The Cautionary Tale of @LesliFrye

For all intents, Lesli Frye (@LesliFrye) appears to be a high school senior at Oakwood High School in Illinois. Her internet behavior appears to have gone unchecked by school officials and/or parents as she has made relatively offensive comments throughout the past two weeks (her full Timeline now is locked).

Lesli Frye (@LesliFrye) made a very bad choice in tweets on Monday evening in the wake of the Ferguson Grand Jury decision:
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However intended, in jest or in seriousness, neither excusable, Lesli Frye (@LesliFrye) posted the tweet that now is being seen by many as emblematic of the Ferguson verdict: the divorced reality of minority issues by white counterparts. Her tweet has been attacked by hundreds, likely more by the end of the night and weeks to come. Her school’s Twitter account is slammed. She will undoubtedly face an extreme punishment from her school, as well as personal relationships.

This single tweet is important because it demonstrates the power of social media to highlight causes but also pivot lives in a moment’s notice. How better to see that than to witness in real-time how Lesli, a high school senior, barely at or short of the age to vote, can have their future swung dramatically by a comment so limited that becomes part of a moment so national.

Lesli Frye (@LesliFrye)’s account is locked now but, quite obviously, should never have been opened. No public post is limited to a hundred Followers or a small region. The recent resignation of a Nevada lawmaker and news of a comprehensive Twitter archive both highlight that what’s out there is for everyone once send is hit… And that the Internet will never forget.

PR professionals and parents alike take notice: this can happen in some scope without notice when people of any age or background have instant access to very public forums.

Advise accordingly.

Update: It should be noted that Keven Forney, Interim Superintendent of Schools, has been commendable for providing brief, professional responses to those who alerted him of this tweet by Lesli. I have seen and been told of numerous conversations people have had by phone with him and received a very effective response to my email alerting him to the post above. While the school’s Twitter account has not been updated (as of ~noon EST) to note that they are aware of the situation, his handling of the crisis situation, in my opinion, eclipses efforts made by organizations like the NFL who have been caught off-guard by the actions of a ‘member’ of the collective group.

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24 responses to “The Cautionary Tale of @LesliFrye

  1. What she posted is none of the school’s business. She has the right to believe and write what she wants, and be subjected to no punishment or violence for expressing her opinions. Even foolish people who post racist comments have the right to their views and be unharmed.

    The serious problems facing Black Americans are crappy schools, the racist drug war, and government policies that have destroyed the intact Black family, not silly girls who post racist comments.

    • The schools do have an interest in the public comments of students due to Codes of Conduct, as well as the very public and real assumptions made about the education provided. While you are correct with the serious problems Black Americans face, there is also a need to correct the improper mindsets of ‘silly girls’ who grow up to be members of society with potentially dangerous viewpoints.

      • I am an OHS graduate and have lived outside of the community. I myself have friends of various colors, cultures, sexual orientation and political views, yet, seemingly all at once, I was asked, “Is this how they think in Oakwood?” It’s embarrassing to everyone associated with the community and yes, it’s a mistake made by a teenager, yes it happens all the time, however, neither make it acceptable nor should they place her above punishment because she’s a young girl. I feel Mr.Forney will handle the situation accordingly. I want to also add because of this young girls actions, ALL schools and or daycare in the Oakwood school district were placed on lockdown today. To say her comments had no effect on the community is absurd.

    • Humanity is so stupid. Being so hurtful between each other. Creating pain where there could be love. Is not the dead of a black or a white, is the murder of a human being that should make us feel terrified.

    • You may not think that this has anything to do with the school, but she brought potential harm to the students. She caused the school, the teachers, and the students to be threatened on multiple accounts. There is a rule that says that she can be expelled for endangering the school.

  2. It was a mistake made by a teenager. Anyone who has teenagers on Twitter should know that much of what they say can be inappropriate and in some cases very offensive. Don’t get me started on the sexual innuendos all over the place by teenage boys. It was a mistake and she should be forgiven and allowed to move on.

    • Thanks for your comment. I think you touch on a very clear reality: due to this comment, this young woman will indefinitely face individual opinions of what her “punishment” should be on a case by case basis, whether jobs, colleges, relationships and more. That’s why this stands as a very important example for parents, pr pros and social media users alike.

    • I saw her timeline before she locked her account. The problem here lies in the fact that she not only tweeted something so horribly offensive to millions of people, but she showed no remorse and was even laughing at the outrage that was directed at her. Telling people pointing out that this land is not originally a land of white people that “nobody is making you live here” and lamenting that the only thing she did wrong was to make a typo in a tweet that got so popular. She only locked her account after people started passing around her school’s contact details. It’s not just a simple “mistake”, she reveled in it right up until she finally realised that people were going to actually be able to touch her life because of it.

  3. Her comment was so mild compared to what I’ve seen all over the internet. Her comment isn’t NEARLY as vile or threatening as what’s on her twitter or instagram profile right now from people who were supposedly offended by her. Way to go to this and other blogs for throwing a young girl under the bus.

    • I’ll have to disagree with you there Debbi on her comments being mild. While other individuals have made extremely offensive rebuttals, I believe using her mistake as a learning lesson is an effective use of her misguided effort to do good in the world.

    • She said “we should have never bought you”. As if the protestors across the country are just some uppity Black slaves who should sit down, shut up, and be thankful she and her ilk brought them across the ocean in chains. How could that ever be considered mild?

  4. If she’s a senior in high school, she could be 18 which makes her a legal adult. While I’m sure the school has a code of conduct, the post was made after 9pm. And if schools had a code of conduct that would limit what kids could post on their social media…. I feel like a lot of the online bullying, drunken and half nude pictures, sexual comments etcetera, etcetera, etcetera we do see on a regular basis, would be addressed by the school. Do you know how large of a project that would be? To monitor and determine if every child in the school district is adhering to a schools code of conduct on social media would be a nightmare and practically impossible. And who would determine what was offensive? I’m sure I could go to a high school kids page and be offended by every single post on it.
    I don’t agree with the girl’s tweet….but it’s her opinion.

  5. I am in no way defending the reprehensible statements made by this young girl…but she is just that…young…probably still a minor. Did her name need to published? But that is one the inherent flaws of the internet..
    no ethical standards.

    • I’ll have to disagree with you Jessica as the extremely public nature of the post, as well as her use of her name as her Twitter handle, makes it impossible to shield.

      • Even a quick search on Facebook- there’s her full name and Oakwood High School. I can’t comment on the school’s need/responsibility to comment or edit its pupil’s social media, but clearly she doesn’t understand exactly how accessible she is on the internet. As much as this kid clearly thinks she does, she does NOT exist only in the social media bubble of her friend group. Also notable are her “favorite musicians” on Facebook (Lil Wayne, Drake, Wiz Khalifa, et al).

  6. They could expel her if her tweet causes a threat to the school. The Board of Education can even keep her from walking at graduation if they deem it unsafe for her and the other children. This isn’t just a plain statement of opinion, her tweet was provoking, and I bet she had an idea that she’d get a response. I fear for all that is involved and places she frequents.

  7. This girl was obviously raised to be a hypocrite! So she listens to “black artists, and dates young black men” to be cool? Wanting to date someone with a different skin color to make you appear edgy or hip, not only makes you an idiot, it makes you a racist.

  8. you are not “entitled ” to your opinion.. most of you just open your mouths and let your stupidity shine through. an opinion is some thing based on facts . not just because. and I have to say, that a good number of you wouldn’t know a fact if it came up and punched you in the eye. same with freedom of speech. you DO NOT have the right to slander, offer up false witness ,speak negatively in a hurtful way or speak your uneducated ” opinion”… but I see this ALL of the time.

  9. Freedom of speech is something people font usually understand. You can say what you want but know there might be consequences. Black white or blue know that you can be fired from a job or kicked out of school for things you post on social media. This girl needs counseling and to be disciplined before she gets out in the real world where she won’t be protected by her parents. Its dangerous to post things like that, just as quick they found out where she how’s to school. Some crazy fool could find out where she lives. I know somebody that happened to and they to this day has no Facebook.

  10. I think she should have just kept her thoughts to herself honestly. Maybe if she realized how bad this would have turned out she would not have done it.

  11. Who cares what she said. Stop running away with a moment in time and leave the girl alone. Make examples of yourselves and not others.
    OK you super cool humans that can do NO wrong. BS.

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