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Daddy, why is the computer taking my picture?

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Orwellian.

Administrators at Lower Merion School District have activated Webcams installed on school-owned laptops, in effect spying on students, although they say their efforts only attempted to find lost and missing computers.

Spying is what a class-action lawsuit filed filed against the school alleges. The suit states this not only occurred, but in at least one instance, the school used a Webcam photo as evidence when it repremanded a student for improper behavior.

Draconian?

Quite likely, since the lawsuit indicated the intrusion took place in the student’s home.

Stories on the issue and the lawsuit can be found from the Associated Press, in philly.com, from The New York Times, on TV at NBC Connecticut and a download of the lawsuit here.

Comments from the Student Press Law Center can be found here.

In the SPLC blog, Mike Hiestand states – if true – the lawsuit “serves as yet another wake-up call to judges that they have turned a blind eye to the conduct of school officials for way too long. Judges have a duty to say what the law is and ensure that everyone — including citizens who also happen to be students — can seek its protection.”

Again, we must agree.

Such administrative conduct undermines the efforts of  journalism educators who are trying to build common, constructive dialogue with administrators, based on proper protocol, common educational mission and respect.

Orwellian, yes

Draconian, yes.

Stupid, most certainly.

Respect for those who would treat students this way, for whatever reason?

Harder than ever to make happen.

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