TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: School District to Monitor Student Blogs

Re: School District to Monitor Student Blogs
25 May 2006 11:12:58 -0700

Associated Press News Wire wrote:

> The board of Community High School District 128 voted unanimously on
> Monday to require that all students participating in extracurricular
> activities sign a pledge agreeing that evidence of "illegal or
> inappropriate" behavior posted on the Internet could be grounds for
> disciplinary action.

A critical issue not made clear here is whether the postings involve
any school owned facility. That is, if someone uses a school
computer, school internet service, or school website, then the school
district has every right and a duty to set standards and monitor
traffic. Kids can be quite nasty on the Internet and the school could
be held liable for malicious postings that hurt another kid. The
school could also be liable if a kid gets hurt as a result of posting
too much personal data.

On the other hand, if school facilities are not involved in any way,
then it is not the school's business. If two student get into a fight
at the movies or the mall on a weekend, then it is not the school's

I can understand the school's concern for inappropriate posting,
especially those that might bring risk to a student (e.g. publicly
posting a provacative personal picture and personal info, or malicious
gossip about other kids). But the most the school can do for non
school facilities IMHO is notify the parents and advise such postings
aren't a good idea.

If I were a school administrator, the last thing I'd want to do is
worry about what my kids did outside of school hours and property*.
If I were a student, I'd feel my rights were being violated and the
school is snooping on me.

*Perhaps if a student was arrested for a serious crime the school has
a right to be involved.

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