I just want to echo the sentiments of @hophmi above:
As a former student of the district, I would have to agree that Ms. Koval was likely called down to the administrator’s office because of this string of tweets: http://imgur.com/csCRqeN (screenshot taken from The Gothamist article on this same controversy.)
Having witnessed HIB (Harassment, Intimidation, Bullying) policy being placed into effect in NJ post-Tyler Clementi, I can provide some insight as to how this process generally operates:
One of Koval’s classmates (who disagreed with her views) was likely already upset with the content of her posts on twitter. Upon seeing the tweets linked above, the classmate knew that it was within her right to report that she felt intimidated to a school authority / counselor.
At this point, the school is *obligated* to speak to both students assess the situation, document it and (if necessary) apply measures or warning in an attempt to discourage further conflict. If I recall correctly, even a teacher who simply overhears conversation about a conflict is responsible to report it to the administration.
As Koval even mentions in her tweets, this is ‘not a very conservative school district’; in fact, plenty of young activists have graduated from Fair Lawn High School. That being said, there are strict systems in place intended to minimize incidents in the formative and often turbulent years of young people. (Whether or not those systems are effective or the right solution is a different discussion.)
The principle at work here is that if a student speaks up that they are feeling negative because of another students words or actions, the process reduces institutional liability by documenting an attempt to keep the peace and prevent further incidence between both parties that could potentially lead to a more serious situation.
*For reference: My 10-year-old cousin in the same district was HIB reported for her group of friends not allowing a girl to sit with them at a lunch table. Seriously.*
Bethany is fully entitled to the views that she has, and I fully stand behind her right to speak up and share them. However, I think it’s important to remember that she and her peers are teenagers, still growing, learning together and butting heads like every generation before them.
It’s easy to sensationalize this as another example of institutional oppression toward a pro-Palestine-activist.
Perhaps a more simple truth is that Bethany, like many her age, was being a little inflammatory toward another student online, was pinched by what’s essentially a code of conduct, and is now – with the power of the internet – rallying the immense passion behind a very serious issue to escalate her situation.
Bethany seems to me like a sharp, strongly opinionated, young lady – well versed in policy and current events. I would wager that she is well aware of HIB policy in the district, how casually it can be invoked, and how rarely it ever results in an expulsion. Given that, her attributing the accusations against her to the school administration’s “pro-israel, pro-censorship agenda” is entirely hyperbole that serves her victimization.
(In my time at school, “HIB!” was ubiquitously half-jokingly used by students as a euphemism for tattling on someone messing with you. In many classic teenage situations, it’s basically a red tape time-out that you want to avoid by simply being nice.)
Finally, speaking as an Israeli Jew who shares some of her views, I don’t think that “…FUCK ISRAEL FUCK ISRAEL FUCK ISRAEL…” is the kind of thoughtful free expression that is benefitting anyone, and definitely not deserving of a mob to get her out of an HIB.
I hope for her sake this blows over soon and she can resume her time at school peacefully.