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Legal Actions of School Against a Proxy's Host?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the slippery-legal-slopes dept.

200

WakefieldHS-students asks: "I attend a public school, Wakefield High School in Raleigh, North Carolina. A friend of mine recently created a site that hosted a web proxy browser. It ran for a few months, and others at our school found out about it. The original domain was blocked by the censorship software the school uses, and it was changed a few times to get around this. Recently, he was forced to take down the proxy, with the threat of not graduating and the taking of legal action by the school. What legal rights, if any, can the school use to ban someone from hosting a website? Furthermore, what rights does the U.S. Government have to censor such websites?"

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200 comments

Ok, now tell us the rest of it (4, Insightful)

Pyromage (19360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511101)

I'm relatively certain that the school wasn't just arbitrarily chasing the site across every domain he owned, not unless they had reason. Why was he running a proxy? What material was he or his friends accessing from the school?

As far as legal rights to censor that, they can do just about whatever they want in loco parentis.

Re:Ok, now tell us the rest of it (4, Informative)

Cyphertube (62291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511123)

Of course, since the operation of proxy server is not done under school property and doesn't have anything to do with the care of the student, the argument for it being in loco parentis doesn't really hold water.

Of particular note, if he's near graduating, he may well be 18 already, at which point in loco parentis no longer applies. By threatening his academic situation, a publically mandated and required function of the school, by regarding his own actions off school time, then they could actually be sued on grounds of harrassment.

Now, they could pursue action against him for access the proxy from the school, but not against him for others.

Moreover, since I was nailed under in loco parentis when I was in middle school, I can tell you that loco parentis ceases the instant you enter your front door, if you ride the bus home from school. I got nailed for verbally assaulting the bus driver (who later was nailed for felony hit and runs against mailboxes, thus disproving the slander and defamation charges they 'threatened' me with). As I was told, if I'd entered my house, come back out, and then yelled at her, it would have been out of the school's hands.

Re:Ok, now tell us the rest of it (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511256)

In my IANAL-And-He's-Not-Telling-Us-The-Whole-Story opinion:

1) The kid and his friends were repeatedly and systematically violating school rules, and can certainly be punished.

2) The precise ultimatum that the school gave him is probably not within the school's power to make.

3) The question is how much effort and money he's willing to expend in court on a grey area case, when the school would be perfectly within bounds to give him a clearly legal and much more serious punishment.

4) I don't get what the US government's role in this is supposed to be.

Re:Ok, now tell us the rest of it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511397)

If he is over 18, he may be in even more trouble as he is personally responsible for what he does. Remember they two key points are that other at the school knew about it, which presumable means that students were using it, and that he had been given repeating warning.

Now, IANAL, but it seems to me that if you are 18, and you are supplying adult material to those under 18, which is a reasonable assumption given the common use for such proxies, that is a potentially serious offense. But think about if all he was doing was giving access to myspace, which might be blocked by the school becuase they don't want the freshmen being stalked by 40 year old men. Some girl gets raped, who is going down? The school that tried to protect the student, or the student who took it upon himslef to leave the back door unlocked.

Even simpler than this is the disruption of the classroom and misuse of equipment. If the student is providing access to material that is distracting to studenta or faciliting thier misuse of the equipment, that does not have anything to do with fancy words. That is plain illegal and subject to at least a ticket, which lands the student in court, as an adult. Since the rules for classroom disruption and equipment use are clearly laid out, and since the student has been warned, repeatedly, the student could be held personally responsible for some steep fines. You are talking maybe two weeks work at mcdonalds kind of fine.

The catch-22 that most children don't consider is that when you turn 18 you can check yourself out of school, but you can also be given adult punishments. Oh, and increasingly in an effort to protect students from the mean kids that want to make sure everyone stays as stupid as they are, school are increasing holding the mean kids accountable for conduct off campus, especially criminal activity, which misuse of a computer network can be.

Re:Ok, now tell us the rest of it (2, Interesting)

Cyphertube (62291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511525)

Unless the proxy was specifically directed to be used by the network, the school in all honesty could not take action against him with regard to the proxy server. They could go after him for connecting to it, but simply changing the name, location, address, etc. of his system, without modifying the school's system, would render him as immune as any of the other proxy services out there.

Frankly, most attempts to bypass proxies I've seen, having working in both academic and corporate setting, is the attempt to use chat services that are otherwise blocked.

Providing access to disrupting material on the Internet that requires the students to log on and go find it is no more punishable that if the bookstore down the street sells a copy of the Anarchist's Cookbook.

Yes, at 18 you have adult punishment. But you also have to meet the criteria of the law in order to use them.

Lastly, for the hypothetical girl being raped because of MySpace contact... Criminally, neither party would be liable (only the rapist). As far as a civil tort goes, yes, they could possibly pursue a case, but since the access to the Internet was provided by the school, they would be majority responsible. It is not in the school's power or jursidiction, however, to determine the liability that the student wants to open himself to.

Re:Ok, now tell us the rest of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511146)

No, he's not using the proxy, "other people" are. :P

Of course, these guys are downloading their goatporn at school, they just haven't been caught redhanded yet. Now the school gets to spend a bunch of money putting a web authentication system in to stop these faggots. Yeah nerd losers.

Re:Ok, now tell us the rest of it (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511154)

I thought we shipped morons like you off to Siberia.

Oh, wait, wrong country.

Re:Ok, now tell us the rest of it (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511175)

The school would be completely within its rights to threaten to not allow graduation for anyone who accessed the proxy with the school's computers, but they have no right to dictate what legal activities a student may partake in while that student isn't under the egiss of the school.

In other words, the school has nothing to do with what you do while you're on your own time.

LK

Re:Ok, now tell us the rest of it (5, Informative)

techfury90 (806273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511270)

I go to WHS, so I know about this story. Basically he was running a proxy to allow people to visit banned sites such as MySpace from there, which was its typical use. Every time someone was in the computer lab, you'd see MySpace up via this website.

Re:Ok, now tell us the rest of it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511331)

So he was allowing people to access banned material on the school's network, and somehow he thinks the school is in the wrong.

Fuck that. He deserves everything he gets.

Re:Ok, now tell us the rest of it (1)

techfury90 (806273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511339)

Except that's just my guess as to his intent. His site seemed to be either a somewhat decent front or a site where he had forums and other things that happened to include a proxy. Either way, I haven't spoken to him but that's just my speculation.

Re:Ok, now tell us the rest of it (3, Funny)

techfury90 (806273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511370)

Also if anyone wants to take this up with the administration, email the principal at stakacs@, call at +1 (919) 562-3600; ask for Mr. Takacs, or if you _really_ want to cause an impact, try +1 (919) 851-3980.

Their network, their rules (1, Informative)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511108)

They can block what they want on their network.

Re:Their network, their rules (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511114)

Agreed.

The real question here is whether they can do things like prevent his graduation.

Of course, I agree with one of the other posters that we don't have the whole story here.

Re:Their network, their rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511312)

Certainly they can stop his graduation. For example, they could expell the student in question and thus said student would be unable to complete the graduation requirements.

What I really want to know is how stupid is this kid that he seems to think it's worth it to even try to fight this fight? Want to browse the web and see titties? Do it on your own time, on your own computer, on your own net connection. Unless you just enjoy beating your little meat with your buddies in the school library, I don't see the point in setting up a "web proxy browser" to bypass the school's filtering.

Private versus Public (3, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511109)

A private school can do that kind of thing. That's why I like them better (among MANY other reasons). That's the way things are.

But, you said it's a public school. I don't see why a public school can do that. And I'd be willing to wager a large amount of cash he didn't have to sign a "I will not host a web proxy server" document when he started to attend the school.

So what does he do?

Sue

That's all that works these days. If the school administration is going to be like that (note: I'm assuming he just set it up for personal use or something and isn't encouraging other students to use it to break school policy) then they obviously aren't willing to deal with him on this. In such situations (especially with a government institution like a school) a strongly worded nasty-gram from a lawyer will make a world of difference. Indicate you are willing to reach a compromise or something (that you're not just a "Free speech at all costs sue the school for $100,000,000" nut-job and are willing to be reasonable) and I'm sure something will get worked out quickly.

When faced with a lawsuit, most of the time in the US the person being threatened with the suit will just cave or try to work it out fast, even if they are right (which, in this case, is easily debatable).

Re:Private versus Public (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511118)

I wouldn't bother. The government or the school cannot force him to take the site down. The school could withhold his diploma, or proceed with disciplinary action -- that's most likely within their rights. If you really feel strongly about it, you could talk to a lawyer, but it's probably not worth the effort.

Either way the school is acting as parent (1)

TheStonepedo (885845) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511238)

Being proud to have attended a prestigious private school is ok I suppose. Thinking private schools are worth the cost is ok too. Saying you like them better for "MANY" reasons makes you sound like you'd rather the public not be educated the same as you. Public education allows (most of) our country to function at or above the level of a 16-year old pupil who has attended some 10 years of school.

On topic, however, US schools in addition to educating act as a day care of sorts for mostly minors. They are liable for the students' physical and mental well-being during school hours. Even if a few students are 18 years old or more, the school is required to protect the rest of the students from information deemed illegal for minors. If the intent of the proxy was to circumvent a firewall blocking websites on the topics of pornography and tobacco then the guy who ran the proxy was encouraging illegal actions. If the proxy allowed access to time-wasting websites such as homestar runner or myspace then he was probably circumventing school rules that tried to protect the students' best interests and have them use computers for educational purposes. While somewhat put-off by the fact that I was unable to download music illegally or chat on IRC or set the school computer's desktop background to nude pictures of girls with big floppy titties, I understand that there were valid reasons for preventing such actions.

Re:Either way the school is acting as parent (1)

hahafaha (844574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511297)

Yes, but the question is not whether or not the school can block the proxy server. It is whether or not they can threaten him for not taking it down. I say no, because (I'm assuming) he did it someplace outside of the school's reach.

Re:Private versus Public (3, Informative)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511423)

And I'd be willing to wager a large amount of cash he didn't have to sign a "I will not host a web proxy server" document when he started to attend the school.

My public school required the signing of an Internet use contract before getting an account on the network. The bit about not doing anything to evade the school's blocking software would certainly apply in this case, and I would be very surprised to hear of a public school that didn't require a similar contract with their students.

Re:Private versus Public (1)

NuclearDog (775495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15512013)

Well, I think my school requires it, but they're incredibly disorganized about it.

They handed one out to the whole class I was in to sign, then went and picked them back up, not checking if they were signed, and since then none of the CS classes I've taken have had a teacher who's bothered to check to make sure we've signed the agreement.

(Not that the agreement is any use, as a minor I'd need my legal guardian to sign it also, unless my understanding of the law is incorrect.)

ND

Re:Private versus Public (2, Insightful)

MaverickUW (177871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511827)

No, but he and/or his parents probably had to sign a computer/internet acceptable use policy for the school. If nothing else, they can get the guy, and by proxy (pun intended) every other student who accessed sites with it. Depending on what the punishment is for violating the schools acceptable use policy, this could work. The fact that he is specifically setting something up to allow for the illegal circumvention of the policy is where they might have a case.

Think of it like any threat to a school. Sure, it's done out of school time, doesn't mean the police/school won't do anything about it. They should just give everyone caught using it a warning, and then start doing whatever the punishments are in their AUP.

just take it down (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511119)

The only people who use proxies are spammers, message board flooders and other scum. The school is doing the right thing in banning it.

The way it works... (1)

ndruw1 (921682) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511121)

Can you run into trouble for visiting it from school? yes Is the school allowed to block the proxy? Of course Can they press charges against him for running it? No

Re:The way it works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511273)

Punctuation.

Anonymity? (1)

tuomasb (981596) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511124)

How did they find out the site administrator's identity the first place? Why didn't he just use services like DomainByProxy.com to conceal whois information?

Re:Anonymity? (1)

JFitzsimmons (764599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511163)

Because he shouldn't HAVE to? How is one supposed to take evasive action against rules that aren't on the books?

Even better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511125)

You don't need to take legal actions anymore, your school should understand how you feel about this as soon as their bandwidth bill comes in.

It's not really the website (2, Insightful)

Joe U (443617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511129)

It's not really the website, it's that you're using a tool to circumvent their filters.

IANAL, but I don't think they have any legal recourse for shutting down the site, but they can go after you for bypassing the filters.

Now, if all you're doing is mirroring content, then that's another story. It depends on the content.

It's not a web site (4, Insightful)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511135)

There's a whopping huge difference between hosting a web site and hosting a proxy server. To me it sounds like the student hosting the proxy server was doing this to circumvent the school's access controls, so it's a precedent for intent, irrelevent of it being malicious or beneign.

If the school's network admins had half a brain then all access beyond the border routers would have been deny-by-default, allowing access only from their content-filtering server(s) and mail server(s) thus making this sort of thing impossible to do anyways./p

Re:It's not a web site (1)

aitikin (909209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511168)

That's a valid point. But then the problem arises that someone could easily argue that he never intended to use it to circumvent the school's filters.

A slightly different tale of troubles with stupid public high schools and their filters:

I know when I was in high school I had to sign a waiver that was never once explained to me, never did I see it again, and, from what my friends who read it thoroughly told me, they said nothing about using proxy servers or anything about avoiding the filters, only that you were not allowed to break their filters. Still my friend was threatened with legal punishment for his website that merely had a messageboard where people spoke ill about the school.

One of the people who frequented the site wrote the site's name on a bathroom stall and he commented (under an alias of course) on the message board about it. The site owner was threatened by the police (yes, in an apparently simple freedom of speech case) that if he did not divulge the person who the alias belonged to, he would face legal punishment and possible jail time. Being a teenaged kid with little to no money to spend on lawyers, he listened to the police and gave the name. The guy who wrote the site was later suspended for 10 days.

Re:It's not a web site (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511244)

That's a valid point. But then the problem arises that someone could easily argue that he never intended to use it to circumvent the school's filters.

Maybe so, but content filters are usually there for more than just censorship, which is the only thing you see people harp on about. They often serve as caching proxies to limit bandwidth usage, sometimes anti-virus filtering to protect the school's servers and workstations. And yes, censhorship to protect students from goat porn and such.

Bypassing the school's filters is increasing their security footprint and potentially exposing them to expensive bandwidth charges, as well as expensive labour costs to come in an remove viruses, trojans and other malware and maybe restore systems from backups or completely rebuild them. Should the student operating the proxy filter have to pay these bills if it was proven that their proxy server was responsible for them? You bet!

According to the summary the student moved her/his proxy around a few times as the school blocked it, so she/he was definitely being an ass about it.

Re:It's not a web site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511417)

Bypassing the school's filters is increasing their security footprint and potentially exposing them to expensive bandwidth charges, as well as expensive labour costs to come in an remove viruses, trojans and other malware and maybe restore systems from backups or completely rebuild them. Should the student operating the proxy filter have to pay these bills if it was proven that their proxy server was responsible for them? You bet!

That's ridiculous. Extra bandwidth? Come on, a site with pictures of "boobies" uses the same bandwidth as a site with pictures of achient Egypt. A simple web proxy does not increase your exposure to viruses, either.

And wtf?! "Should the student operating the proxy filter have to pay these bills if it was proven that their proxy server was responsible for them? You bet!"

There are tons of web proxies out there. Do you think they should be liable for any "damage" done from their services? Fucking ridiculous. What kind of precedent does that set?

It doesn't matter if they were "being an ass". Last I checked, there wasn't a law against that.

Re:It's not a web site (2, Insightful)

Solra Bizna (716281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511840)

Way to miss the point.

What if there are 50 students sitting in a computer lab all downloading the same pictures of ancient Egypt at the same time?

-:sigma.SB

Re:It's not a web site (1)

Baddas (243852) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511439)

He's merely exposing inherent flaws in attempting to filter the internet. Deny-by-default is the only possible and effective way, but of course, people don't like that because we live in a free country where access to information is considered a basic right.

If it was some-other-random-proxy-site, they'd be going after the people using it, which is what they OUGHT to be doing now.

Running a (proxy|remailer|*) is not a crime.

Re:It's not a web site (3, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511180)

If this proxy is simply a website with a "Insert Web address here:" field and a "Go" button, it would look like any other website to their routers. Unless you're willing to impose and then troubleshoot a "deny by default" policy on all web traffic, it'll be easy to play cat and mouse with the network admins for quite a long time.

LK

Re:It's not a web site (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511295)

But that's not really a proxy server is it? Trying to implement that sort of functionality in a web page with server-side code is usually a pain due to the requirement of having to rewrite image/embed/object/stylesheet/etc URL's so that those things are accessed through your hacked-up page and not their original addresses (or their now-broken relative URLs), although it is simplified with things like the CFHTTP tag in ColdFusion.

If the school's content filtering is based purely on domain names then the above mechanism would get around them successfully, but a lot of content filtering systems also do keyword matching or Baysian filtering so you wouldn't really achieve much. Even so, "Top 10" reports of bandwidth users would likely turn-up someone using such a page to keep their access to war3z and p0rn sites.

Re:It's not a web site (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511445)

If a proxy server is configured to run on port 80, accessing it would look pretty much like accessing a web server. So what are their filters doing on the ports other than 80? Are they filtering by IP address? Host name? Domain name? URI content? And what are they doing about SSL which many sites now require on the login page? All the filters can know for SSL is what IP address and port the connection is being made to. There are a lot of ways to slip through the filters.

Hey kids! If you are going to public school, don't sign that paper. If they had the right to enforce something as law, they wouldn't need to have you agree to it. You think they are allowed to deny you your right to an education? Remember, no child left behind.

Re:It's not a web site (2, Insightful)

whizistic (33541) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511753)

You'll get all the education you need, just you won't be allowed on the internet. When I worked for a school district, those who had their parents sign the paper got filtered internet access. Those who didn't got intranet access only. Simple active directory groups combined with websense.

Catching those who used other peoples accounts was trivial the instant two logins to the same username happened (since once someone gives out their password, it spreads like wildfire)

Catching those who used external SSL proxys was more difficult, but gross abusers still stood out

Hey Buddy.. (1)

JimXugle (921609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511153)

I did the exact same thing... The Iranians got to it and used it for porn. I'm now on many NSA Lists. It's free speech, so as long as you're not browsing porn at school, I see no problem -legal or moral- with running a proxy. Then again... my school had a nazi-style filter. Have Fun. Have you heard of TorPark [nfshost.com]

-jX

P.S. They blocked things on George Orwell's Animal farm for "Communism/Racism" and Drudgereport.com for "Lies/Blasphamy"

Re:Hey Buddy.. (1)

shumacher (199043) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511161)

There's a Blasphemy category? They lumped Blasphemy with Lies? I always suspected filtering was crazy, now I know.

Sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511164)

Right.... a "friend"...

Even a public school . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511165)

has a fair number of rights when it comes to enforcing a (valid) code of conduct or disciplinary policy. AFAIK, if a student is engaging behavior that violates this, a school is well within their rights to threaten some action (including withholding a diploma) if the behavior doesn't stop. If, hypothetically speaking, the web site was insulting students or faculty, making racist comments, or providing some sort of illegal service, I don't think there's any question that the school could insist it be taken down.

Which isn't to say that the student has no free speech rights. I suspect a strictly political site would be immune from school action, if it went to court.

Re:Even a public school . . . (1)

swimin (828756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511249)

Ummmmm .... Since when does only strictly political speech get the protection of the first amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

While that doesn't specifically say that states/local governments/schools must be held to this, the Fourteenth Amendment does:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.


I think it's pretty clear that the Constition specifically says that the government can't force the end of someone saying something bad about them (ie: a website saying bad things about the faculty).

Re:Even a public school . . . (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511510)

There's also this little piece that doesn't mention anything about any exceptions for schools or people under the age of 18:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Now think again if you believe the law can't make certain exceptions.

Re:Even a public school . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511841)

whats wrong with rifles in school? :D if every good teacher had a gun the columbine students wouldnt have gotten very far.

Re:Even a public school . . . (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511498)

There's a difference between what the law says, and what they ask students to sign an agreement for. If they law specifically prohibited certain actions, or authorized the school to prohibit them, they wouldn't need to get students to sign the paper to agree to not do those certain actions. Sure, if you do something that is illegal, and get caught, you're in trouble. And if it has something to do with the school, you can be in trouble with the school, too. If you're web site is just being critical of the school, administrators, janitor, faculty, or even other students, I think that is free speech. I also believe that extends to insulting. There are certain protections in the law with regard to libel, and speech intended to incite something wrong, so be careful. And of course don't use any school property or resources to do it, no matter how legal it is for you to do it at home.

WTF (0, Offtopic)

woolio (927141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511651)

--
4427007044615115050034854648525685871587 / 1409160108506276783085718440252375099653


What kind of sig is THAT?

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511690)

Not my sig, but it's a really good rational approximation to pi (3.14159...)

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511837)

Actually, it's 3.14159265.

Bah... I have no freaking clue (2, Informative)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511170)

What legal rights, if any, can the school use to ban someone from hosting a website? Furthermore, what rights does the U.S. Government have to censor such websites?

Bah.. There are probably plenty of Supremem Court cases related to this but without being a lawyer it's really hard to draw analogies. The closest argument I can find that seems to make sense is this link to a wikipedia article about public forums.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_forum [wikipedia.org]
PS. If you really want to find out who is right have your friend take the school to court and bring it all the way to the Supreme Court need be. Then you will really know.

The education act (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511172)

Most jurisdictions have some kind of Education Act. It basically says what the duties of schools are and what the duties and rights of everyone involved with the schools are. Some Acts are very detailed and some are not so. One of the things to check is if the school authorities have any responsibility for the students away from school premises. I've never seen one that gives the school any right to govern the students' behavior once they get home.

The school may have to educate you unless you can be suspended for something they have authority over. In most places this means that you can be a total criminal but they can't keep you out unless you do something they have authority over. In many places, if they don't feel like educating you, they have to pay for another jurisdiction to educate you. They really hate that.

There is something called a writ of mandamus which can force someone to do their duty. In this case, it would be educating you.

So, you have some weapons in your arsenal and if you're skillful, you can get the school to graduate you with straight 'A's just to get rid of you. I've seen students pull that one off. I think it helps to be a psychopath in that regard.

On the other hand, if you're like the rest of us, it will all blow up in your face. My advice is to let someone else raise shit for a while. Even if you use the stealth approach, they will guess it's you. Suddenly you start to get 'F's on essays that were worth an 'A'. It is hard to fight that kind of unfairness.

If you're sufficiently ticked off and you have evidence of severe wrongdoing on the school's part, talk to the local newspaper. There's nothing a slimy bureaucrat hates worse than the glare of publicity.

It depends (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511174)

As others have noted, you haven't told us the whole story, so it depends on that.

However, even assuming is was real simple, ie kid hosts site, school doesn't like site, school threatens kid, it still depends. What it depends on is if you mean what are they legally allowed to do, or what will they try to do and get away with. Legally they can't deny graduation for things not related to the school itself. That's why things like random drug test are always targeted at peopel who do extracurricular activities. They can make them consent in that case, but to try and say "you do it or you don't graduate" wouldn't work.

Ok fine, but that doesn't mean they can't TRY to stop him from graduating. They can refuse to issue a diploma, fail him in all his classes, expell him, whatever. When that happens, he then has to fight. If he's in the right he'll win eventually, but the question is one of if it's worth it. Would it be worth potentially putting your life on hold over a website?

So here's what I'd do, depending on the kind of person he is:

Just let it go. Who the fuck cares? Take the site down. If he really wants to put it back up, use a registrar that hides personal information as others suggested and ensure it can't be linked to him. Just give in, it's not a fight worth fighting.

Or, if he's not the give in type, go the revenge route. Your post implies graduation is something happening soon. So leave it alone for now, very soon the school has no say in your lives. When that happens, hit them back. I'm not going to bother listing all the perfectly legal things you could do to give them grief, I'm sure you can figure plenty out.

Now by the way, if the point of this proxy is to circumvent the school's rules on what you are allowed to access, then yes, they can punish you for that. Next time don't be idiots: Create a front site for it, use SSL and don't fucking tell people about it.

Re:It depends (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511881)

Contrary to what you said Sycraft-fu, we do have the whole story.
The original [proxy] domain was blocked by the censorship software the school uses, and it was changed a few times to get around this.
Translation: Someone(s) accessed the proxy from school, the school blocked the domain name, the proxy owner started playing cat & mouse with the domain name.

Someone(s) were circumventing the "censorship" (how is filtering boobies, at school, censorship?) software and the school wanted it stopped.

What the school did is emminently reasonable. The owner of the proxy (a student) undoubtedly signed an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) stating that they wouldn't even try to circumvent school filtering software. That's all the school needs to fuck with his graduation.

The fact that the kid didn't get smacked down the first time (or the second time) that he got caught suggests to me that the IT people were quite willing to let it go. On top of that, the school admin don't want to keep the kid from graduating, they just want him to stop.

I'm not sure how legit it is to force the kid to take the proxy down, but arguably (and realisticly), requiring that the proxy be taken down seems like the only way to guarantee compliance. (Why they didn't blacklist the proxy IP, we don't know)

Conclusion: Take it down & be glad they aren't slapping him around for the rule(s) he broke. And if you're going to do something illegal about it, do it while it's still on your juvenile record.

How can they keep you from graduating?! (1)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511182)

More importantly, how can a High School keep you from graduating if you're not breaking the law?

If you've completed your core requirements, they can't stop you from graduating...

School rules have little to do with laws (1)

TheStonepedo (885845) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511254)

Attendance is not a law, but there are in-house punishments for skipping class or being tardy. While detention makes sense and suspension for class-skipping definitely doesn't, that is not my point. You cannot graduate from many schools if you miss too many days of school. If you're over the age of 18 and enrolled in high school you will not be arrested if caught skipping school, but you will be kept from graduating if you do so often enough.

Re:How can they keep you from graduating?! (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511469)

If you stupidly signed that little piece of paper in which you agree not to do certain things (for which there is no law against, otherwise they wouldn't need this piece of paper to be signed) under penalty of not graduating, then yes, they can. So just don't sign it. Then they have nothing but what the law requires or prohibits of you or them. So just obey they law after you refuse to sign the paper and thus you give them no basis to deny you an education or to graduate if you complete the requirements to graduate. And if they try to pressure you with false threats of "we can prevent you from graduating" just cover your ears, close your eyes, jump up and down, and chant "no child left behind ... no child left behind ...". They hate that.

Local school board is not the U.S. Government (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511194)

I don't understand why the actions of a school board has anything to do with the U.S. Government.

Re:Local school board is not the U.S. Government (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511225)

the school board is a direct extension of state government

Re:Local school board is not the U.S. Government (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511301)

the school board is a direct extension of state government

To be clear, the "state" that a school board is a "direct extension of", is North Carolina, not the Federal Government of the United States of America.

here's your answer (1)

alizard (107678) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511460)

I don't understand why the actions of a school board has anything to do with the U.S. Government.

Because they accept Federal funding, mainly, though they are subject to other Federal laws by virtue of being an educational institution.

Re:here's your answer (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511643)

because they accept Federal funding

Federal funding of local schools is so small that it's laughable, it is the state that foots pretty much all of the bill. The majority of the control of a school district is usually very local, under the oversight of the particular state (North Carolina).

doesn't matter whether a school district (2, Informative)

alizard (107678) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511730)

accepts 10 cents or $10 billion, Federal money = Federal control. However, the average district gets more than 10 cents.
Although federal funding constitutes roughly seven percent of a school districts budget [66.102.7.104] , it is needed to fund increased costs for services that are attributable to rising student enrollment and inflation. A primary concern regarding federal funding for education programs appropriated by Congress each year is that the actual amounts fall below what has been designated, or authorized, under laws such as the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).. . ."

Laughable? You go tell a school board at a meeting that they really don't need 7% of their budget. While you might get laughter as a response, they aren't going to be laughing with you, they'll be laughing at you.

What are the school's stated policies? (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511205)

I don't think the school has much right to say that the student has to take down the proxy server. They would, however, be within their rights to ban accessing proxy servers for the purpose of bypassing system security. They could also enforce monitoring policies and take action based off of what the student was accessing. As an example, downloading porn is still downloading porn, proxy or no. If the student was accessing somthing that "shouldn't" be blocked, then there needs to be a mechanism for auditing the censorship list. Restricting access can be a tricky thing to defend. Personally, I think they need to have all users agree that the use of web access at school be for school related issues, and that there should be people appointed to override the system settings as needed (and update the settings). By ensuring that the system is used for sanctioned use rather than personal, a school can better manage their (undoubtedly limited) resources. Every kid screwing off on a system is another kid not able to do research or utilize tutoring software. Every dollar spent to protect against inside hackers is a not spent on new classrooms, teacher training or food programs.

Could our public schools use help with their handling of IT resources? Yes. But rebellious teenage students have as much to do with their issues as non-computer literate staffers.

They have no right. (4, Insightful)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511255)

Public schools should not use in school punishments for actions one takes outside of school. However, American school boards don't care much for the constitution. Administration views anyone who fights censorship and helps kids learn freely as more threatening then any violent offender. Your fried is lucky he wasn't expelled for running a proxy like I was. [textfiles.com] People concerned with these issues should get involved with peacefire [peacefire.org] .

Re:They have no right. (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15512041)

Hmm. If matters are that bad in American schools maybe the students should start employing cryptography - maybe by communicating via encrypted files or, more low-tech, exchange slips of paper with messages encrypted using a simple to remember cipher. Another way of keeping the messages secure could be the use of a non-standard alphabet, maybe a variant of the Alphabetum Maldeorum [wikipedia.org] .

If the teachers don't trust the students enough to let them speak freely then ahy should the students trust the teachers enough to let them understand what's being said?

As far as I know... (1)

hahafaha (844574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511264)

As far as I know, the school can decide what network traffic is allowed within their own network. They can block whatever they want, and they can punish people for breaking the policy for using the network. Thus (as someone else mentioned), if they are downloading pr0n, even using a proxy, they are still downloading pr0n.

However, it seems to me that the issue is that the school does not want the kid to have the proxy, period. Assuming he set it up and maintains it outside of school, they have no right to do that. They can punish him for using it, and they can punish others for using it, but they cannot punish him for keeping it.

My personal suggestion is to ignore the threats for a while. The school knows perfectly well that they can't do what they're doing, but they're hoping that the kid does not. Wait until graduation time is too close for comfort. If they are still serious, then sue them. Or at least threaten to sue them. There is no way that they can win.

Graduation threats are like bogus patents.... (2, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511279)

they are only as good as the legal battle that ensues.

Can a public school force a student to shut down a web site (even a site designed to circumvent the school's security)? No. Can the student be expelled for violating the school's computer use agreement? Yes.

If the school says shut it down or you won't graduate, the answer is to sue. The only reason why that "we won't let you graduate" arguement holds any weight is because students and their parents allow it to. Of course, challanging a school on that can get messy. If you remove their ability to threaten graduation, the only tools they have left (the correct ones!) are suspention and expulsion.

I got busted in high school also, with two of my friends. This was back in '95 or '96. To make matters worse, my father was the IT director for the school district. Luckily, I had a chance to clean up my tracks a bit prior to being busted (my friends were busted earlier in the day, and as I'm sure you are aware, news travels fast in HS). Both of them were suspended from school for a few days and we all lost our network access for the rest of the school year. We had to work on laptops or independant work stations the rest of the year.

So in short, he can keep his site, but he has to face the concequences of his actions. If the school makes a deal with him, shut down the site and we will drop any threat of non-graduation or expulsion, I'd say take it.

-Rick

Why Hello (1)

ThomasCJohnson (981603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511310)

What a surprise this is! I am one of several students that work on the wakefieldhs website, and I've known about this whole situation for a while. Frankly, I think it's the school's fault for not buying up .org, .com, etc. There are plenty of other proxy servers; this kid is just being punished because the administration can punish him. Also, what do you think of the website? We put a lot of time and effort into it.

I hosted a proxy server for school use only... (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511311)

It was pretty obvious that it existed only for the use of students of my high school. It was a CGIProxy running over HTTPS (so it was harder for them to use their usual filtering technique with SmartFilter). It was restricted so that only users from the school's IP address could use it (they used NAT). In its most popular/stable year, it lasted from September until March before the IP was blocked. I changed the IP address & DNS entry (I had a /29), and that lasted for about a month. At that point, I decided not to have the other 3 IP addresses blocked, and put a site telling people to give me money if they wanted the site back (so I could buy another block of IP addresses). Of course, no one cared.

I'm sure that the administration had known about it and would have found out who made it if they had spent thirty minutes asking about it -- it was popular to the point when people would try to tell me about it and asked if I knew who made it. I never really used the site myself, and never really advertised the fact that I ran it -- just told people about it as if I'd found it on the Internet. However, some people did know it was my site (including one teacher, who might've covered for me). I never lied about it to anyone -- I just didn't give any details unless asked. The site's popularity started really growing around January -- the server bandwidth graphs were a mirror image. At its peak, usage was close to 6MBit/sec. Most of the traffic was going to Myspace. (Had I blocked Myspace, the site would probably not have been so popular and wouldn't have been blocked.)

Oddly enough, the address shows up on Google, as a reply to some blog post about public proxies.

Our school's administration doesn't seem stupid when it comes to the Internet -- a couple years ago, there was an "anti-band" website. The website had many postings that would be very offensive to the band directors, as well as lots of swearing. A few students were suspended for accessing and posting guestbook entries on the site from school (they were given an alternative option to quit band). Those that ran the site were not punished at all, as they had broken no rules. They did, however, threaten in private to the site's creators to take away the next band Disney World trip if the site was not taken down. (It was down the next day.)

Re:I hosted a proxy server for school use only... (1)

strredwolf (532) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511637)

They did, however, threaten in private to the site's creators to take away the next band Disney World trip if the site was not taken down. (It was down the next day.)


That puts the school in a very legal grey area. I very much suggest consulting a lawyer.

Re:I hosted a proxy server for school use only... (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511715)

Well, this happened a few years ago... ...and how is it a grey area? The school band program is not required to take a trip to Disney World. They said they were going to
cancel the trip completely if the website wasn't taken down. Since the next trip was still 2 or 3 years away at that time, the next trip was not announced, planned, scheduled, or booked in any way. I doubt the Disney trip was codified by the school board or anything like that, so I don't see why the band directors would be obligated to organize the trip at all. I think they were right in saying that if the site wasn't taking down, they'd cancel (in other words, not organize) the next Disney trip. It wouldn't be fair to most of the band members, but the district and its employees are not obligated to be fair.

graduation vs. diploma (1)

alshithead (981606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511324)

As far as I know any public/private school can prevent you from attending graduation for any infraction. Preventing you from actually receiving a diploma is another story entirely. Arguably, the infraction in this case could be "conspiracy" to violate school rules.

Re:graduation vs. diploma (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511530)

This actually happened at my high school. Three students were denied access to the graduation ceremonies for having been caught smoking on school grounds the week before. They got their diplomas mailed to them a few days later, just like I did (I actually missed it because of illness, but I really didn't care).

Grow up (2, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511355)

First, public shool is paid for by public dollars for the express purpose of encouraging students to engage in activities that build the mind of said student. As such there are experiences that are considered to be of of a net benifit to the student, and therefore are encouraged, or at least allowed, and activities that are of little or no net benift, and therefore are prohbited. For instance, socialization is of a benifit to student, therefore social intercourse is allowed and encouraged. OTOH, sexual incourse is not so schools do not provide bedroom for student to penetrate each other, and in fact try to discourage such acts.

The end result of this is that not everything is allowed at school because not everything satisfies the constraints placed on the schol by the state and federal government. On of the consequences is that the internet is censored, which I believe is defensable, as opposed to censorship at the library which is not.

Second, consider this analogy. A student creates a secret location in an apparently disused locker to stash his personal supply of porno which he shares with a select group. A student outside the group finds out about the stash, and begins to not only use it for stashing porno, but do drug drops. The school finds out, and shuts down the drop. The student then forms another location, and again lets the secret out. Eventually the student is told to stop building drops or not graduate. Most would say this is a reasonable request.

Here is the issue with this kid. First, the proxy could only be construed as an attempt to circumvent school policy, which the kid agreed to follow by attending the school, and the parents agreed to support by enrolling the kid. As alluded to other posts, if the policies were a big problem, the kid could find a more accomodating private school.

It also sounds like the school reacted reasonably, until the student got greedy and started blabbing about the fact that he could surf porno, or whatever, at the school. Now, teens are the really jelous type and hate it when someone get extra rights. They will then do everything in thier power to either get those rights themselves, or make sure no ne has them. What probably happened in this case is the greedy crimanal, uh student, probably started giving other acess, which lead to everyone knowing, which lead to the shut down.

You see the school knows that students will test limits, and the school needs enforce them. This is normal, and nobody is the bad guy. The student is exersising creativity, the school is trying to educate the best it can. So the school gave a warning. The kid ignored it. The school gave another warning, tried to discourage the behavior, and the kid continued to ignore it. This is what is called insurbordination, and can get you fired from a job, with a bad reccomendation, and therefore schools try to teach kids not to engage in it, but as gently as possibe. At some point, however, the kid is just being mean and greedy and the discipline escalates. Such is life.

So, lets be clear. Schools are there for education, and necesarily limit what is allowed on campus. Somethings are tolerated because even if they are disruptive they have a net benifit. Many things are tolerated becasuse no one knows. A student could have cigarettes or even a gun as long as he or she did not brag about it.

In this case the student not only brought a gun to school but continued to do so even when told not to. The student not only brought a gun, but showed it to everyone and declared that it was a free speech right. Certainly the NRA would support the kid in that right, but most others would not.

Leaving the world of hyperbole, here is the deal. The school is not telling a student not to run a website. The school is merely moderating the disruption to the school day so that education can be had. For instance, the school might want students to use the internet to plagerise papers rather than surfing for porno. If this website is so critical to the health of the student body, student are perfectly free to browse the site at home, at the local public library, or on their phones. Free speech does not mean the government has to pay for the convenace of such speech.

The question I ask in these cases is this. A kid like this may not need an education and therefore acts out. However, there are others that do need and want an education, and are we to let thier education be destroyed because a single student is bored and does not have the creativity to express themselves peacefully?

Re:Grow up (2, Insightful)

hahafaha (844574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511391)

The question is not whether or not the school can block the website. They have full right to do that, and this is largely not disputed. What *is* disputed, is whether or not they can threaten him for running the proxy while not in school. The anwer is no, as far as I know, because he runs it outside of the school's power. Thus, while he is outside of the school's power, the fact that he is a student is irrelevant. It would be the same as them threatening a random person who has nothing to do with the school, but who runs a proxy server.

I do not think that they can keep him for graduating due to running a proxy server outside of school. They have no control there. What they can do is make an ammendment to their Acceptable Network Use Policy, saying that you cannot run proxy servers, and make everybody sign them.

Re:Grow up (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511507)

Read this part of the article carefully.

It ran for a few months, and others at our school found out about it. The original domain was blocked by the censorship software the school uses, and it was changed a few times to get around this

They did not initialy ask the student to stop the website, they merely blocked it, which you say they have the full right to do. Only after he engaged in premeadiated. willful, and repeated attempted to circumvent the filtering did the school escalate the consequences tha put his diploma in danger.

I don't know about you, but I think the school was being really cool. They could have done all sorts of things like expellng him for repeated misuse of school equipment or disruption of the classroom. They probably could have sent him to a month in some jail school, but they tried to reason with the kid. The kid was just too dense. So what hapens is that dense kids don't get diploma. Oh well, too bad, so sad. But this is not about running a website. This is about the school blocking a site, asking a student to behave, and the student refuseing to behave. Remember, no one initially asks the student to modify behaviour outside of school. If the kid has not changed domain names in an effort to circumvent the school filters, we cannot assume that their would have been any further actions.

If it were me, at this point I would not threaten the kids diploma. I would document the case and send it to federal court [eschoolnews.com] . I agree in most cases such action is contraindicated, but if a student is presistantly circumventing security measures, it is a defensible action.

Re:Grow up (1)

Chowderbags (847952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511508)

I severely doubt that they can do that, because that is an extension of school power outside of school grounds. They couldn't make that ammendment any more than they could make an ammendment to their policy stating that you have to wear a tutu every Saturday night.

It's a matter of overreaching their authority. The school has a say on school grounds and on school related activities (i.e. field trips and bus rides home). The school does not have authority over what a kid does in their house. If the kid is running anything illegal (which he isn't), then it's the duty of the police, and not the school. If the parents of the kid don't have a problem with it, then how can the school step in and stop it? They can't.

Re:Grow up (1)

rhythmx (744978) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511650)

As a matter of legality, (IANAL, etc..) the school has no power whatsoever to shut down any server that does not run on their own network. They also do not have the power to keep the student from hosting the server even if he signs a Acceptable Use Policy that says exactly that, because it is not a use of the school's network to do so. What they do have the power to do, however, is monitor his network usage to determine if he was using it as a means to cirumvent the in-place network restrictions. I'm guessing that probably he was. In that case they probably already have an AUP that he signed that says how they can punish him.

As a matter of practcality, the network restrictions that schools (and businesses) place on their network users can commonly be too extreme and disabling to advanced geeks. If you need you access, a proxy is a very good way because they are a grey area of sorts in terms of security. HTTP has been jokingly refered to as UFBP (Universal Firewall Bypass Protocol.)

At my previous job I found that their HTTP proxy server allowed SSH conections through it as long as the remote SSH daemon was listening on port 443. This allowed me access to my personal email, AIM, IRC, my files, and really anything considering SSH port forwarding but I never used it for anything malicious or perverted. I'm positive that they didn't mean to allow that but they (mis)configured it to allow it and nothing I signed disallowed it.

Anyway, the key thing is that if you need that access, don't tell anyone else how to get it. They'll likely never find out if you keep your secret (esp if you use SSL), and if they do they can really only ask you to stop because bouncing traffic is a grey area in most AUP contracts. You may gain popularity and/or cool points by giving out access to your goofy friends, but you will get shut down.

Re:Grow up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511463)

Nice comment about "teens these days". You really make yourself look mature when you degrade an entire generation of people.

Anyways,

>>The question I ask in these cases is this. A kid like this may not need an education and therefore acts out. However, there are others that do need and want an education, and are we to let thier education be destroyed because a single student is bored and does not have the creativity to express themselves peacefully?

I would think that stoping censorship through a website is very peaceful. And how exactly does it "destroy" the education of others?

mod parent down (1)

alizard (107678) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511491)

There isn't any insight here, just a semi-literate mess that isn't worth the trouble to deconstruct.

Using a "bringing a gun to school" analogy for an action that didn't take place on campus... whoever modded this up should apologize to the community for stupidity.

"Fermion", you should devote your efforts to getting an education for yourself from whatever middle school you are attending and not commenting on subjects you don't appear to know anything about based on your post.

Conspiracy (1)

zzatz (965857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511356)

A student has the right to do as he pleases with his own property outside of school. The school has the right to control the use of school property, setting policies on computer and network use. The school not only has a right to control use of their computers, but is obliged by law to control such use. They're dealing with minors, and minors must be supervised, in person or by technical means.

The school may not have any grounds for shutting down the student's computer. But if he set up a proxy to violate the school's policies for the use of the school's computers, then they certainly can revoke his school account. If he told other students about his proxy and allowed them to use it, then he has conspired to violate school policies, and all of the students involved should lose their accounts. You should be aware that conspiracy to commit a crime almost always carries a heavier penalty than the crime itself.

Now, you are talking about violated school rules, not laws. But the principle applies; conspiracy to violate school policies and rules will carry a stiffer punishment. The proxy may be private property and beyond school control, but the school has a legitimate interest in how the school's computers are used, and using a private proxy with school computers is no longer a purely private matter. Engaging in a conspiracy to violate school policies could well result in suspension, and possibly expulsion.

Welcome to the real world. When you get a job, if you violate company policies, you may be fired. Keep your private life separated from your work and school life. Just because you have an account doesn't mean you own that account. Anything on a work computer belongs to the company, and is NOT private. Get and use a personal Internet access account and use it for all personal email and downloading. The second that you download porn using a company computer, the company is liable for tolerating a sexually harrassing work environment - unless they fire your ass, which they will. The second that you download music or software using the company network, the company is liable to copyright infringement. Keep your music on your own devices, such as CDs or flash players, and don't EVER copy it to a company hard drive or network.

Don't put people into a position where smacking you down is a smaller problem than letting you continue. The school MUST control use of school computers, and failing to do so will create far larger problems than suspending a student. Firing an employee for violating company policies is far easier than settling harrassment or copyright infringement lawsuits. When you shit on people, don't be surprised when it comes right back at you. If you don't like surprises, think about the effect of your actions on other people before you act.

Re:Conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511502)

>>Welcome to the real world. When you get a job, if you violate company policies, you may be fired.

There's a big difference. In the "real world", you have the right to choose your job. You are not required by law to go to any job at all. You have choice, and when your employer does something that you feel is wrong, you can go to a different one. Children don't have that freedom, so schools should be very careful about their policies, which might as well be law for their students.

Re:Conspiracy (1)

zzatz (965857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511850)

Yes, children are required by law to attend school. And schools should consider their policies carefully.

Violating those policies also deserves careful thought. Enabling others to violate those policies deserves careful thought.

The student has every right to run a personal web site, and say what he wishes on it. Criticism of school policies on a private site is a matter of free speech. Violating school policies takes place on school property, using school resources, and is not a matter of free speech. The fact that the student may be required to attend school does not mean that he can do whatever he wishes with school computers.

He's not in trouble for running a proxy. He's in trouble for using it from school computers, and helping other students use it from school computers.

When I was young, I helped a friend take apart padlocks and figure how they worked. We figured out that there was a master key. All of this happened at his home, and would have gone without notice. However, he took the master key to school and opened the locker of another student. That happened at school, and violated school rules. May well have been against the law, too. He was suspended for what he did at school. I, however, was suspended for what I did at his home. I didn't open any lockers, or have a master key. Unfair? I did nothing wrong at school. He did. But I helped him do it, even though my help happened away from school. I never thought he would open other lockers, but I helped make it possible, so when he did, it was as if I had done it. I was part of a conspiracy to commit a crime.

I was curious, and wanted to understand locks. I had no interest in opening other student's lockers. But when my friend broke school rules by using a key that I had helped him make, I became part of his crime. I learned about locks, but the important lesson was about conspiracy. The important lesson was that when I acted with others in a group effort, then I was responsible for any and all of the actions of the group. I learned that thinking about how my actions affected me was not enough, that I needed to think about how others would respond to my actions. I learned that helping others do stupid things meant that I was acting as stupidly as they were.

I hope that this student has learned the right lessons. If you think that school policies are flawed, say so. You have the right to publish your thoughts, using your own resources. The school, however, has the right to control how school resources are used. Don't violate policies unless you are willing to pay the price. Helping others violate policies is the same as violating them yourself. Taking a moral stand means being willing to pay the price.

Link to the proxy site (1)

GraffitiKnight (724507) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511366)

Re:Link to the proxy site (1)

ThomasCJohnson (981603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511420)

I used it to read boing boing and other sites that are blocked for idiotic reasons. The negative connotation of CGI proxies isn't really fair.

Here's a little help (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511435)

When you want to get away with something like this, there's one thing you can do that will greatly increase the change you'll succeed:

Don't tell anyone about it.

Re:Here's a little help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511517)

Reminds me of the year local students got ahold of the administrator password to a school's Win2k machines. It starts with a handful of people, they tell friends, they tell more people, eventually it's totally out of hand.

I'm surprised the IT staff wasn't fired for such an incredibly slow response to the problem - it went on for months. Over the summer, the password was changed, and the machines re-imaged. And yet, thanks to the solid construction of Windows - the students didn't need admin privleges anyway, as they found in later years.

Mention the phrase 'magnifico' around here, and you'll surely get a chuckle (or a facepalm) from the tech crowd.

I'm surprised... (1)

cpsc2005 (629087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511474)

When I went to my mom's elementary school to help her move stuff out at the end of the year, I used her computer for the internet. I wanted to pop on over to gmail because I was working on an interview for a job. I loaded IE and got presented with some log in screen. I then pulled out my jump drive, stuck it in, and loaded Portable Firefox. I got all the webaccess I wanted, no proxy, no login screen, and a browser I actually knew how to use.

It's good to know the safety of the kids in my mom's school district is thwarted by using something else than IE.

The best thing to do (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511488)

is keep the proxy down, for the rest of the year watch your p's and q's graudate, and forget it ever happened. If they're not going to put it on your record then you should be okay for college too. BUT, if you do to go to college, I wouldn't try this shit there. It's a little more serious there where it can and will haunt you the rest of your career life.

Oh and the paypal link on the site. That's nice.

Deja Vu.... (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511514)

I had a friend in HS who also hosted a proxy. Before he was in my school, I used to use I think diebess or bessswatter proxy or something like that to get past the bess web content blocker (damn bitch *bess's logo is a dog*). I told him about it, he put one up for himself, and gave me the address he was using so I could use it too since I gave him the idea.

Why not ask someone who knows? (2, Insightful)

EvilMagnus (32878) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511538)

Find a lawyer, file a lawsuit and find out.

Chances are the District will settle for enough money for you to pay for college. As far as I know, schools have very little say in what you do when you're not at school, so long as it's not illegal.

Now, they could probably say "don't go to that proxy during school hours, from school computers," and they'd probably be on good ground. But to ask you to take the proxy down or not graduate? Ground less stable, methinks.

But as I said; find a lawyer, file suit, find out. Let us know how it goes!

The Insiders Story (2, Insightful)

Opsive (948514) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511590)

I figured that since I was the previous lead webmaster for WakefieldHS.net (just graduated today!) and know (almost) the whole story behind this, I have to comment.

I first saw the proxy [wakefieldhs.org] that WakefieldHS-students is referring to over a month ago. In order to use the proxy you had to create an account. I never actually used the proxy, but I saw numerous people using it. The most viewed site by far was Myspace, I never did see anybody looking at porn on it but it probably happened.

Anyways, after it got to the point that practically everybody in the school knew about it, I asked an administrator about it and if they were going to do anything about it. When I asked that administrator about it I wasn't sure if they had heard of the proxy yet or not, but they had, and one of them even had an account. Well, at that time, they where just going to let it go. It hadn't got to the out of control point yet. A couple of weeks ago an administrator talked to me saying that they were going to block it, and if I could see any reason not to block it. So of course, I didn't see any reason not to block it and it was blocked within the hour.

Since then, I didn't hear anything about it, I wasn't expecting to. But then one of the other webmasters of WakefieldHS.net emailed me a link to this article. I don't know anymore of the rest of the story than what was posted here and what was on wakefieldhs.org. But I do know that the person who was running the proxy was a senior and he graduated today (I don't know him personally, but he was listed as a graduate).

So that's the story, hope it clears some things up.

Same Situation: Use a Disclaimer (1)

wsidegangstarr (981592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511598)

I myself own a website which features a proxy and am a highschool student. In order to prevent legal actions and/or other reprocussions from my school, I used a disclaimer. My disclaimer reads as follows:
By using this service, you signify agreement to the following terms and conditions. You, the user, take all responsibility for any and all use and/or abuse/misuse of the service. By agreeing to these terms, you release wsidegangstarr.be, the webmaster, admin, staff, and owner of any and all liability that might result from improper use of the service. If you work for, or are in any way affiliated with any school corperation, with the exception of students, you must leave now. You will not use the service for any illegal activies, and take all responsibility for your actions. Wsidegangstarr.be does not condone use of this service for tunneling through content monitoring technologies or software. Click PROCEED to accept the terms and continue or you must leave this page
Then enable hotlink protection for the page which has the disclaimer (assuming it's cgiproxy or phproxy). Remove all other links to the proxy except the "PROCEED" button. This ensures that users must accept the agreement to use your proxy.

As far as I know, the school can only take actions against those who use the proxy at school. The disclaimer clearly states that use to bypass content filters is not condoned. If all else fails, I could allow you and you friends to use my site. Then you wouldn't have any liability at all. If you need further information or help, contact me.

Re:Same Situation: Use a Disclaimer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511746)

So I assume you fully comply with all click through licenses YOU "agree" to? Yeah, I thought so. Your pathetic "disclaimer" is about as effective as disclaimers on warez sites that say: "you agree that you are not a member of any law enforcement agency. LOL!!! Too bad pigz0rs!!!"

Re:Same Situation: Use a Disclaimer (1)

wsidegangstarr (981592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511835)

Actually, by agreeing to a license, you certify your compliance to it. The biggest goal of the disclaimer is to make sure the users have in some way accepted responsibility for their actions. With this being the case, the school can't try to discipline you for others using the service. They may still try to punish you for running the site, but they can't lay blame on you for the content accessed through they site by another student.

Awww, rich kid busted for using proxy, how sad. (4, Insightful)

Associate (317603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15511667)

Couldn't wait to get home to update your myspace account?
They blocked Fark where I work for pornographic reasons. You know what I do? I wait til I get home.
Face it. You got caught. You should have given up the first time. Repeatedly moving it just makes you look guilty. Guilty of what? Not running a proxy. Guilty of using school resources inappropriately. See http://www.wcpss.net/Technology/pdf/6446.pdf [wcpss.net] I think anyone who reads it will agree that regarless of their support of the rules or lack there of, you did in fact break the rules. Better you learn now at an early age there are consequences for your actions. You can't disregard rules you don't like and expect nothing negative to happen to you. Wait until you get to college. No one there will give a rats ass about you. You will be expected to do things you don't like. When you fail, you fail you, not some well meaning underpaid teacher. Best thing you could do right now is admit to your mistake and suck up the consequences.

Odd, that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15511821)

I see alot of comments about kids looking at porn at school. The assumption that this happens with any frequency is absurd. I have never see anyone looking at porn in school. In fact, the worst thing I have see are the people who cling to MySpace like some kind of crack addiction. I go to this school, and have used this proxy on more than one occasion to visit otherwise blocked sites, that often have little or no relavence to the catagory under which they were filtered.

Does anyone see the problem with filters when there is a catagory for opinion sites?

Yes, I don't have a problem with the blocking of pornography at school. That is backed up by law. I don't even have problems with myspace being blocked, as it wasn't very well designed to begin with.

The fact of the matter is this: Kids are not inherently evil people, trying to corrupt others with our bad influence of free information. This site was not created to destroy the moral values of society, or to encourage access to pornography.

If you look closely at the proxy site itself, it does not focus on the proxy. In fact, the accounts all have a profile, and there is a messaging system in place. It is a incomplete approximation of myspace. It does not encourage proxy use. In fact, the link is hidden from those who arn't registered, and even then, it is at the bottom of the page.

Contact the ACLU (3, Informative)

DerKlempner (249063) | more than 8 years ago | (#15512024)

Fifteen years ago, my best friend was in a similar situation. Two weeks until graduation and a suspension rolls in for distributing our homemade "newspaper." The suspension was a temporary punishment while the school tried to start expulsion hearings based on the fact that the school faculty didn't like what was printed in the newspaper. We contacted the ACLU and immediately had a representative at the school's expulsion hearing. The school didn't like to hear an ACLU lawyer telling them how they were going to be sued for denying two constitutional rights of free speech and free press. Three days after the initial suspension, my friend was back in school and went on to graduate.

The events weren't even placed in his school records.

If you think the school is trying to quash the rights of free speech and ideas, then by all means contact your local ACLU representatives. They'll help you fight against the the school's attempts to punish you if it's unconstitutional.
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