Dalton State student’s TikTok video sparks debate on free speech

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DALTON, Ga. (WDEF) – A Dalton State student’s TikTok video regarding racial slurs and gender identity is sparking outrage, with the student in question claiming it was her right to freedom of speech.

While the original video has since been deleted, Dalton State issued an email to students, saying that the college disagrees with the student’s comments but won’t punish her for it.

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Students on campus sounded off on the controversy, with some saying that the school should take disciplinary action.

“I think that theres a big difference in freedom of speech and blatantly just trying to hurt people. I think that what she did was completely unacceptable. It certainly doesn’t represent Dalton State students because our campus is super diverse. I think it’s awful,” says junior Gabriel Aultman.

While some said the school couldn’t punish the student on grounds of freedom of speech, they said that the video just wasn’t a good idea.

“Dalton State is right. I mean she can say whatever she wants but I feel like what she said wasn’t right because everyone has their own opinions and I felt like it wasn’t right for her to push her own opinions out on the internet because that can cause a lot of trouble for her, for the school and basically for anyone,” says student Grace Goetce.

And in light of some social media sites like Facebook and Twitter cracking down on hateful speech on their platforms, some students are looking on with skepticism.

“They’re probably well-intentioned with what they’re doing with trying to ban hate speech, I can certainly see the motive behind it. But I also think that whenever we get on that slippery slope that it’s easy to just continue. Because what truly defines something as hate speech? It is kind of dangerous to be banning people based on what people could perceive something as. We can’t really just ban speech based on the fact that someone else might find it offensive. If we did so most outlets, like the one you’re watching right now, probably wouldn’t have much to report,” explained freshman Alex Whaley.

The student has since taken down most of her social media presence.