Newton, MA 6/5/2014 Newton North senior Henery DeGroot (cq) has been reprimanded for writing pro-democracy words in a Chinese student's notebook while on a school-sponsored semester in China on Thursday June 5, 2014. DeGroot violated a code of conduct clearly spelled out to students before they left for China. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff) Topic: 06china Reporter: Ellen Ishkanian
Newton North senior Henry DeGroot has been reprimanded for writing pro-democracy words in a Chinese student's notebook while on a school-sponsored semester in China.
MATTHEW J. LEE/THE BOSTON GLOBE

Newton North High School senior Henry DeGroot was barred from his prom after writing prodemocracy messages in the notebook of a Chinese student during a semester abroad in Beijing this spring.

According to The Boston Globe:

"Democracy is for cool kids," he recalls writing. "Don't believe the lies your school and government tell you," said another message, and "It's right to rebel."

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When Chinese school officials found out about his messages, DeGroot had to serve five hours of school detention. And when he got back to Newton at the end of the semester, he found out he was barred from his prom.

Newton school officials say he violated semester abroad rules, embarrassed the principal of the Chinese school that was hosting Newton students, and showed so much disrespect for the Chinese that the longstanding relationship with the school may be harmed.

The Globe reports that DeGroot was instructed to write a letter of apology to the principal of the Beijing Jinshan School, which has a longstanding partnership with Newton North High School.

DeGroot was then asked to rewrite his original version of his letter, which included an explanation of his reasons for writing the prodemocracy message. The Newton School Superintendent David Fleishman told the Globe that the issue isn’t one of free speech, but rather than DeGroot violated a code of conduct for school-sponsored trips.

Read the full story here.