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Now that young Leonardo Semma is graduating from high school, the story of his proudest accomplishment can finally be told: He got suspended back in January for “use of profanity” in a ridiculous, hilarious tweet to his district’s superintendent.
My greatest high school achievement pic.twitter.com/wcTqhqMggg
— leonardo semma (@LeonardoSemma) June 5, 2016
At the time, Semma’s Michigan high school was covered in snow, and the district had failed to plow the parking lots. Superintendent Kenneth Gutman, who is no doubt respected and never made fun of by his district’s juvenile constituents, issued a polite apology over Twitter.
“It’s unacceptable and we’re on it,” he wrote.
While that might be enough for reasonable adults, it was not enough for Semma, who had slipped and fallen in the icy lot that morning.
“Sorry’s not going to melt the snow,” he tweeted at the superintendent, “Grab a shovel and get your ass out here at 5:30 sharp boi.”
Young Leo was rewarded for his insouciance with a three-day suspension, and it seemed the saga was over. Leo’d had his say, the Gut-man his retort. But Leo was just biding his time until his graduation could be made official.
Earlier this week, the 17-year-old posted a photo of his suspension notice to Twitter, along with the original tweets. His brag quickly spread beyond Michigan to the wider internet, where a superintendent’s authority is helpless against the might of tens of thousands of retweets.
According to BuzzFeed, Gutman has blocked Leo on Twitter, but others are now trolling the superintendent by tweeting “get your ass out here at 5:30 sharp boi” at him.
The high school tried to get the last laugh using a classic authoritarian tactic—the principal’s email home to dad. The word “disappointed” appears more than once.
That backfired, too: Leo tweeted a screengrab of the email, and now that’s going viral, too. The only way the school or the district could have won this game was not to play.
Congratulations on your graduation, Leo. Here’s another news article to put on your future LinkedIn profile under the line about “great communication skills, mastery of social media platforms—including Twitter.”
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.