As a 16-year-old, a sophomore student at Lebanon High School in Tennessee was understandably blown away when a video she posted to YouTube quickly surpassed 150,000 views.
Emily Gipson recorded a free flowing, anti-bullying rant in one of the classrooms of her school after hours, then publishing it online.
Before recording the video, she recieved permission from two employees at the school, who are both coaches.
“I did record it after school hours,” Gipson said. “I did have permission by the teacher. It was a coach and another coach, and I approached them."
She was just trying to get her message out, and really didn't think much would come out of it, and she really didn't expect to get in trouble because of it.
“I got a lot of positive feedback from students, but I was called out of class by my principal and vice principal. They sat me down and had a really long talk with me about it. They sent me back to class, but they pulled me out of class again fifth block, and that was when they told me about my punishment,” she said.
Gipson was brought back into the office and handed a two-day in-school suspension, which doesn't make much sense to the public.
“I was also told that if I posted more videos or took more action, I would receive out-of-school suspension,” she said. "They gave me in-school suspension because they said I was trying to incite violence while on the school campus. I didn’t have any intentions to incite any kind of violence. Everyone sees my message their own way, and if that’s how they see it, then so be it.”
Scott Walters, the principal of Lebanon High School, refused to comment on Gipson's punishment, or why it was levied, citing her right to privacy as a student. But he did speak about the video itself.
“In talking with Emily, because I met with her a couple of times, we talked about what she was trying to accomplish and what was accomplished with the video,” Walters said.
“Of course, she does have her right to free speech. What I did have a problem with was that it was videoed on school campus in a classroom without the teacher’s permission. It would have been better if she had done it at home and away from school.”
Do you think she should have been punished for her video?