A 17-year-old high school student has been suspended from her San Francisco high school after penning a poem in her personal notebook which seemingly makes reference to "understanding" the motives of the man who murdered 26 people at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The poem, which includes the line "I understand the killings in Connecticut; I understand why he pulled the trigger", was not submitted as an assignment, but was read by a teacher, who reported author Courtni Webb to the principal of the Life Learning Academy.
Webb has been suspended indefinitely and the school district is now considering whether she can return.
Courtni Webb says she was merely expressing herself in a private notebook
She said: "Never in my life have I heard that you couldn't mention a tragedy that happened. I didn't say that I agree with it, I said I simply understand it."
Webb added she felt the school was branding her a "monster", and her mother believes her daughter's right to free speech is being violated.
The Life Learning Academy is a 60-pupil vocational school for students which was named the "2010 Charter School of the Year" by the California Charter School Association.
According to Gawker: "A letter from a Life Learning Academy official said Webb's writing 'contained deeply concerning, and threatening language related to the recent school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.'"
Webb told ABC San Francisco that the poem was just her way of expressing herself. "The meaning of the poem is just talking about society and how I understand why things like that incident happened. So it's not like I'm agreeing with it, but that's how the school made it seem."