Friday, February 19, 2010

The really sad thing is probably no one will get fired

School used student laptop webcams to spy on them at school and home reports on a very awful practice by a public school:

According to the filings in Blake J Robbins v Lower Merion School District (PA) et al, the laptops issued to high-school students in the well-heeled Philly suburb have webcams that can be covertly activated by the schools' administrators, who have used this facility to spy on students and even their families. The issue came to light when the Robbins's child was disciplined for "improper behavior in his home" and the Vice Principal used a photo taken by the webcam as evidence. The suit is a class action, brought on behalf of all students issued with these machines.
If true, these allegations are about as creepy as they come. I don't know about you, but I often have the laptop in the room while I'm getting dressed, having private discussions with my family, and so on. The idea that a school district would not only spy on its students' clickstreams and emails (bad enough), but also use these machines as AV bugs is purely horrifying.
Schools are in an absolute panic about kids divulging too much online, worried about pedos and marketers and embarrassing photos that will haunt you when you run for office or apply for a job in 10 years. They tell kids to treat their personal details as though they were precious.

Update: The school district admits that student laptops were shipped with software for covertly activating their webcams, but denies wrongdoing.

I wonder how they can try to use a photo on one hand to discipline a student, but on the other hand claim they did nothing wrong.

Personally I think that maybe several public school officials should be fired. But it will probably never happen.

Technorati tags: children, education, government schools, public school, public education


homeschool101 said...

That is sad to think the Public schools will get away with stuff like this because the Government will fight to protect them.

I see violation right here but I am sure they will find some way to say, Its not a violation to rights. That is wrong. So glad we homeshchool.

Henry Cate said...

I'm afraid I agree, the government and unions will probably protect the officials.

I wonder how many families will turn to homeschool over something like this. Every time I see another horrible incident I think there has got to be some parents out there who finally have enough and protect their children.

The worse public schools get the more I expect parents to turn to homeschooling.

AlbertaMama said...

I completely agree with you on this one. A very good reason for parents to choose homeschooling.
How can a school official invade a private home like this, but claim they aren't in the wrong? I'm shocked!

Gandalf said...

Here is to the hard work that will make this kind of stuff a footnote in history about how horrible it was in the 10's.

MrsMamaHen said...

That is insane! So, the school is worried about what the kids are going to post, supposedly worried about pedos, and yet did they bother to tell any of these children that they would need to turn their computers off before changing their clothes?!? Most teens who have their own laptos are going to keep them in their rooms. My heavens, I am so glad I homeschool!!! And who needs a search warrant when they have government issued webcams to spy with? I am mortified.

Robert M. Lindsey said...

This is atrocious! How can the school discipline someone for what they did at home?

Henry Cate said...

I have an update on this.