Students’ Racist Tweets About Boston Hockey Game Put Schools in a Bind

James Eng, MSNBC, May 3, 2012

Should schools punish students who tweeted racist remarks after a black pro hockey player scored the winning goal to knock the Boston Bruins out of the NHL playoffs?

Administrators at high schools and colleges in New England are wrestling with that question, straddling a fine line between free speech and socially incorrect remarks that shame the school.

Hordes of angry hockey fans—presumably Boston Bruins fans—unleashed a barrage of racist rants on Twitter and other social-networking sites after the Washington Capitals beat the defending champion Bruins a week ago Wednesday on an overtime goal by Joel Ward, the Capitals’ 31-year-old left wing. Ward is one of just a handful of black players in the NHL.

According to local media reports, several students at high schools in Gloucester and Danvers in Massachusetts, the Cumberland, R.I., School District, and Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire were among the tweeters.


Gloucester School District Superintendent Richard Safier, in a statement issued to the local newspaper two days after the game, said the district is “conducting a full investigation and will consider whether disciplinary action is warranted, and whether the schools have jurisdiction.

“Second, we will implement a strong educational component that looks at the social, moral, and legal aspects of such remarks,” he added.


At Franklin Pierce University, a private college in Rindge, N.H., administrators said they were investigating “vile racial slurs” tweeted by a freshman after the Bruins’ loss.

“This first-year student, who is not a part of any Franklin Pierce University athletic team, will be addressed appropriately and in accordance with our Student Conduct Code,” the university said in a statement.

The student apologized in a follow-up tweet, saying: “I was in a state that had me frustrated. I am not racist and never will be. Sorry.”


In Danvers, Mass., a 17-year-old who reportedly used the N-word in a tweet referring to Ward was fired by the sandwich shop where he works, according to the Danvers Herald.

The teen is a student at St. John’s Prep, a private, Catholic high school for boys. “As a school community, St. John’s Prep stands against racism in any form, and we are deeply disturbed by the remarks posted online following the Bruins game on Wednesday, April 25. In keeping with school disciplinary policies, we are investigating the matter at this time,” the school said. A school spokeswoman declined further comment on any potential action the school might take.

In Cumberland, R.I., school Superintendent Phil Thornton said a junior hockey player posted a racist tweet under his own name, followed by the name of his high school.

“The comments . . . are deeply disturbing and not part of what we teach,” Thornton said, according to the Boston Herald. “We have been in contact with the family and are taking all steps to address this very serious issue.”


A 1969 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Tinker vs. Des Moines, found that public schools could only punish students’ speech if they could show that the activities “would materially and substantially” disrupt the school’s educational mission.


Should schools be allowed to discipline students for offensive tweets posted away from school?

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  • Joel Ward got his feelings hurt because of tweets?

    Actually, he doesn’t seem to mind as much as a bunch of white liberals.

    White liberals who should have a talk with Peyton Hillis.

    • SintiriNikos

      What happened with Hillis?

      •  His own black offensive linemen basically told him in no uncertain terms that they were going to roll over and let black linebackers from the other team break his legs, because they think the RB position is reserved for blacks.

        • SintiriNikos

          Thanks for that. Sorry for the laziness not to look it up myself, I had no idea where to start frankly.

          Unbelievable! Just for that I’m getting a Hillis jersey if only to stick it to these vile racists, and to support the guy for putting up with this bullshit from douchebags who should be grateful to whites for creating this sport that is their lucrative livelihood.

          I supposed these are the same guys who presume the QB position and coaching jobs were denied to blacks all these years by racist whites. Or maybe not; their racism might be one free of feelings of payback, however absurd that payback motive would be.

  • Natassia

    Holy crap. It’s like we’re at Hogwarts, except He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named isn’t “Voldemort.”

  • Church_of_Jed

    Racists up North! The horror, the horror! 

    Aren’t we supposed to blame the South for racism? Yep, the hockey fans learned their racism from the gun toting Bible thumping rednecks who don’t want their White daughters to sit next to vibrant and enriching Treyvonic Sons of Obama in school.  But for the South, all Yankees would embrace Diversity and Inclusion.

    • Texan1st

      Lay off the North/South rhetoric. We need unity amongst our ranks. What we DON’T need is rehashing 150 year old wounds. Had there not been a demand in the South for slave labor they would’ve never been brought here in the first place. And had they not been brought here and bought here, unleashing them on society would have never occurred. So the South has no high horse to sit on. Like I said, we need unity. Rehashing a 150 year old war that neither they nor we had anything to do with is not the way to get there.

      • Church_of_Jed

        You mean every time a black kills another great great great grandaughter of a Yankee general, or ruins another Yankee town, we aren’t supposed to praise Thaddeus Stevens?

        The Yankees like to feel morally superior for saving the Union and freeing a race, but what did the get out of it? Detroit, Flint, Camden, Harrisonburg, Baltimore, South Chicago…

        They secretly beg the South to please take back all our Freedmen. The North may have won the war, but they lost their future to the Diversity Curse.

  • Uh-oh…I see mandated diversity tolerance “training” in someone’s future…..

  • how do the schools know about these tweets in the first place unless someone is keeping an eye on them? someone is an informer.

    anyway, never forget the boxer max schmeling. took that african down for the reich in 1936. also the world cup 2010 – the first ever hosted by an african country. south africa became the first host team in history not to make it to the round of 16. only ghana made it that far and again the final four were european teams. blacks are unworthy of competing against whites in any arena.

  • sbuffalonative

    Once again, we see that the principle of ‘free speech’ is a myth.

    There is no right to free speech as most people believe. As long as Congress doesn’t pass a law ‘abridging’ the right of free speech, the First Amendment stands. It doesn’t, however, protect anyone saying what they want without punishment. You can be punished for free speech so watch what you say.

  • Eagle_Eyed

     The mod is right.  I sign in to my AmRen account using twitter, but don’t use my real name in my twitter handle, no need.

  • SintiriNikos

    Mean thing to say, but free speech is free speech. Joel Ward seems like good guy and I bet he’d say the kids made a mistake, and they shouldn’t be punished for this. They’re devastated their team lost.

  • Sherman_McCoy

    ‘The student apologized in a follow-up tweet, saying: “I was in a state that had me frustrated. I am not racist and never will be. Sorry.”’

    Of course you are!  Embrace your inner racist!  Join your true brothers and sisters in the glorious struggle to stop the White Genocide!And NEVER, EVER apologize.

  • Heinrich24

    “…socially incorrect remarks…”

    “Socially incorrect???” What’s this, the latest twist on “poltically incorrect?” Moreover, socially “incorrect” according to whom? Who says what is “correct” or not, socially speaking?

    My God,  we are sliding deeper and deeper into the Orwellian morass by the day!! 

  • V

    This story is so grotesque it defies any attempt to put into words. God, I swear this country is just like that movie ‘Idiocracy’. Seriously, this country is so retarded it is a miracle that Americans can even get out of bed in the morning and put their pants on. This has got to be the most goddamn stupid country EVER to have lived. It’s pathetic on every level. These superintendents all rushing to ‘investigate’ these thought-crimes and people getting fired from their jobs, PR people being ‘deeply disturbed.’ Really? Deeply disturbed by stupid fan comments? That makes you deeply disturbed? With the exception of AmRen readers and other WN forum members, this country is the biggest nation of sissies, cry-babies, dolts and weaklings the world has ever produced. This country is WEAK. The mainstream people, all the people who watch these crappy TV shows and listen to cRAP music are weak-minded, weak-willed lops (lack of potential) There is no hope for this country. Absolutely none at all. My only hope for this country is that a huge earthquake will rend us in two, plunge us into the depths of the sea and a thousand meteors will pummel the remains into sand. That is my most fervent prayer. It would all be good for the greater good of the world before America infects Europe and Asia with its retardedness.

  • Yankee, I remember when Boston was going though busing in the early 1970’s. Swimmer Ted Kennedy tried to speak to (Caucasian) parents of schoolchildren, to get them to accept the tenets of busing. The parents had formed an ad-hoc group called ROAR (Return Our Alienated Rights), and shouted Swimmer Ted down. 

    One man actually got up and yelled to him, “Why don’t you send your oner-legged kid on a bus to Roxbury?”

    Kennedy was shocked at how his constituents took the order for busing.

  • Yankee, the South has more liberal and pragmatic gun laws, than the North, and California. There’s a reason for that.

  • The reckoning

    It occurred to me reading this particular story, that we are living the 2nd great witch hunt era in history.

  • Steve33

    May have been a little harsh when i said blacks don’t belong in Hockey. I shouldn’t have said it. It’s a free country. If the guys good enough to be on the team he should be able to play.

  •  This reminds me of Y**Tube the other day. Apparently I put up a “hateful” comment so this is the message I received when I logged into my account.

    “Text comments you posted to YouTube have been identified as containing hate speech, and have been deleted from the site. We encourage free speech and defend everyone’s right to express their points of view even if unpopular. But YouTube does not permit hate speech. “Hate speech” means content that promotes hatred or violence against members of a protected group (race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity). Sometimes there is a fine line between what is and what is not considered hate speech. If you’re not sure whether or not your content crosses the line, don’t post it…”

    I was amazed at this perticular part of it “We encourage free speech and defend everyone’s right to express their
    points of view even if unpopular. But YouTube does not permit hate
    speech.” How can someone type that and not feel like a complete hypocrite? But then I remembered who and what we’re dealing with here. The rules don’t apply to evil hate mongers.
    It’s been nice knowing you America!