How did one (or several) school administrators think “This is a good idea”?
How is it that just when I think I’ve heard everything, something new and ignorant happens in education?
Apparently, administrators secretly reserved the ability to remotely monitor the students’ clickstreams, email, turn on the laptops’ webcams and generally Big Brother the students’ privacy. This came to light when a student was disciplined at school for “improper behavior at home,” using a photo taken by the student’s webcam as evidence.
This brought about a class action lawsuit on behalf of the 1,800 Lower Merion students who were issued shady laptops by the school district. Here’s our verdict: On one hand, the school district has a responsibility to protect its students from general Internet creepery, but it goes without saying that watching school students via webcam without their knowledge makes anyone an internet creeper, be they school administrator or not.
That’s not to mention the gross violations of the students’ Fourth Amendment rights.
This brings up some interesting questions, like how many other well-to-do suburban school districts are engaged in such cyber-Orwellian practices and will they even get word considering this story’s under-reported nature in local mainstream media.
I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of schools doing this, but what do I know. Up until I read this story, I didn’t figure any schools were doing something quite this insane.
This can’t help the cause to give students more access to technology (although the students don’t seem to be the problem…).
But wait, there’s more. Now the FBI is involved (click HERE).
Maybe it’s me, but I’m just guessing it’s probably not a good time for the administrators to ask for a raise.
Thanks to a loyal reader of the Blog for emailing this story to me. And maybe there’s more to the story. Maybe it’s just a wacky misunderstanding. Maybe.