YOLO tweet draws 4-day suspension

Kyron Birdine, a high school junior in Texas, photographed and tweeted his protest at being forced to take the state’s new STAAR exam, even though his graduation is linked to TAKS standards.

Using an iPad, he tweeted a photo of the word YOLO (“you only live once”) and a smiley face scribbled on the essay portion of the exam, along with this declaration: “I have the TAKS test to study for, not this unneeded craziness.”

He sent it to Arlington ISD and the Texas Education Agency.

“It wasn’t for a grade,” Kyron said. “Colleges don’t see it. It didn’t benefit my personal life at all.”

He received a four-day in-school suspension for violating test security.

The student was right about the test and stupid to tweet his non-answer, writes Coach Brown, who wonders how the kid was able to “click off a picture on his iPad” in the middle of an exam. If Coach Brown saw an iPad come out during the state exam, ”

a pack of Velociraptors would drop from the ceiling and eat the iPad while the Grim Reaper came through the door and threaten the very existence of the student.”

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  1. We have CSTs this week, and our school is being audited (problems in the district, not in our school). I always watch closely, but every teacher is fearful of a kid who is deliberately waiting until our back is turned to cause trouble–not cheat, which is easier to spot, but tweet.

  2. Sharon R. says:

    Some of the teens in my youth group were complaining recently about California’s STAR testing, along the usual lines: “Why should I bother to really answer the questions when this test doesn’t benefit me personally?” Most kids go ahead and do the test properly, but some like to just randomly fill bubbles or make patterns, just to be obnoxious. (This is in a very high-achieving school district.) What I told the kids was: “This test might not benefit you, but it will benefit *my* kids and the other kids who come after you” by showing what was and wasn’t working. I explained about the “whole language” fiasco and about the “kids” I know who are now in their late twenties who headed off to college without being able to write grammatically correct paragraph or read a chapter aloud from a (non-paraphrased) modern Bible translation. Standardized testing is what highlighted the problem, and is how we can tell whether it’s getting better. The solution to “Why should I take this test?” is not to BRIBE the kids into taking it, but to actually EXPLAIN why testing is important for people other than themselves. It shocks me how new a concept this seems to be for teens right now – that something they do might have aggregate rather than individual value.