings are to provide an opportunity for school officials, parents and students to discuss the implications of tweeting and spreading possible rumors.
"It's just to make sure we're all on the same page," Remy said. "That it does matter what we say about each other in the school environment and we do need to be respectful and supportive of each other. The whole point of education is to maintain a positive learning environment and minimize disruption.
"Suspension is not necessary to do this," he said. "We just need to talk it through with everyone, that it does still matter what we say and what we do. We're trying to turn a negative into a positive and move forward."
Remy said he didn't know whether there would be any further actions taken against the specific Twitter account that started the incident and that the issue hadn't come up yet.
McKay High School principal Sara LeRoy declined to comment Tuesday on the nature of the meetings.
"Obviously this is a continuing discussion we need to have and continue to learn," she said.