×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

School District Sued By ACLU Over Student's Free Speech Rights

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the watch-how-you-play dept.

Facebook 466

An anonymous reader writes "The ACLU is suing Minnewaska Area Schools and Pope County, according to this article in the StarTribune. At issue: school administrators and a sheriff's deputy forced a girl to hand over login information to her Facebook and email accounts, after she posted on Facebook that she 'hated' a school hall monitor who had been 'mean' to her, and cursed in a separate Facebook comment because someone reported her. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and an order that would restrain school officials from attempts to regulate or discipline students based on speech made outside of school hours and off school property."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

466 comments

What about the parents? (5, Insightful)

Lord Juan (1280214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284967)

I mean, what in the world are the school administrators thinking? That parents are not going to care if they force their daughter to give them their log in information to their personal accounts?

Re:What about the parents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284979)

The problem is, they obviously weren't.

Re:What about the parents? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285027)

Yep that right [hit-jeux-gratuits.com]

Re:What about the parents? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284991)

Right? School administrators and teachers are, more than most, too familiar with the legal dangers of everything they say and do. It boggles the mind that some would step so clearly out-of-bounds and risk something exactly like this, over something so ridiculous.

Re:What about the parents? (5, Insightful)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#39286017)

Yea, they are so worried over a kid hurting themselves that they take away the monkey bars, or sand pit; but see no issues with forcing them to hand over login creds, or activating webcams in supplied laptops.

Re:What about the parents? (3)

EnempE (709151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285025)

Maybe they were to busy getting a 9mm and some hollow points to perforate her notebook for sounding off on facebook again.

Free speech aside, don't you USAns have a constitutional right to not incriminate yourself ?

Re:What about the parents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285061)

There is no such thing as a "USAn"

Re:What about the parents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285101)

No such thing as constitutional rights, either. That's an old fairy tale.

Re:What about the parents? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285423)

No they are for real. What threatens them are retarded comments like the one above.
If you ask me the people we really have to fear are the corn-fed over-medicated
cattle that are too chicken-shit to demand their rights and that makes the abusers
just like those scumbags at that school only bold and bolder.

Re:What about the parents? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285107)

We don't want to call them Americans, it offends the Latinos. Also, the Canadians.

Re:What about the parents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285177)

It offends SOME Canadians.

Others approve of the implied separation from the rest of the continent.

Re:What about the parents? (-1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285407)

Others approve of the implied separation from the rest of the continent.

SRSLY? I know a few descendants of the Americans (i.e. "Indians" or Native Americans) who disapprove of referring to all USAns as "Americans"'.

Re:What about the parents? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285705)

UMMM we are the only country called America. You know thats the name right? we are the United States of AMERICA. The of part is the key here.

Re:What about the parents? (2)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#39286019)

Actually, the "of" is an implicit acknowledgement that the part preceding it is a subset of something greater.

If you're going to be a pedant, at least get it right.

Re:What about the parents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39286057)

Say, just wondering, but, since illegal Mexican immigrants are beginning to leave the U.S., rather than face legislation in a state they settle in, are they leaking into Canada? I figure there is a chance, because if you can think of it, there is a demographic that has you covered. Does the future hold Modelo rather than Moosehead?
Will there be a new subculture of French-Mexican hybrids demanding Espanol in schools. Sure they tend the farms and weed the rape so we can all enjoy Canola, but will they displace jobs? Will their brightly colored, over dressed pickup trucks frighten the Mounties horses? Just what would the Canadians do if the wind blew the Mexicans north, rather than south?
Curiosity is just eating me....

Re:What about the parents? (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285445)

I've never met a Mexican or Canadian who was offended by referring to citizens of the USA as "Americans". It's the most logical thing to call a person from the USA. It is also clearly distinct from Continental references, which would logically have the "North" or "South" prefix.

It's also the convention in every language I've ever heard. Why change something that works?

Re:What about the parents? (2, Insightful)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285579)

Spanish for persons from the US is 'Estadounidoestes." Thank you for playing, please try again.

Re:What about the parents? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285625)

That's in Spanish dumbass. Sort of like how in English we call Germans Germans rather than the more appropriate term. But don't let me stop your bigotry.

Re:What about the parents? (1)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39286031)

Sort of like how in English we call Germans Germans rather than the more appropriate term.

That term being...?

Re:What about the parents? (1)

RealUlli (1365) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285847)

I've never met a Mexican or Canadian who was offended by referring to citizens of the USA as "Americans".

I have. She lives in Mexico and preferred to call the folks north of the border "USians". Not sure what they're called in Mexican, we were talking English...

Re:What about the parents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285455)

They're idiots. In a national context the term is American for people that have citizenship in the US. Despite what bigots from other parts of the super continent might think, there's rarely if ever a legitimate reason for using American in a different context.

Re:What about the parents? (5, Informative)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285643)

They're idiots. In a national context the term is American for people that have citizenship in the US. Despite what bigots from other parts of the super continent might think, there's rarely if ever a legitimate reason for using American in a different context.

Considering Mexicans are citizens of Los Estados Unidos de Mexico (aka United States of Mexico), and Canadians are citizens of a place called Canada (formerly the Dominion of Canada, it stands to reason that citizens of the United States of America would be referred to as Americans.

Re:What about the parents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285983)

So, what would you call people from the Americas? You know, North- and South America?

Re:What about the parents? (1)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39286037)

North Americans / South Americans? I don't think we need an extra term for "someone from either North or South America".

Re:What about the parents? (3, Insightful)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285849)

Americans is the accepted term. Using any other term like USian or USAn is idiotic and tries to solve a problem that does not exist.

It is always clear from context that Americans refers to people from the USA, not lease because it is the only country that has the word America in it's title. Mexico doesn't count as we are talking about English here.

In the rare times you need to refer to people from both north and south America it will be clear from the context, otherwise prefixing north or south to Americans makes it clear.

There is really no problem to be solves except by pissy PC people who think the US somehow claimed a title it doesn't deserve.

disclaimer: not american in any sense of the word.

Re:What about the parents? (4, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285147)

Yeah, but this isn't even about that. A school isn't a court. If she'd refused to give them any information, what could they do - jail her for Contempt of Principal?

Re:What about the parents? (5, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285293)

dunno.. call the deputy? that's what they did anyways? and the deputy promptly went and gave access to the school "officials" to those accounts.

the deputy should be fired and the school staff too. they fucked up.

Re:What about the parents? (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285373)

the deputy should be jailed

EFA. I mean, after a fair and impartial trial, which is more than this girl got.

Re:What about the parents? (2)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285447)

They could suspend her, expel her, give her detention, etc.

Re:What about the parents? (2, Insightful)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#39286043)

And then they could be rightfully sued for any of those punishments as well. The issue in dispute here is whether a school administrator has the power to punish speech which is engaged in outside of a school-controlled environment.

If they have the legitimate power to punish this then students have no other rights either, whether at school or not. Since speech and behavior codes in a school do not distinguish between staff, students, and visitors, it means they are claiming the authority to punish a student for any speech, in any context, at any time. No, they're not doing it explicitly, but it is certainly implied based on the logic they use to enforce rules in this manner.

Re:What about the parents? (4, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285659)

Yeah, but this isn't even about that. A school isn't a court. If she'd refused to give them any information, what could they do - jail her for Contempt of Principal?

Nothing, but it is a 12-year old girl. If they had invited one of her parents (in addition to the sheriff's deputy), the parent would certainly tell them to shove it. A 12-year old girl is easy to intimidate.
I think every administrator involved should be re-purposed to janitorial duty as a more appropriate venue. I do hope ACLU includes that in their lawsuit demand.

Re:What about the parents? (2)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285961)

I send my kid to private school, there school explicitly states that they will not let anyone police included speak with my child without first contacting me for my approval. This should be a basic rule, these guys should be canned and sued for such idiocy.

Re:What about the parents? (5, Funny)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285275)

Free speech aside, don't you USAns have a constitutional right to not incriminate yourself ?

Yes, that twelve year old girl folded like a little girl. She's a wimp. That's mostly the parents fault of not training her properly. When I have kids, they'll be able to survive police intimidation and interrogation techniques by the time they're three years old. In fact, the first word they'll learn won't be "Mama" or "Papa", it will be "IwantMyLawyerImNotTalkingToYouPigs".

Re:What about the parents? (4, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285301)

Ambassador Londo Mollari: My shoes are too tight and I have forgotten how to dance.

I believe that quotes sums it up. The people involved have committed a great evil to someone less powerful than themselves, preying on the very being they were charged to protect; but it doesn't matter to them, because they've already forgotten what it was like to be a child.

No doubt the kid will continue to be ridiculed and besmirched for some time, and the wounds will heal, leaving only scars. A few decade's time, she will want to become a teacher / administrator, so she can right the wrongs of her predecessors; and after many years of being pushed around by a system that frankly doesn't care about her now anymore than it did when she was a child, the light will go out in her soul at an inopportune time, during which she will commit a similar act to some young thing, and the cycle will begin anew. She will realize her mistake all too late to correct it, and spend the rest of her life trying to come to terms with an opportunity come and gone.

I wish I had advice to dispense here, but I haven't found any that works in circumstances like these. I'd like to say that something will come from this, that there will be no scars, that good will triumph over evil, that everyone will learn some sort of valuable lesson, and that it will be the right one, but experience has taught me that good only triumphs over evil in fairy tales.

Re:What about the parents? (1)

major_fault (1384069) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285687)

Such things heal better when there are people to remind that she was done wrong. The cycle can be broken.

this is strange (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284993)

I dont why but this sueing thing is kinda strange [hit-jeux-gratuits.com] i think

Fire them All (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285017)

Everyone that thought it was a good idea to try and extract passwords from the girl should be fired and permanently banned from taking any tax payer money, for the rest of their lives. The people that hired them, should be fired and banned for 3 years. I bet, in a very short order, we could put an end to this foolishness.

Oh, oh, me too! (4, Funny)

neiras (723124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285031)

I hate Anonymous Cowards. Also, the fucking mods are mean to me.

Tee hee.

Re:Oh, oh, me too! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285131)

Well we love you.

School children act like apes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285145)

Monkey see, monkey do.

Re:Oh, oh, me too! (0)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285285)

I hate Anonymous Cowards. Also, the fucking mods are mean to me.

Tee hee.

Hand over your password. IMMEDIATELY!!

Also hand over your facebook, orkut, twitter, Google+, redtube accounts and their passwords along with your Smartphone, Debit Cards, Credit Cards, urine sample, blood sample, sperm sample, DNA analysis reports. RIGHT NOW!!!

ACLU (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285039)

Sometimes the ACLU's actions make me roll my eyes, but on this one, they're right. Seems to me the school's personnel took their petty authority way too far. Off school property, on a website not controlled by the school. GET 'EM, ACLU! Give 'em HELL!

Re:ACLU (5, Insightful)

madhi19 (1972884) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285169)

It the sheriff's deputy action that I found weird and mostly inexcusable of all peoples the cop should have been the voice of reason and told the Principal that he was treading in murky water to say the least.

Re:ACLU (5, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285661)

Sometimes the ACLU's actions make me roll my eyes, but on this one, they're right.

Why is it that so many posts praising the ACLU in any way contain this kind of ritual disclaimer? Can you give actual examples of some of the eye-roll-inspiring things the ACLU has done, or is it just "I've heard they're a liberal organization, and liberals are icky"?

Freest country in the world (5, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285045)

Whenever I hear Americans make that claim, I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.

I had school teachers who thought it was their job to teach the kids how to stand up for themselves and how to stand up to authority. Including theirs.

Re:Freest country in the world (5, Interesting)

sosume (680416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285083)

In this regard (free speech being regulated by schools, universities, employers, etc) the US is starting to look a lot like former Eastern Germany. I mean, like in this movie http://imdb.to/2fC1aE [imdb.to] I find it really hard to understand how the US justifies this spying on each other's thoughts.

Re:Freest country in the world (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285105)

US citizens seem to be conditioned to be cattle today. And while there is the occasional resistance, as in this story, most seem to be willing to just take it.

Re:Freest country in the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285345)

Maybe it is just where I grew up and how long ago it was. I assure you that officially students have a lot more free speach than when I was in school. "Damn" would get you a trip to the office. Any word that you could not say on TV would get you at least a warning and a note home. Early in elementary school the girls were not allowed to wear pants unless it was below 0F outside. We had no access to desktop publishing or anything short of marking the walls of the restrooms.

"Different is dead" had a meaning that I don't think any student today can understand unless you have a poorly administered school. If I got ahead in class, most of the teachers would go out of there way to punish advanced students publicly. 7th and 8th grades seemed to be a place where they tried to shove everyone together one last time.

We did talk however but we looked over out sholders while we did it.

The teachers would sometime even strike the students and i have seen a couple of times where angry teachers picked up students by there clothes and shook them while yelling at the top of thier lungs.

Now get off my lawn.

Re:Freest country in the world (4, Interesting)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285769)

Same up here in Canada. My High School (grades 8-12, ~250 students) was mostly farm kids. The teachers were mostly unqualified or should at the least never have been allowed to teach. The overwhelming pressure from the students was such that if you were too smart you would often find yourself being beaten up. Some sample moments from my school:
* The math teacher teaching grade 12 math was living with one of his female students. She got straight A's of course.
* The grade 9 English teacher I had, had to the best of my knowledge no teaching credentials. He had been hired before they were required. He taught English and the Agriculture courses (we had a barn attached to the school). He liked to separate his class into 2 halves - those he liked (farmer's kids) and those he didn't (anyone unusual, males with long hair (this was the 70's). The first group was referred to as the Wolves (or something like that) the second as the Rabbits (or something like that). Essays written by Rabbits got written up on the board so we could review them word by word in class.
* Grade 10 English teacher. She was nice but was qualified to teach Phys Ed and Biology. They hired here but then had her teach English. I ended up teaching most of the grammar lessons because she didn't understand it at all.
* Chem teacher 10-12. He was an alcoholic type, and we students periodically met him in the local bar after class. He delivered all his lectures via overhead projector and never looked at students most of the time.
* Our guidance counselor was a bitter ex-nun. She hated the students I suspect. I know she told me that I was "too stupid to go to university, you should go learn welding or something".
* We had a music teacher who lived near the school. He would regularly hold all-night parties featuring mostly free booze and weed. He invited a lot of the band students to these parties, particularly the young females.

Nothing was ever done about these situations sadly.

Re:Freest country in the world (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285387)

It's a State that indoctrinates children to swear allegiance to it. That's really all that you need to know.

Re:Freest country in the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285389)

Whenever I hear Americans make that claim, I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.

That was also my first thought.

A school administrator goes to a female student here and tells her to give up his facebook pass and there are only three possible results:
- He gets laughed at.
- He gets laughed at and he finds his car burning that very afternoon.
- He gets laughed at and later that week the girl's big brother, with a couple of friends, send him to the hospital to meditate on his inclinations.

Re:Freest country in the world (4, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285677)

Freest country in the world... Whenever I hear Americans make that claim, I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.

I fail to see your point. This was a shitty thing that someone did and they will be smacked down by ACLU. Your comment would be appropriate if this was an accepted behavior with no recourse.

Re:Freest country in the world (3, Interesting)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39286065)

Exactly. The US is not free because no one tries to curtail our freedoms. The US is free because when people try to curtail our freedoms we have strong recourse. Now, in recent times our recourse has been more and more restrained, but there are two boxes left that we haven't been using very much: jury and ammo. The US needs a larger, more concerted push at jury notification.

What are the adults' priorities? (5, Interesting)

bughunter (10093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285085)

This is disturbing not necessarily because of the password coercion, but because of the entire premise. What are the school administrators, the parents, and the entire adult community *thinking* when they make such a big friggin deal about "I hate you" comments that are clearly just juvenile emoting? Why are they getting involved in such petty hall locker politics to begin with?

Did they never mature past a high school emotional age?

Were they itching to make an example of someone?

Do they have some policy or quota that they need to demonstrate compliance with?

In other words, it's just like when my wife flips out after I leave dirty socks on the floor. The socks aren't the real problem; something else is. She's been bottling it up, and the socks were just the trigger for some other pent up stress... it may or may not be something I did, but it certainly means there's something I need to fix. In the same sense, something else is going on in Minnewaska... something else that needs fixing. And it's not middle school drama.

Re:What are the adults' priorities? (4, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285155)

They are thinking that the columbine kids said they hated people too. And that the admins from that school have a terrible reputation for failing to pay attention to a serious problem.

Re:What are the adults' priorities? (2)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285755)

The mind well and truly boggles as to why they didn't contact the parents. School punishment is pretty much limited to detention and even that has to be with parental consent. Beyond that, it really is impossible to imagine what got into those idiots heads. This is what happens when you have county rather than state managed schools. Lack of reasonable sensible management principles across the whole state. Tiny nothing local admin drunk on their own power over children.

The ultimate punishment by a school is to require a meeting between the school principle, the parent and the child. So that issues can be resolved prior to suspension and detention.

My special snowflake (3, Interesting)

bradley13 (1118935) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285543)

Too many parents think that their child is a special snowflake. They must protect their snowflake from having any negative experiences, like having another kid dislike them. Their special snowflake is not supposed to grow up, and not excepted to actually be able to cope with such traumatic thins as having some other kid actually disliking them.

Of course, it goes without saying that no one else's kid is as special a snowflake as your own - it's absolutely fine to traumatize other kids, in order to protect your own.

The next generation of Americans will have a huge challenge to overcome their upbringing...

Re:What are the adults' priorities? (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285609)

Years and years of political pressure for "zero tolerance," a.k.a. "zero intelligence." The idea that most of the things kids get up to are individual incidents and should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis is anathema to this mentality. But it sells well to parents (until their kids get caught up in it, anyway), to legislators, and to voters in school board elections.

Re:What are the adults' priorities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285657)

It is too the freek'n socks you insensitive clod. What say you pick up your sock and then we'll talk. I can't be more clear. I'm sayin it loud and clear, in simple sentences the dog could understand. It is the sock! I'm not you freek'n mother. And you wonder why your sleeping on the couch.

Incredible (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285087)

They can force somebody (does not matter whether it is a child) to hand over credentials without a court order? Sounds like any totalitarian regime out there. This should get those responsible into really hot water, including criminal penalties.

Re:Incredible (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285171)

Fairly sure they can't. Unfortunately, most kids aren't legal experts so they can't tell when people in authority are breaking the law. (With a few exceptions, of course, which are usually awesome to read about.)

Re:Incredible (4, Insightful)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285921)

And the correct fix for this is to fire the involved parties with cause. To insure that that principle and cop never work in there respective fields again. They each knew what they were doing and exceeded there powers. Hell the principle should have been informing the kid that they did not need to talk to the officer without there parents and should not do so, they have a responsibility to act in the parents stead in there absence, that's where a lot of there powers come from in the first place.

Re:Incredible (1)

madhi19 (1972884) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285205)

How hard could it be for a cop and a school principal to intimidate a 12 years old? These guys should be way proud of themselves!

Re:Incredible (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285875)

No, they can't, and they're going to get in trouble for this. It's just a shame it probably won't be the kind of trouble that requires their resignation. The problem is this was a 12 year old girl who was being intimidated by school staff (and apparently a police officer). Of course she's going to give up the info because she's too young to know any better.

Anonymous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285117)

The audacity. I am shocked to see not just school officials, but law enforcement entangled in abusing the 1st and 4th amendment rights to further something that they had no groundwork butting into in the first place! Having done this to the extent they have, I have no doubt they have experience having done it before and would of continued to do so until the ACLU stepped in.

Cheers for the article. I wish the girl and her family good luck and happiness after this public humiliation and obvious abuse of her constitutional and human rights.

Re:Anonymous (2)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285379)

*shrugs*

Under the current thinking, a child can be charged as an adult if a crime is considered heinous enough, but denied its rights up until its 18th birthday. In short, if you're a kid, the State isn't really sure you have any rights. One might argue that it would have been particularly noble of an adult to have stepped in, and prevented this abuse, but nobility / honour is kind of out of fashion. Bowing to your leaders and their demands (thinking is hard), dogmatically agreeing with everything they say (spine of a jelly-fish), and fighting over their scraps is the current in-thing (if we are good, we might be able to ask for a small favor later on).

For the record, we also send off kids to die before they're old enough to drink, have a permanent caste system, and we attack / infiltrate groups of people who have never spoken an ill word nor lifted a finger against us. We put the vile in evil.

 

Damned if they do damned if they don't (5, Insightful)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285199)

Welcome to the New American Nanny State.

Right now, schools are under heavy pressure to reduce "bullying". The politicians and money groups have seized on an issue that is easy to win over the hearts of American voters and donors. That's why "bullying" is such a hot issue right now and gets tons of media coverage.

Kids talking about sex, something mentioned in the article as being another reason why the police and school went after this student, is another always hot issue especially with American "conservatives". We must avoid talking to children or exposing them to sex at all costs.

So we have a school where a kid is accused of bullying, and also talking about sex, on Facebook. The school knows if it does nothing they'll get blasted by moms, and the media, about how they failed to protect other children from bullies and perverts. They let a student make hate speech and promote sex talk amongst pre-teens or whatever. But if the school acts then they'll get blasted by people who think that the schools should mind their own business and let the parents handle things. And we know how well parents handle things in modern America.

Instead of finding a middle ground, the school feels the pressure from all sides and.....calls the cops. Huge overreaction in hindsight of course but they must have felt at the time that it was warranted.

But seriously? A kid can't say that they hate their teacher anymore? A kid can't talk about sex with another kid? When I was in school it didn't matter if a kid said he hated a hall monitor or a teacher. Most of the teachers had been around long enough to recognize which kids disliked them. And most of my teachers could tell which boys and girls had started puberty earlier than others because we behaved much differently around the opposite sex. Times have changed.

The school should have just called the student's mother or father and said "some kid tattled on your kid, it's not a big deal, but you should monitor your kid's facebook and just check to see if they are doing anything that is inappropriate". No cops. No teachers. No detention even. Let the parents do their jobs.

Re:Damned if they do damned if they don't (1)

Pool_Noodle (1373373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285619)

There's a Fundamental breakdown with letting the 'Parents Do Their job' and that is that Most Parents won't, they're too busy buying their kids the latest toys to keep them occupied. As a matter of fact now, its becoming more common for kids to call the cops on their parents when they don't get their way (I wish I had a specific reference for this point, anyone), or for parents to become infuriated when their kids get into trouble (recently heard a story on the news regarding parents of children who were arrested drinking, infuriated at the sheriff - one father's comment to his son was "why didn't you run ?"). But this does not give the school district the right to do what they did either, they violated at least 3 of these kids rights with one action. Even if they did locate any information off Facebook it would be Inadmissable in a court case, so why was it done, seems to me the school was forced into reinforcing some position or opinion at the cost of trampling on civi liberties. Its a damn shame, but I don't think it will last we hear. --My 2 Cents

Re:Damned if they do damned if they don't (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285735)

+1 for a think of the children post done right. People, this is what thinking of the children is all about. If you want to know what it's like when someone really thinks of the children, here it is.

On the other hand... (1, Redundant)

boef (452862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285211)

I agree that NO ONE should be able to force you to hand over your account details... I think they should have just had her Facebook account suspended for breaking the T&C's. I could of course be wrong, but don't have to agree that you are over 13 years of age (she was not) when you create a Facebook account?

ACLU should win this easy (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285223)

Public school officials are known to power trip so much. To some people power tripping, they don't care about the law of the land, they just want to punish the person they think is doing something wrong.

Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285243)

It's about time that school officials realize their authority ends at the end of the school zone. In my high school it was a serious offense to post anything against a teacher. An entire class of students was given multiple detentions for a group called "X Teacher's Name's Essay Suck".

Shameless.

What can happen to a naughty little girl... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285319)

Someday we'll end up with this. Keep in mind shit like this has happened before:

A few years after the WW-II a young teenage girl called Erika Riemann defaced the moustache on picture of Stalin at school in then soviet occupied Germany. She got ratted out and then they sent her to Sachsenhausen, a nazi concentration camp the soviets had reactivated. She spent 8 years there where she was continously brutally raped by the guards who knocked her front teeth out in one episode.

Kids - if this happens to you... (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285359)

I'd encourage using facebook's terms and conditions as the reason not to give out your password.

"You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account."

It's not ideal. The administration shouldn't ask in the first place, but it's a means you can employ to protect your privacy.

more post columbine paranoia (2)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285451)

Rational adults know that just because a kid says something bad about a teacher doesn't mean the student's out to do the teacher harm. So why do most school policies nowadays attribute any attitude short of sunshine and happy unicorns to be evidence of mental problems worthy of nuke-it-from-orbit 'solutions'? The most obvious conclusion is that it's the school trying to save face when the student gets too close to the truth for their comfort, so they play out the zomg-columbine excuse. The fact is, the teachers that get the majority of the jeers from students often deserve it, and since most often the student complaints get buried under piles of bureaucratic and jingoistic fallacy (arg from authority usually) whether they're legitimate or not, students resort to other means of expression. In many ways, this is the equivalent of employers using the law (and contracts) to dictate more and more of what employees may do outside of work..

I swear, it's like every institution in this country is looking to get their hands on as much of everyone's freedom as possible, with the schools becoming the front lines for indoctrination. Too bad. I guess expression is only to be tolerated when authority has the mouthpiece most of the time and gets to set the politically correct boundaries for everyone else. It's truly a shame how hard and how fast liberty has fallen in this country. The stipulations for when and where we may exercise our rights have become more and more byzantine and the fine print is getting ever more fine as the power hungry chip away..

Thugs (3, Interesting)

shiftless (410350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285489)

You know, police officers used to be looked up to back in the day. Now they are just hired thugs to be feared. How big of a man do you have to be to intimidate and coerce a little girl? What a piece of shit

Greate use of school system money . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285559)

. . . don't waste money on useless textbooks or facilities! Give it to needy lawyers instead!

I really would have hoped that the ACLU and the other folks involved would have found a more pleasant way to settle this, without burning cash on litigation. At the end of all this, the only happy ones, will be the lawyers involved in the case, of course.

And lawyers are very good at copying previous lawsuits. What the tech industry calls, "patent infringement," the law industry calls, "precedent." So expect to see a lot more of these. Even threatening a lawsuit against a poor school system should be enough to scare them into a cash settlement out of court.

How the involved parties allowed this to escalate into the mess that it is, is beyond me. It must be idiots . . . all the way down.

Re:Greate use of school system money . . . (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285637)

So what would you suggest the girl and her parents, and the ACLU, do instead? Nobody's going to jail over this (although they damn well should) so the only real penalty that can be imposed is financial, seems to me. And there has to be some real penalty for this -- a "yeah, you shouldn't have done that" isn't nearly enough.

How the involved parties allowed this to escalate into the mess that it is, is beyond me. It must be idiots . . . all the way down.

Sounds like you're lumping in the family with the school administrators and the cops, which is one whopper of a false equivalence. The idiots are pretty clearly on one side of the issue.

Re:Greate use of school system money . . . (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285867)

Unfortunately to many states have personal lawsuit shields that cover these administrators and cops, So you have to go after the school district and police force. Each has very deep pockets. Personally I blame the anti drinking programs of the 80's that pushed schools into kids out of school lives. In my view the schools authority needs to be cleanly set to school hours and needs direct buy in from the parents. The ultimate "worst" thing a principle should be during is calling parents outside of direct evidence of a crime. We have invited police into schools to shield administration, in my view police are/should be bared from speaking to children without there parents being present as they are unable to consent to not having counsel present. Anyways the only way to get these things corrected is to show that it's potentially very expensive to do so.

Want to fix litigation, stop shielding these people and direct punitive damages to the non profits of the injured parties choice to disinsentivize suing for cash.

Bankrupt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285563)

School district totally deserves this suit, I hope they go financially bankrupt, since they are already intellectually and morally so.

More Information Please. (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285641)

Nowhere in the article was there a complete quote; there was only single words. There have been a number of posts here that assume all she said was "I hate you". It is not clear from article that those were the word she used. maybe they were stronger like "I hate him because he was mean to me and he should have the crap beaten out of him". This is yet another article with enough detail to get the "free speech" brigade up in arms without giving enough information to make a logical conclusion about the issue.

There are many schools that "regulate and monitor" speech off school property. Those kids who use bullying speech off school grounds are the same ones who use physical bullying on campus. A target can avoid bullying off campus but when they have to be in the same hallways, change rooms and classrooms as their bullies it becomes impossible. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to threaten or bully. Would you rather the school handle it or the youth court system? Perhaps if the school did it a bully will learn before he/she get a juvenile record. The juvenile court system is burdened enough as it is without having to deal with issues that could be handled in a much simpler way.

To those who think that anti-bullying campaigns are "nanny brigade" I say you have never been bullied. Personally I got beat up by the entire soccer team I was on because a few bullies started it. Stand up for yourself does not work when it is five to one. You have never had to walk down a hall when you never know when you will be body checked into a locker, have your books slapped out of your hands, be elbowed in the head, etc. Bullies are smart they know where the teachers are and will not be seen.

Re:More Information Please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285721)

Nowhere in the article was there a complete quote; there was only single words. There have been a number of posts here that assume all she said was "I hate you". It is not clear from article that those were the word she used. maybe they were stronger like "I hate him because he was mean to me and he should have the crap beaten out of him". This is yet another article with enough detail to get the "free speech" brigade up in arms without giving enough information to make a logical conclusion about the issue.

That's nice, but do you care to postulate a situation, consistent with the limited detail available, where "[forcing] a girl to hand over login information" is a justified response?

Re:More Information Please. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39286003)

That's nice, but do you care to postulate a situation, consistent with the limited detail available, where "[forcing] a girl to hand over login information" is a justified response?

Where the deputy is really Jack Bauer, and the girl is really a terrorist who communicated with her cell through Facebook about the location of the stolen nuclear warheads they plan to use in their imminent strike on Los Angeles.

Re:More Information Please. (4, Informative)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285945)

I have to disagree a bit here. I had similar issues and I was jumped by five boys after school one day. I fought back out of sheer terror and ended up putting two of them in the hospital.

They nor anyone else in the school ever bothered me again.

The only way to deal with bullies is to hurt them badly enough that they're too afraid to come back.

Re:More Information Please. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285967)

it doesn't matter what she wrote there, giving access to her accounts to the school officials is illegal any way you put it. doesn't matter what the school has on it's rules either. furthermore the vibe I got from the article was that she was already bullied, by the people who now were given access to her accounts. nothing impartial about it.

you know how the first to join anti-smoking campaigns at schools are those who smoke? same goes for many other similar..

Dangerous (2)

SmarterThanMe (1679358) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285715)

While I appreciate that this situation is outright silly (on the part of the school), ACLU's action here seems a little foolhardy. If schools can't discipline kids for what they say on social media, etc., then how are they meant to respond to cyber bullying such as that has led to however many teen suicides? What about defamation of teachers/students (I'm not talking about the usual Mr. So-and-so is a poopoohead, but what about calling him a pedo or something)? What about cyber-stalking or threats of physical violence against teachers/students?

The alternative would be to deal with those issues through more judicial means, and that isn't necessarily better.

Re:Dangerous (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285811)

School administrators aren't parents (of the kids in question), and they aren't cops. Let them report it to the appropriate parties and leave it at that. Why the fuck do they have to do anything?

Re:Dangerous (4, Interesting)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285975)

You'll want to take this up with the 1st and 4th amendment of the constitution.

The school doesn't have the authority and it never will. The ACLU isn't being foolhardy. They're entirely right here. If the school suspected something dangerous, they should have alerted the authorities and the parents with the information they had and been done with it. They had no rights to threaten a little girl into handing over her login details for things she has done off school property.

Every example you gave have procedures to deal with them. Defamation? That is a civil matter. Stalking, violence? That is a job for the police.

Schools should never have the right to discipline a child for something said off school property. That's why this whole cyber-bullying thing is such a joke. Parents expect the schools to be able to do something, but they can't do anything. Nor should they be able to. If it doesn't happen on school property, there is no reason for the school to be involved.

Re:Dangerous (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39286033)

social media != private exchange of letters. that's the thing, they didn't need to coerce the logins from her to read public exchanges, public defamations etc. It's not the administrations job to read her chatlogs about if her periods already started or not - the sheriffs perhaps, if there was reason enough for a warrant - or her parents.

(in all fairness that a school _needs_ hall monitors is a sign that the school is already administered in a fucked up fashion, never had 'em in ours)

Re:Dangerous (3, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39286063)

While I appreciate that this situation is outright silly (on the part of the school), ACLU's action here seems a little foolhardy. If schools can't discipline kids for what they say on social media, etc., then how are they meant to respond to cyber bullying such as that has led to however many teen suicides?

The short answer is that they aren't, unless those things happen in a realm that falls under their authority. Schools are not the "child police". Their job is not to discipline children when they do things wrong. Their job is to educate children. Period. Now, if "cyber" bullying happens on school grounds, using school equipment, etc, then by all means they should discipline. If not, they have no standing to say word one about it, any more than if I, as John Q Public, call you a poopoohead, do you get to run off to my employer and tell on me.

It really doesn't matter that you'd rather the schools handle it than the judicial system. The schools don't have the authority. The judicial does. Schools have gotten worse and worse at educating students due to the plethora of things which are not their job that they insist on doing instead.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...