FAIR LAWN - A Bergen County high school student is facing criticism after posting anti-Israel tweets online that sparked a school investigation.
Fair Lawn High School student Bethany Koval often tweets comments critical of Israel and supporting Palestinians. She is very active on Twitter and has more than 7,500 followers.
She recently tweeted that she was glad a pro-Israel student unfollowed her and that some students were critical of her comments. When another Twitter user asked who the students were and that they were “ready to fight,” Koval replied that she would direct message the user the names.
These tweets caught the attention of school officials and Koval was called into the principal’s office. The principal told her that someone complained about her messages online. He told her that she may have violated New Jersey’s anti-bullying laws.
Koval secretly recorded the conversation because she felt her rights were being violated. She posted clips of these recordings on her Twitter page. Many of her followers are showing their support and started the hashtag #IStandwithBenny.
Thursday evening Koval tweeted, “My mom wants this whole thing to slow down, and so I must stay silent for a while.” The tweet has since been deleted and her account has become private.
In a statement, the Fairlawn schools superintendent said the school received "a complaint alleging potential harassment, intimidation, of bullying by one student against another.”
The school says it respects Koval’s right to free speech, but by law it must investigate bullying complaints.