ACLU gets one right: Students can keep passwords private

It’s not often that I agree with the work the ACLU does, but every once in a while they’re on the right side of things.  Minnewaska Area Schools agreed to a settlement for $70,000 and will rewrite their policies to limit how much leeway the school has when wanting to search student’s e-mails and social media accounts when they’re created outside  of school.

Riley Stratton, in 6th grade at the time, posted on her Facebook page that she didn’t like a particular hall monitor because they were mean.  Soon thereafter school administrators called her into the office after receiving a complaint about it, and with a Sheriff’s Deputy present, she was forced to give over her password to her private account.

I have long been opposed to schools having the authority to discipline students for their conduct off school property.  I think what a student does on their own time is their business and their parent’s responsibility.  The school doesn’t own the students.

These kinds of policies began to appear when schools began taking the role of parent for the students.  And frankly, a student’s personal life is none of their business.

Do you think schools should be allowed to intervene on students’ conduct when off school property?  Should schools be permitted to monitor or have access to students’ social media accounts?

Comments

  1. This is a result of the normalizing of the nanny state mentality so pervasive in public education. One of the two most important reasons I unschool my kids. The other reason being the obvious ever lowered standards.
    The over arching width and breadth of control that schools and school boards have is unacceptable.
    I would have told that administrator and deputy to eat my shorts.

    • Nash sometimes I wish I was back in school but with what I know now and my attitude toward government. Just like you I would have told them to pound sand my private life is none of their business. Sometimes I get the urge to have my kids instigate a free speech issue just so I can step in and assert their rights

  2. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Do you think schools should be allowed to intervene on students’ conduct when off school property?

    No. Unless there is an eminent threat, no. If there is an eminent threat (they see a student with a gun threatening to kill someone), there’d be an obligation to do something whether or not they’re from the school, just as a concerned citizen.

    Otherwise, no.

    John…

    Should schools be permitted to monitor or have access to students’ social media accounts?

    Public accounts are public accounts. I don’t know that we can tell schools or anyone else NOT to see what is publicly available on, for instance, FB. But they certainly shouldn’t somehow force students to Like or Friend or anything like that for the purpose of monitoring them.

    Having said that, I do know/have heard that police monitor FB in some cases… for instance, if they think a violent flash mob might be brewing and people are planning a meeting. I am more sympathetic to something like that, albeit with reservations.

    In the main, I agree with you on this one, though.

    Dan

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