I Need Your Help. No. He Does!

Ariel Expelled From High School for Blogging

Ariel Constantinof.His name is Ariel. Ariel Constantinof. He is 16 and he is a blogger. He lives in Romania and learns at the Lauder Reut Educational Complex. It would be more appropriate to say: he used to learn at this school (high school), before being expelled for… blogging.

I learnt about this distressing reprimand during my usual weekend browsing. Alina ends her note with a bitter comment:

Yes, people, at times Romania sucks big time!

Well, it’s not Romania that sucks. It’s the Lauder Reut School, “Where you and your child will feel fulfilled.” I bet Ariel doesn’t feel fulfilled. Lauder Reut failed.

Distressed, I clicked on the link provided by Alina to see: is this teenager an uneducated brat who deserved his punishment? To my surprise, I read the words of a smart, erudite young man, who uses rhetoric in the most surprising manner to disapprove of some disturbing comings and goings. Then he blogs about his family, about religion and school, he describes funny situations: a colleague sleeps during class, another gives a witty answer to a not so witty question asked by a teacher. Teenage fun. No harm in his words. In short: there was nothing to justify the actions of the teachers.

Now… let me tell you something interesting about this school. The school is sponsored by the Ronald S. Lauder foundation. When you click on this link you’ll land on a site where a suave voice says:

We are building Jewish identity, we are rebuilding a world. Some call that a miracle. We call it the future.

Perfect. The Lauder Reut Educational Complex just managed to repress Ariel’s identity and to destroy his future.

Could it be because Ariel is not a Jew? I doubt that. I believe that the intellectual limitation of a Tova Ben Nun is the cause of the harm. She expels one of the students of the college for blogging, thus impaling his right of free speech. This person violates the Romanian constitution and Ariel’s rights:

Freedom of expression of thoughts, opinions, or beliefs, and freedom of any creation, by words, in writing, in pictures, by sounds or other means of communication in public are inviolable. Any censorship shall be prohibited. – (Chapter 2, Article 30:1-2)

Tova Ben Nun impales Ariel’s international rights as well:

Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. (The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19)

It is still unclear why Tova Ben Nun, the president of the board of directors, decided to expel this young man. Because no matter what presumed offense he brought against the school, permanent expelling is an extreme penalty.

Now Ariel is puzzled, scared for his future, yet strong enough not to apologize for something he didn’t do.

So I have a question for you: are we going to let some intellectually impotent characters destroy the future of a child?

Should he go through life with a hand clamped over his mouth? Do we allow them to yank him to his feet?

So they expelled Ariel because he was telling funny innocent stories about the teachers (never using names though) and his colleagues.

Let’s make some noise, shall we. Let’s see: can they expel us? What do you think about this event?

I know: Maria and Yvonne awarded me the thinking blogger award. Thank you girls! I’m honored and proud.Thinking Blogger Award.

Now I have two such awards and I have to give them to 10 bloggers (5 for each) who make me think. I’ll twist a bit this meme and I’ll ask for help: you are my thinkers and you challenge me. You have some answers or might have some answers. Some of you were teachers, and some of you are teachers now. What do you think about Lauder Reut? Is it fair to deny the right to education to a student just because, in his free time, he is blogging? So, here they go… my “thinking blogger” awards:

  1. The always fresh, wonderful, caring and exceptional Liz Strauss – for being Liz.
  2. Ilker Yoldas – the initiator of the thinking blogger award – it’s back to you, Ilker. You set some rules to it but you didn’t say we couldn’t award you. As it’s my right to give it to the bloggers who make me think… you shouldn’t be surprised. So here is how you go back into the meme circle.
  3. Alina – for bringing my heart home.
  4. Jon Harmon – because he is a force for good.
  5. To Steli – because he is an educator and he does make us think about a new way of learning.
  6. To Beaman – for poetry and life.
  7. Back to Yvonne – because I really wanted to award her when Maria announced me the news. Yvonne enhances education by adding spice to her professional advice.
  8. To Chris Cree – because, he knows about success creations. Chris will also speak at the SOBCon07!
  9. To Jen – for goodness.
  10. Last, but not least, to our very Ariel: don’t stop talking!

To all my readers now: I treasure each and every one of you. I’m sorry I cannot make the weekend recommendations list now, but I am awfully distressed about what happened to Ariel and I’m looking for ways to help him go back to school. If you can help, please do. We need to talk about this. We cannot let such injustice ruin Ariel’s future.

UPDATE: To be or not to be… expelled? This is the question. It seems that the School allowed Ariel to attend the classes Monday (23.04) and Tuesday (24.04). So I don’t get it… is he or is he not expelled? Ariel was special guest at Radio LYNX where he explained his situation in detail. I was not able to listen to the live show – I live in Germany, Ariel lives in Romania. There was a possibility to listen online, but I had to attend a business meeting at that time. Let’s see what happens with the televisions. Prima and Realitatea TV will probably dedicate a few minutes to this issue too.

Prose from the Pros:

An ideal internet phone service should offer voip software along with the facility of voip conference. The increased use of internet telephony voip has forced everyone to use voip calling. This is why everyone is keen for skype download.

Comments

  1. About Ariel’s story: The right to free speech is our basic right as human beings. However, there are times and place when this right is violated by local laws or just someone being a prick!

    About the “awards”: LOL! I knew this was going to come back to haunt me.. oh well, I get to choose another 5 blogs with quality content. It’s always fun to share with my readers!

  2. The Romanian laws are clear. Ariel has the right to free speech. The school just violated that right. The Romanian blogosphere burns. Soon the media will follow, if they didn’t strat that already. If by Monday this School will not review its position, blogging about this event will not be the only thing I do.

  3. Wow! I come over here to get your URL and I find an allocade just for being Liz — soon as I figure who Liz is, I know how to do that. :) Meanwhile I’ll keep doing whatever I’ve been doing, which has something to do with not walking in a straight line when a curvy one presents itself. :)
    thank you, your words are a blessing and a gift.

    You are a gem and a wonder!

    I will be talking about Ariel to many people I know. You can bet on that.

    Liz

  4. Thank you, Liz. :) I knew it! I alawys can count on you.

  5. Ah, now this innocent victim. Sad.

  6. I just posted about Ariel! Unfortunately, I don´t have enough time to do more right now. I have faith that he´ll do just fine – he´s got the right people on his side ;)

    Oh, and thankx for the award!!! Lovya!

    Much power to Ariel!

  7. Let me know what I can do Mig.
    I will be thinking of a strategy. It is difficult to lace human interests into the high profile blogs I write for (I am under their power lol) but I will try. Perhaps I have a media contact or something that will help.
    Always, Phil

  8. Thank you very much for the reward. I am honoured! I will write about it later today or tomorrow.

    Regarding Ariel, it sounds a disturbing thing to have happened. Blogging if used rightly can only be an extra learning tool. I’ll look into it further.

    Best Wishes and thanks again. :)

  9. Thank you all for your generous support!

    @Dio: yes, it is really sad. An interview with Ariel about the fine art of blogging will be nice now ;).

    @Steli: we have a duty to help Ariel indeed! The supercool school is vital for kids like him.

    @Phil: I knew I could count on you! Let’s wait and see if tomorrow they let him attend class. If not, we should really do something.

    @Beaman: The pleasure was all mine, Beaman. I know I do not comment much on your blog, but what can I say to match your verses? Awesome? Wonderful? Empty words… Thank you for your concern for Ariel! It’s true: blogging is a learning tool.

  10. Hi Mihaela

    Thank you so much for the award. I have posted about the issue you highlighted here, on my blog.

    Yvonne

  11. Thank you Yvonne. Your entry is thought provoking and I am grateful for you taking the time to blog about Ariel. You cannot imagine how much this means for him. He is a good kid.

  12. What happened to free speech?! o.O
    This makes me upset…he wasn’t doing anything wrong…

    FREE ARIEL!!!

    M.

  13. Hi Maria! Pleased to see your cute avatar on mybloglog again. :D Yeah, he wasn’t doing anything wrong… but many not so open minded people are there to sustain he was. They even started calling him names, cursing him… you cannot even imagine. I am really sad to see such comments on his blog and happy you don’t understand Romanian! Ariel does not use such language in his entries. His commentators though…

    Besides, Ariel doesn’t know the “ethics” of blogging. He doesn’t know that he should ERASE offensive comments (many comments are not against Ariel, but against the people he is talking about). You know I don’t allow bloggers offending other bloggers on my blog. On Ariel’s blog though… these things happen. He still has a lot to learn. This was an “update.”

    But: Ariel was not expelled for the comments of the other bloggers (and readers). Ariel was expelled because one or two teachers felt this is a proper “educational” measure.

  14. Mig, thanks so much for the award. I think Romania sucks at times because such things actually happen. And it takes too much to see an official reaction. The next day after my post, Ariel’s case was debated in a morning show. He had nothing to do with that, but he did suffer some consequences: verbal abuse I’d call it. The authorities should so something much faster in such cases.

  15. I repeat, Alina: it’s not Romania that sucks. It’s the people. The country is not guilty for the faults of its inhabitants.

    :) Um… about the award: you deserve it. About Ariel: keep us posted! (here or on your blog, it doesn’t matter!)

  16. Well, hard to separate it from the people. You know, that common joke. Romania is a beautiful country, too bad it has inhabitants? Well that is true at times. And unfortunately, people experiencing Romania can hardly do that without meeting and interacting with the people…

    I will do my best to keep you posted.

  17. Mihaela Lica

    And this is exactly why you get the Thinking Blogger award. You took a situation which could simply be perceived as a kid being irresponsible during school hours and you investigated it. You educated yourself about the real situation—and now others. You saw the whole picture. Great post!

    I also wanted to thank you so much for adding me to your blogroll. I can’t even begin to tell you how honored I am. You are a wonderful writer and clearly an amazing woman!

    Thank you again, and have a great night!

    Lisa

  18. :) Wow, Lisa… You call me a wonderful writer! I wish I were so great. Coming from you, this is more than a compliment. Oh… sure: you belong to my blog roll!

  19. Hi Mihaela!

    Great post. I was directed from Steli’s post, and added both of your links (ironically enough) to follow Liz Strauss’ ‘Change The World’ thought-provoking, fresh post. I started a 3 Part Change the World blog series, that starts Here.

    Peace,
    Ponn

  20. Hey, Mihaela!

    I just checked out the school’s incredibly poor website and found this little digg:

    the Faculty of Business Adminstration within the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest – trains our students interested in a business career a wide range of subjects such as: marketing, business communication, negotiation technics, entrepreneurial theories, etc.

    the Media University (the Pro Foundation) – offers our students lectures, interactive meetings and practical training in the media field

    Obviously, that is pure bull. Someone needs to this kid a full ride of room and board at something like a mini Yale somewhere good.

  21. Hi Jesse, I’m not sure those two Universities you mention are bull. :) One is state owned (the Faculty of Business Administration) and the other is indeed private, but made for elites. Ariel is still in high school. I don’t know how skilled he is in school, but you are right. He should get the chance to go to a good school. Especially since he is paying for it.

  22. It is crazy to even think about getting expelled for blogging. I hope he is doing well.

  23. He is fine, Terry. The school reconsidered.

  24. ibumblogging says:

    i went to lauder at the time this happened and even though it was not fair he got suspended…i think the situation got out of control and caused more fuss than it deserved

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I just found out via Pamil Visions EWritings, a very informative online public relations blog, that a 16 years old blogger was expelled from his school because of some of the articles he published on his blog. The blogger, Ariel Constantinof, blogs about that (Romanian language), with a shade of humor: after being expelled and sent home by the school board of directors, the school exit guardian (nea Vasile) did not allow him to get out! That happened on April 18th. Meanwhile, from Ariel’s posts it seems that they re-admitted him in that school (after he was invited to speak at several national radio stations), in which he had been learning from about 8 years, being a very good student. [...]

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