Student suspended after tweeting suggested school budget cuts

Patrick Brown

Patrick Brown
Photo Credit: Syracuse Post-Standard

A senior at an upstate New York high school was suspended for inciting “a social media riot” when he had his classmates tweet their suggestions for what budget cuts his school could make in order to get the school’s failed budget passed.

Patrick Brown told the Syracuse Post-Standard that he created the Twitter hashtag, #sh*tCNSshoudcut, as a joke because students were discussing the failed budget and were also speculating about what activities or sports might be cut the following year.

The students tweeted their suggestions throughout the day and Brown expressed his opinion that the district cut the school principal’s job.

The school wasn’t amused with Brown’s opinion, and he was hauled into the office.

The Post-Standard reported:

I was called down to the office and told I was being suspended for harassment of teachers, which no harassment was ever committed,” Brown said. “I proved them wrong and instead they suspended me for cellphone use in class and disrupting the education process because the trend I started created a social media riot.”

Brown said he did use his cell phone during class, which violates the student code of conduct, but he said his teacher never acknowledged his cell phone use.

“It makes me uncomfortable that I can get in trouble for expressing my opinion,” Brown said. “I can understand if you tweet something that is threatening about the school or threatening about a teacher but that’s not what I did

“The worst part is that I disappointed my parents by being suspended,” he said.

The new Twitter hashtag, #FreePatBrown, took off when students learned of Brown’s suspension. People from all over the country joined in, discussing his First Amendment right and this particular school’s failure to honor it.

More from the Syracuse Post-Standard.


Janeen Capizola

"And though she be but little, she is fierce." And fun! This conservative-minded political junkie, mom of three, dancer and one-time NFL cheerleader holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science. [email protected] Twitter: @JaneenBPR


  • Rena Watters

    SERIOUSLY!!! Patrick Brown probably had some good ideas and while he was using his cell phone during class, who, other than the school officials with eggs on their faces, cares? There is something really wrong when a high school senior gets bullied by the very people who are supposed to be teaching our children to think for themselves and stand up for themselves and to stand up for what is right? I really hope Patrick's parents are proud that their son has the gumption to stand up for what he thinks, feels and believes. Good luck to Patrick and God Bless

  • torepedo

    you are not allowed to think for yourself, you broke with the indoctrination process. look out they will be arresting you in the middle of the night the thought police

  • juanita

    Good for this obviously intelligent young man! He should wear his expulsion as a badge of honor. He should think about becoming a reporter as he is a champion of free speech, his first amendment right! Onward, Patrick Brown!

    (from a retired hs teacher)

  • juanita

    *suspension, not expulsion, I meant.

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  • Heather

    I would so not be disappointed in my son for trying to come up with a solution to a problem! Freedom of Speech people!! And the schools are starting to take the Internet media too serious! Now if its a threat or bullying that's totally different.

    • Susan

      They take it serious because they are afraid they will lose their jobs, and should if they continue to search lunches, take away kids personal belongs, unless truly a danger. The teachers need to teach and not harass the students for having a brain and using it in a productive manner.

  • ruth

    This is getting very scarry

  • Susan

    The teachers of today are so afraid of actually having to teach instead of searching lunches, taking away toys from kids and sexually abusing their students, and being PC that they will get rid of any student with a viable and productive thought or idea. Instead of doing any of the above, they should focus on teaching Spelling, Math , Science, etc. They demand raises in salary often, they get many benefits, and they are one of the most powerful lobbies in the government. They need to get real and start teaching and updating their knowledge to keep up with the ever new technology and stop harassing the students and their parents and start doing what they are paid to do.

  • Susan

    I'm with you Rena.

  • Susan

    He should run for a political office. He would put the idiots in DC to shame..

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