Blog much? DETENTION!

Sdashiki

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Aug 11, 2005
3,511
8
Behind the lens
Link

By Andrew L. Wang
Tribune staff reporter
Published May 23, 2006

In a move that has drawn national attention to this Lake County school district, the Community High School District 128 board unanimously passed rules changes Monday night that will hold students accountable for what they post on blogs and social-networking Web sites.

For Libertyville and Vernon Hills High Schools, the changes will mean that all students participating in extracurricular activities, including athletic teams, fine arts groups and school clubs, will have to sign a pledge agreeing that evidence of "illegal or inappropriate" behavior posted on the Internet could be grounds for disciplinary action.

Officials of District 128, which includes the two schools, said about 80 percent of the district's 3,200 students participate in one or more extracurricular activities.

Associate Supt. Prentiss Lea said the changes are part of an effort to get the district community more knowledgeable about the growing Internet blog phenomenon and more aware of the pitfalls of such sites as MySpace.com.

"By adding the blog sites [to the student codes of conduct], we wanted to raise discussions on the issue," he said. "We have taken the first steps to starting that conversation."

Word of the changes had stirred discussion in the district among parents and students.

Some contend that the new codes of conduct will reinforce that students are accountable for the information they post online. But others, including one mother who spoke at the meeting, argue that monitoring students' online postings is an invasion of privacy.

Lake Bluff resident Mary Greenberg, the only person to speak during the public comment period, told officials that the district is overstepping its bounds.

As parents, "we have to watch what they're doing," said Greenberg, who has a son at Libertyville High. "I don't think they need to police what students are doing online. That's my job."

District officials will not regularly surf students' sites for rules violations, officials said. But they will monitor them if they get some indication--specifically, a tip from another student, a parent or a community member--pointing them in that direction.

School administrators would treat incriminating information found on the Web the same as they would any other evidence of wrongdoing, as pieces of a larger investigation into the offending behavior.

The new pledge will be used in all activities for the next school year, including those that start over the coming summer break, Lea said.

In the pledge, which both students and their parents must sign, the students agree that they won't use alcohol, tobacco or drugs or "exhibit gross misconduct or behavior/citizenship that is considered detrimental to his/her team or school."

The code of conduct states that "maintaining or being identified on a blog site which depicts illegal or inappropriate behavior will be considered a violation of this code."
I am not understanding how what students do outside of school can be used against them IN school? I understand if kids are blogging in the libraries, but what about the 1st Amendment?
 

backupdrummer

macrumors regular
Nov 4, 2004
141
0
Chi town
I agree. Unless they post pictures of say drinking at any school sancitoned activity (games, concerts, property) I don't see anyway this would be held up in a court of law.

A bigger concern is students opening up spaces as other students and framing them or teachers for that matter. Ona lesser scale I know friends of mine that have had multiple instances of people opening up accounts at classmates.com saying they were them and then posting false information. Pretty pedestrian in what could happen to an individual but on Myspace with rules like this it could become a sticky situation.
 

calculus

Guest
Dec 12, 2005
4,505
4
Gosh, next we'll be monitoring teachers to make sure they are not downloading child pornography...:rolleyes:
 

lem0n

macrumors regular
Mar 12, 2005
177
0
Milano...
well, that might be a better idea :p at least they'll catch the pervert rather than kids for doing something silly
 

clayj

macrumors 604
Jan 14, 2005
7,475
190
visiting from downstream
This thread is probably gonna get punted to the Politics forum at some point, so I will be brief.

I'm fairly sure that minors (anyone under the age of 18) are NOT guaranteed all of the freedoms mentioned by the 1st Amendment. You don't really have freedom of speech until you reach the age of majority. So, as long as the parents of the students don't object, a school system can sometimes impose rules that apply outside of school hours and the schoolgrounds if it's generally felt that doing so will be more beneficial than harmful.
 

CorvusCamenarum

macrumors 65816
Dec 16, 2004
1,231
2
Birmingham, AL
When I was in high school, we had a code of conduct that said whatever we do reflects both on us and the school. Granted this was a private school, and they were well within their rights to have that provision. But this is a public school, so the rules of the game are different.

I can see both sides of this issue - what right does the school board have to tell a student what to do on his own time, and on the flip side, anything a student would do potentially reflects on his school.

article said:
But others, including one mother who spoke at the meeting, argue that monitoring students' online postings is an invasion of privacy.
This doesn't make sense to me. How is it invading someone's privacy to have a look at things they posted for other people to look at in the first place?

article said:
In the pledge, which both students and their parents must sign, the students agree that they won't use alcohol, tobacco or drugs or "exhibit gross misconduct or behavior/citizenship that is considered detrimental to his/her team or school."
Isn't the first part of that prohibited already, except for 18 year old smokers in some states (it's 19 to smoke here)?

Maybe if schools spent more time educating students (crazy idea I know) instead of wondering who was on the buddy lists, who knows what could happen.
 

SamIchi

macrumors 68030
Aug 1, 2004
2,710
134
This is stupid. Unless this is harming people in a threatening way, I don't see how the school can do this. I think it's ridiculous.
 

clayj

macrumors 604
Jan 14, 2005
7,475
190
visiting from downstream
CorvusCamenarum said:
This doesn't make sense to me. How is it invading someone's privacy to have a look at things they posted for other people to look at in the first place?
These are the same sort of people who think that a telephone company turning over its own business records (e.g., lists of calls with to and from numbers) to the NSA is somehow an invasion of their privacy.

Guess what: It ain't. Especially in this case, where the information is posted in a very PUBLIC place, MySpace.

SamIchi said:
This is stupid. Unless this is harming people in a threatening way, I don't see how the school can do this. I think it's ridiculous.
Well, I don't completely disagree with you. It's unfortunate that it's come to this, but it's too often the case now that kids post stuff on MySpace that accuses teachers of wrongdoing, for example. Careers have been ruined by students posting bogus information about teachers... it's the sort of thing that could also result in wrongful termination suits and libel suits against students. They want the freedom of speech, but they forget the corresponding responsibility to speak carefully and truthfully.
 

iShane

macrumors 6502a
Jan 7, 2006
730
1
New York -> SF
Our school takes this WAY to extremely in my opinion. I can't get on here because there's a "marketplace":rolleyes:

They even block google on some computers. Its crazy.
 

adk

macrumors 68000
Nov 11, 2005
1,937
21
Stuck in the middle with you
It sounds like it's mainly aimed at athletes. Athletes are under pretty strict athletic codes that govern what they do out of school as well. Personally, I think this is of about the same magnitude as one of my football buddies getting suspended (from sports, not school) because a teacher overheard him say he got drunk that weekend. Not really concrete evidence, but kids basically sign their lives/rights away to play high school sports.
 

muffinman

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2005
394
0
San Diego, California
skipskop24 said:
Our school takes this WAY to extremely in my opinion. I can't get on here because there's a "marketplace":rolleyes:

They even block google on some computers. Its crazy.
Exactly. They block google at my school also. It's absolutely absurd!

I blog a lot of "disagreeable" stuff. If my school district tried to censor my blog, or any others, it would be a grave moment indeed.
 

amholl

macrumors 6502
Dec 21, 2004
269
0
Boston
What tools. I am 14 and I think that parents should gove their kids some space. At least online. Ity should be a safe haven for kids whos parents are over protective. On the other hand, if these kids are stupid enough to get caught in real life, they deserve it.
 

maestro55

macrumors 68030
Nov 13, 2005
2,709
0
Goat Farm in Meridian, TX
The question here is how far will the school take this? Number one, as mentioned there is always those pranksters who could make false accounts. Also, what are they checking for? If I posted up (using my 1st admendment right.. and yes, as a minor I still have that right. Where does it say that I don't until I am 18?) a blog about how my Principal as a real ass and I talked about the reasons why he was an ass. While I could very well get in trouble for doing in this in school (even then I don't find it right.. as again I have freedom of speech/expression) if someone saw my blog and reported it to the Principal, with this system I suspect I could be in trouble with the school over this. That isn't right. So how far will they take this?