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Facebook Photos Land Eden Prairie Kids in Trouble

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the when-thought-police-enforce-drinking-age-laws dept.

Social Networks 626

slim-t writes "The Star Tribune is reporting that students have been disciplined for photos of them on Facebook. 'Eden Prairie High School administrators have reprimanded more than 100 students and suspended some from sports and other extracurricular activities after obtaining Facebook photos of students partying, several students said Tuesday.' Is the school right to do this? My opinion is that the students should know not to post pictures of yourself breaking the law." I'd just like to know what all those administrators are doing cruising Facebook pages looking at the students in their school.

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Hah. (5, Funny)

Futile Rhetoric (1105323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21975864)

"I'd just like to know what all those administrators are doing cruising Facebook pages looking at the students in their school."

Looking for delectable jailbait, of course.

Re:Hah. [[ Supposedly pics were delivered (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21976098)

Supposedly the pics were delivered on a CD (maybe a DVD) to school administrators. The person who delivered it is either unknown or not being identified. (disclosure/source: My sister-in-law attends EPHS. I'm anonymous for her sake.)

looking at the students in their school (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21976154)

timothy: I'd just like to know what all those administrators are doing cruising Facebook pages looking at the students in their school.


Notice to all: Timothy has given up the right to Google for people that he meets in life.

Re:Hah. (4, Funny)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976580)

> I'd just like to know what all those administrators are doing cruising Facebook pages looking at the students in their school.

Masturbating, of course. The internet means you don't have to wait for the goddamn yearbook any more!

Won't somebody think of the children? (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#21975874)

Won't somebody think of the children?

Er, wait ...

Re:Won't somebody think of the children? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21976002)

Yes Helen, they ARE thinking of the children.

WHAT they're thinking of the children, though, you probably don't want to know.

Re:Won't somebody think of the children? (2, Funny)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976634)

Yeh, maybe they just want a little "Prairie Home Companion(ship)"...

Don't they have anything better to do? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21975882)

Really, it seems kind of strange that school administrators would find these kinds of things without someone explicitly bringing it to their attention. Don't they have better things to do than sit around and look at pictures of the students? The argument could be made that this is pretty creepy.

Also, if the students are breaking the law outside of school hours, isn't that a matter for the police and not the school?

Re:Don't they have anything better to do? (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21975970)

Also, if the students are breaking the law outside of school hours, isn't that a matter for the police and not the school?

This is the crux of the matter. Yes, those kids are idiots for posting evidence of illegal behavior for all to see. But the administrators have no jurisdiction over what goes on outside of school. He should have reported these pictures to the police, if anything.

Re:Don't they have anything better to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21976336)

In the article, the example described in the most detail also mentions that the student signed a pledge not to drink in order to be part of the sports team he was in. If that pledge doesn't cover activities outside of school then isn't that pledge essentially meaningless?

Re:Don't they have anything better to do? (5, Insightful)

EightBits (61345) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977180)

You're all missing the point. The reason the school administrators are punishing the kids instead of reporting them to the police is to avoid giving (or adding to) the kids' criminal records. Kids do all kinds of things and sometimes these things are illegal. In this case, these kids may have been doing something illegal. The administrators are trying to punish the kids so they learn not to do it again.

What if your parents caught you doing something illegal? Should they not punish you? Should they instead go straight to the police and turn you in? What kind of Gestapo bullcrap is that? Do you really want to live in a police state where you can't even confide in your own parents?

Consider the options. "You take the punishment we are dishing out or we turn these photos over to the police. Which do you prefer?" Most kids will take the school's punishment and they would be right and smart to do so. The school may or may not be dishing out appropriate punishment and that needs to be figured out. But they are at least trying to do the best thing for these kids and that is to discipline the kids without the extreme of getting the police involved.

There will be some who decide to not post their photos on facebook/myspace/etc... But most will still take pictures and that's still a liability. The school wants them to just not do these things in the first place. While they can't control people like that, they can influence and that's exactly what they are trying to do and that is the whole damn point of punishment.

Re:Don't they have anything better to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21975972)

Really, it seems kind of strange that school administrators would find these kinds of things without someone explicitly bringing it to their attention. Don't they have better things to do than sit around and look at pictures of the students?


I'm sure that you have *never* Googled for someone that you know on a lark...

Re:Don't they have anything better to do? (3, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976230)

My guess would be some teacher caught a student goofing around on that FaceBook page, recognized what was going on in the pictures, and that's where this came from. I agree the administrator has better things to do than search FaceBook for this.

The kids are morons (but what do you expect from a 15 year old with the chance at "fame"). The first rule of Fight Club is you don't talk about Fight Club. The 1/2th rule about Fight Club is don't take pictures and post them on the 'net.

Is this legal? I'd say... yes. Kids have no privacy. They aren't adults. They deserve to be punished if they broke the rules. Now I have two ideas at this point. If they violated a code of conduct that they signed (like for a sport), then they need to face the consequences. They chose to do it. If it's a private school, kick 'em out if you want if they violated the rules. If it's a public school and the kid isn't in any activities, you don't have any authority to punish them, since there isn't anything to bad them from.

Either way, if the pictures clearly show them drinking, those should be turned over to the police/DA. If they want to do something, they will. If they don't, it's over. But there are crimes there (drinking underage, drinking and driving probably, supplying alcohol to a minor, probably others).

But really, they need to learn their lesson. When you do something illegal/wrong... you don't document it and post that on the 'net for everyone to see. That's just plain stupid.

How does a picture prove you were drinking alcohol (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21976676)

Ok, some may say that this strains reasonable doubt, but. . . let's say you find a picture of a kid on the Internet, and he's holding a Budweiser bottle in his hand, and appears to be drinking from it. . .

The bottle could, maybe, be empty. If the picture makes it obvious it's not empty, it could have water, or lemonade, or ice tea, or Cola, or. . . you get the point, in it. It's *probably* beer, but I wouldn't put it past kids to think it was a cool prank to take an old empty they found somewhere, wash it, then fill it with soda and take pictures.

The point is, a picture of someone drinking from a beer/vodka/whiskey/wine bottle does not PROVE that they were drinking alcohol. I would say it's, on the face of it, impossible to prove someone was imbibing illegal substances based on a photograph. The only way to really prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, in my opinion, is if you could actually test the liquid in the bottle somehow (smell, taste, chemical analysis), or by getting a urine/blood sample from one of the kids in the picture close to the time the picture was taken.

Other types of offenses might be provable from pictures (inappropriate nudity, sexual misconduct, etc), but not underage drinking.

Re:How does a picture prove you were drinking alco (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977184)

The bottle could, maybe, be empty. If the picture makes it obvious it's not empty, it could have water, or lemonade, or ice tea, or Cola, or. . . you get the point, in it. It's *probably* beer, but I wouldn't put it past kids to think it was a cool prank to take an old empty they found somewhere, wash it, then fill it with soda and take pictures.

Hmm, standard operating procedure for theater -- even with adult actors, you don't want them getting drunk and screwing up the performance -- and any drama students would likely be familiar with it.

A bit more on-topic, I remember a guy in middle school who used to drink soda out of a bottle in a paper bag at lunch, just to bait school officials into checking what he was drinking. Of course, in that case, the bottle was right there and they could verify it easily.

Re:Don't they have anything better to do? (4, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976706)

Kids have no privacy.
None whatsoever?

Note to administration: warrantless-wiretap the children to get the dirt on their parents.

Re:Don't they have anything better to do? (2, Insightful)

jasonla (211640) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976316)

In many states, students (kids under 18), are the responsibility of the school between the hours of business. Technically, the teachers/admins are the parents between 8 am and 3 pm. So they can punish as they see fit, regardless of when said activity occured. Also, the school provides sports and other activities, and it's in its purview to remove them as well.

Re:Don't they have anything better to do? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976762)

So why aren't the school administrators punishing students for publishing pictures of minors online with out the permission of the parents/guardians of the minors, which is in fact a criminal offence an offence to which facebook is a criminal accessory.

The consumption of alcohol is normally of minor harm but as has been demonstrated the publishing of those photos has caused considerable long term harm, which the school administrators are now legally required to report to the authorities otherwise they also become accessories after the fact.

Once you stick your nose in you have to be careful that it doesn't get bitten off.

Re:Don't they have anything better to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21977108)

so a teacher can tell a pupil to do something at 3:05pm and when they (rightly) refuse, just punish them after 8am the next morning?
The school's jurisdiction to enforce rules only covers events that happen inside the school's jurisdiction to make rules; that means on school property (or a field trip) and during school hours (so schools are not responsible for the kids if they're home sick and not responsible for their outside activities if they play truant. The actual leaving school is in their jurisdiction, because the act of leaving the premises still takes place on the premises - but once they're out of the gate they're the police's problem).
The actual parents can discipline for stuff that happens anytime because the actual parents are always the parents, and parents are free to be arbitrary, schools are not. I don't know the exact legal position, but normally the real parents always trump the school anyway.

Re:Don't they have anything better to do? (2, Insightful)

c_forq (924234) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976524)

It has been a while since I have been in High School, but I am guessing the administration didn't purposfully and didn't want to get involved in this. My guess would be someone, an angry someone (either parent or student), reported this. If it is like most administrations I know, the administration would say "well, we don't really know about this facebook thing and have more important stuff to do", as schools really don't like to bring negative attention to themselves, especially regarding student behavior. But as angry people tend to do, I am guessing they would not let up on the issue (be it because their kid was provided alcohol by another, or they weren't invited to the party, or Billy was supposed to go out with e but partied with Jill or whatever), and forced the administrations hand.

Re:Don't they have anything better to do? (1)

flaming-opus (8186) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977096)

What makes you think noone brought this to their attention? I imagine a parent found out, and alerted the school.

Re:Don't they have anything better to do? (1)

aminorex (141494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977214)

I can't imagine what crime they could be committing such that a photo would be proof of anything, unless it is related to pornography, where the act of utterance is the crime. Underage drinking? I think failing to drink results in death, and photographs don't provide a basis for spectrographic analysis of the fluids. Smoking? Again, it could be cocoa beans or jimson weed or salvia divinorum.

Yeah (1, Funny)

Knara (9377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21975902)

I'd just like to know what all those administrators are doing cruising Facebook pages looking at the students in their school.

Sure makes you wonder, doesn't it.

Re:Yeah (1)

EMeta (860558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21975976)

Not Really. There tend to be other students who resent the ones who get invited to such parties who spend time cruising online. These are very easy, if stupid revenge.

Re:Yeah (1)

HowIsMyDriving? (142335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976004)

This is more than likely what happened. A kid who was mad that they were not invited or wanted to get a specific group of people they don't like in trouble pointed this out to school admins.

Isn't it easy? (5, Interesting)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21975908)

I don;t use Facebook, but don't they have a feature to group people by what school they attend? An administrator would just have to sign up for his own school then just browse profiles while filling out detention slips.

Maybe it will be a good lesson to these idiots not to document their wrong-doing.

Re:Isn't it easy? (1, Interesting)

raised eyebrow (1192017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976192)

Maybe it will be a good lesson to these idiots not to document their wrong-doing.

Or at least to switch their profiles to "friends only", for their sake and their own.

I wouldn't necessarily be too keen about my own child drinking under age, but I wouldn't be at all happy about his invasion of privacy either - I'd consider that stalking.

If they're too young to drink, they're certainly too young to be snooped on by adults, especially by those in positions of authority to them...

Re:Isn't it easy? (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976224)

I will say, the privacy settings are a must. Have the privacy settings turned on but its not a 100% guarantee. All it takes is one of your friends accounts to have their privacy settings disabled and they have a picture of you tagged.

Re:Isn't it easy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21976306)

Privacy? On the internet? In a public place like facebook? You're kidding right?

Re:Isn't it easy? (5, Insightful)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977150)

I wouldn't necessarily be too keen about my own child drinking under age, but I wouldn't be at all happy about his invasion of privacy either - I'd consider that stalking.

If the pictures are posted to a profile with public access, what privacy is there to invade? You can't put these pictures up on display, then get upset that people see them.

Re:Isn't it easy? (1)

Gunnery Sgt. Hartman (221748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976996)

That's most likely what happened. Some schools arent' part of the facebook network. However, those without a school likely join a regional network based on what large city they live near. As long as you belong to that network and the person doesn't have their privacy settings turned up, you can view their profile.

My guess is that an administrator or teacher was freinds with a student on facebook. One of their freinds either tagged them in a photo or they put up the photo themselves and it escalated from there.

Let them eat cake (2, Interesting)

andytrevino (943397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21975916)

Reminds me of this NYT article [nytimes.com] on some George Washington University students who trapped their administration busting parties and had a great time at it as well!

This would seem to aid one of my longtime complaints; namely, that many schools at all levels of education spend far too much money on administrators and not enough on teachers... If they have time to be nosing around students' lives on Facebook, they probably don't have enough real administrative work to do.

Re:Let them eat cake (1)

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977068)

Damned if you do, damned if you don't, by our litigious society. If the administrators monitor the kids, find something like this and take action, people accuse the schools of having too many administrators who aren't actually doing administrative work. If the administrators don't monitor the kids and something happens (one of the kids drives drunk and kills themselves or someone else, for instance) then the parents sue the schools for not protecting their kids and the media rips the school apart for not doing enough to protect the kids. Even if the school is in the right, they get dragged through the mud in the media and the courts and have to spend a lot of money defending themselves (money which, if you think about it, could be spent on teachers.)

It would be totally infeasible, but I think potential parents should have to get a license to have a child. We have licenses to get married, purchase a gun, and drive (each of which can have a significant impact on the lives of multiple people) -- why not make people prove they're responsible (for some definition of "responsible", which I know is the rub) and have basic common sense before they can keep the child whose life they're going to mold until the child becomes responsible for themselves.

Rights not online (3, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21975922)

Time to repeal the drinking age.

This isn't a "rights online" question. It's a natural consequence of the stupid prohibition laws we have. They need to be repealed.

If the only way anyone found out about the drinking was looking at Facebook after the fact, then how was it harmful?

Re:Rights not online (1, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976028)

Let me get this straight. Kids taking pictures of themselves demonstrating that they aren't mature enough to drink responsibly is evidence that the drinking age limits need to be repealed?

I tend to agree that 21 is too old when 18 is old enough to vote, but this is a really poor example to hold up to argue that point.

Re:Rights not online (4, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976308)

Kids taking pictures of themselves demonstrating that they aren't mature enough to drink responsibly...

How is that? According to the article one kid was just holding a drink. Another was standing behind a bar. The article makes no mention of any crazy antics. You're making that assumption because they're young and got in trouble.

The problem here is the system, not the students.

Re:Rights not online (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977126)

And, how would anyone know it's not just WATER in those beer containers?  I bet the person who takes these pictures to the police would just get laughed at and maybe charged for wasting police time.

Re:Rights not online (1, Informative)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976346)

The problem is that the kids know that it's against the law to drink and it's exactly because of this they get over the board in such parties.

For them it's probably the ultimate "cool" thing, to be illegal and have fun and they get too drunk and don't know their limits.

If there was no stupid law like the one you have there in US, all those kids would be a bit more used to drinking and wouldn't get drunk and act like they acted. They would learn that drinking too much is not always good and they would be a bit more responsible.

I have first drank alcohol at Christmas when I was around 7 years old. My mother has a glass a wine and she let me wet my lips a bit. I drank about a third of a glass of wine and I got a bit dizzy and then my mother told me that drinking is not good when you're young and drinking too much is also not good, and I remembered that.

I really realized that a few months later when I found in the kitchen a 250 ml bottle of Coke that actually had whiskey inside. Naturally, it was about 60% alcohol so it burned my neck and got almost drunk from only one mouthful.

But, I realized one thing, alcohol is dangerous and I should not drink a lot at the parties.

Later on, in school, from 13-14 years old, I drank a beer at a party, maybe two, when I started to get dizzy I stopped, but at the same time I started to get used to alcohol. Never ever got drunk.

So you see, the idea is that I didn't act crazy like you people, I'm normal and I didn't need any laws, just a bit of education from parents and self experience.

Mind you, it's illegal for people older than 18years to drink here but it's also illegal to drive, to go to army and other things. One age for all, that represents that you are mature and you can make decisions for yourself.

You can go to army from 16 (I think), you can drive (you can kill people while driving, such responsibility), yet you can't have a glass of wine until you're 21. Don't you think that's a bit stupid?

Kill the stupid law, educate kids about alcohol and what does to you from a younger age, and you won't see these issues so often.

PS. It IS "your rights online", you're a citizen of US and laws/rights are for you. It's within your rights to request a rethink of this law.

 

Re:Rights not online (1)

theonlyaether (1146549) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977076)

So you see, the idea is that I didn't act crazy like you people, I'm normal and I didn't need any laws, just a bit of education from parents and self experience.

That is perhaps the most intelligent thing I've heard anyone say about society and child-rearing in a long time. Actually it was a French-born substitute teacher I had back in high school that explained this to the whole class. I believe that the statement can be applied to almost anything, it's just a shame that so many parents are unbalanced, or "don't have the time" to do things correctly as your mother did...

Re:Rights not online (1)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977206)

Mind you, it's illegal for people older than 18years to drink here but it's also illegal to drive
WOW! where do you live, the neverland ranch?

Re:Rights not online (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976972)

How does one measure the alcohol content of a photo of a beverage?

Or are they being busted for consuming alcohol-lookalike beverages? Much like how students have been suspended for zero-tolerance possession of "drug-lookalike" substances like a baggie of powdered sugar, even if required for a Home Economics cooking class.

Better not even be pictured drinking water then. In a photo it may look like vodka.

Re:Rights not online (1)

Buzz_Litebeer (539463) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976240)

Because they are the lucky ones. You do not tell a kid he can keep sticking his head in the guillotine just because it hasnt fallen on him.

The idea is to punish before someone gets killed to deter further reckless behavior.

Re:Rights not online (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976390)

That's a naive opinion. Alcohol != a guillotine. Just look at England, France, Germany, etc. Their drinking laws are extremely relaxed compared to ours, yet they don't have a large problem with youth alcohol abuse because without prohibition and the moral stigma attached with breaking the law, it's no longer cool to get wasted.

I'd say both sides are wrong (3, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21975934)

I think that the kids are pretty stupid to post photos of themselves doing illegal things on the Internet, but neither is it the administrators' business to be scouring Facebook for such things. Their job is to deal with things as they're brought to their attention, not be a surveillance force.

Re:I'd say both sides are wrong (1)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976180)

Students posting photos of themselves? Due to the way cameras usually work, the one who OWNS the pictures is rarely the one IN the pictures.

Maybe these pictures were posted by the students themselves, but not posting pictures of yourself does nothing to protect you from this shit.

The problem simply lies in the students underestimating the level of surveilance in our society. It isn't spy satellites or cameras on roofs, its just other people. If someone can see or hear you, they can record it without you even noticing. Incidentally, this is very much how people are opressed in dictatorships. Everyone can be reporting to the government, so there is no one you can really trust, which prevents all kinds of illegal organization.

There's no one to blame, just a new order to get used to.

Re:I'd say both sides are wrong (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976534)

You're correct, the students were unlikely to post photos of themselves. However, I disagree that there's no one to blame. The administrators are solidly to blame for sitting looking through Facebook photos to check up on their students. This is unacceptable abuse of authority, and should not be tolerated.

Re:I'd say both sides are wrong (1)

PixelScuba (686633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976548)

Actually, I'm pretty sure Facebook allows you to set any photograph tagged of you to 'private' status that can only be seen by people on your friends list. I have heard of businesses and employers looking at Facebook and Myspace profiles before hiring employees. I've taken due precaution to make sure my profiles remain private to all but close friends to prevent this sort of thing.

Re:I'd say both sides are wrong (1)

flaming-opus (8186) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977064)

publishing something on facebook is exactly that, publishing. You have no reasonable expectation of privacy; It's just like buying an ad in the newspaper, and printing a picture there.

Re:I'd say both sides are wrong (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977242)

I agree, but that doesn't make it less wrong for the administrators to have been digging around for this stuff. If it gets brought to their attention, they'd have to deal with it appropriately then, but LOOKING for it is plain wrong.

You're right that there's no expectation of privacy, though. That's why I said the kids were stupid for putting the photos up.

Jurisdiction? (2, Interesting)

Bardez (915334) | more than 6 years ago | (#21975936)

I'd like to know how the fuck school officials are allowed to discipline students for activities not relating to school. That's the realm of police, is it not? You got together with friends to party? Nothing to do with school.

What the hell, man? I've asked before and I ask again: what the hell gives schools such a wide bullshit jurisdiction?

Re:Jurisdiction? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21976090)

Not to defend the school but, from the article, in MN, student athletes sign a pledge saying they will not drink alcohol. The article is not clear about how the school obtained the pictures, it is possible they were given to the school and the school did not go out to find them. But, when you have evidence showing kids doing something they pledged not to do, you have to act.

Similarly, if the kids had been busted by the police, the police would notify the schools and the kids would be suspended from games. The article does make it sound like the only punishment has been to kids in sports.

When I was in HS, in MN and on a football team, another kid got busted for underage consumption and was suspended for 2 games.

Re:Jurisdiction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21976320)

I remember this kind of thing from the MSHSL, too.

http://mshsl.org/mshsl/publications.asp [mshsl.org] :: Athletic Eligibility Brochure 2007-2008

Checklist for Student Eligibility #9
"Have not and will not use or possess tobacco or alcoholic beverages, use, consume, have in my possession, buy, sell, or give away any other controlled substance, including steroids."

Talk about a cover-all statement. (So if a student takes communion....???)

Re:Jurisdiction? (1)

BlueCodeWarrior (638065) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976726)

A minor point, but communion is no longer believed to be wine; it's believed to be the blood of Christ.

Re:Jurisdiction? (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976128)

I'd like to know how the fuck school officials are allowed to discipline students for activities not relating to school.

Students get bad rep; parents decide not to send little Jimmy to "that school with all the drunks"; school either has to put up with the children of parent who don't give a fuck about who their kids mix with or reduce intake, which means reduced budget.

There: wasn't that complex really, was it?

TWW

Re:Jurisdiction? (1)

rkanodia (211354) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976774)

You explained why the school would want to discipline the kids. You didn't explain how the school got the authority to do so.

Re:Jurisdiction? (1)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976164)

you are absolutely right, they should stick to telling kids to cut that hair! [dallasnews.com]

Re:Jurisdiction? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976938)

you are absolutely right, they should stick to telling kids to cut that hair!
welcum teh teksis, redneck centar of teh unavers! aint noone gonna have long hair in our skewls! ten gallin hats are fine tho... hoo-ee!

Re:Jurisdiction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21976980)

What the hell, man? I've asked before and I ask again: what the hell gives schools such a wide bullshit jurisdiction?

Because in America, the only adults who raise children are their teachers?

Yeah, right. (3, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21975986)

Danny O'Leary, a senior who plays lacrosse, said his dean displayed four Facebook photos of O'Leary holding drinks and told him he was in "a bit of trouble." One photo shows him holding a can of Coors beer, another a shot of rum, he said. In yet another, O'Leary is pictured holding his friend's 40-ounce container of beer.

"I wasn't drinking that night," O'Leary said.


First off, the kid is a liar.

Second of all, if he's freely distributing evidence of himself breaking the law, he's lucky it's just his school that is punishing him.

Third, he's lucky it's just him getting punished and not his parents.

Kid breaks law, gets in trouble. The internet was mildly involved. News at 10:00. Bitching on Slashdot at 9:30.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976066)

But why should it be the school's job? It wasn't a big enough deal for the police that night apparently. The school has no right to punish students for non-school related activities.

Re:Yeah, right. (3, Informative)

Logger (9214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976194)

Correction. The school has no obligation to punish students for non-school related activities.

Most schools I know of have codes of conduct which prohibit such behavior, whether in a school function or not. At a minimum that code of conduct typically states something like "you shall obey the law at all times".

So, obligation no, right yes.

Re:Yeah, right. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21976456)

Whatever thoughtslave.

That's why you make such shitty money.

That's why your credit sucks.

That's why you had to settle in every one of your relationships.

That's why you don't know when to compromise and when to fight.

You fucking sad piece of shit.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976398)

But why should it be the school's job?
Because now the character of the students is brought into question. The student is drinking underage, and was careless enough to post pictures of himself doing so. The school now has the responsibility of being certain that this student has never brought, and has no intention to bring or distribute alcohol on school grounds.

It wasn't a big enough deal for the police that night apparently.
I had a friend who was a cop who explained it to me as this: Police Officers are often very overworked on demanding schedules and as such cannot tear into what may be deemed as minor infractions. Had the police been summoned by a neighbor complaining about noise at this party and subsequently discovered underaged drinking, then yes they would have probably gotten involved. Furthermore, the only evidence they now have is digital photographs, which as we all know can be altered. There is also the testimony of anyone at the party, but no teenager would willingly make themself a pariah to the cool crowd.

The school has no right to punish students for non-school related activities.
There's a bit of a gray area, here, and I'll reference my original point. This should lead into an investigation of whether or not this conduct has been conducted on school ground, not necessarily result in punishment by the school itself. Though, as I said before, this will bring his character into account for any similar instances that might come later.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976440)

If the school's athletic department has a rule akin to "no smoking or drinking, or you're not playing" rule then there could be punishments (not being allowed to play.) I know there were always some pretty harsh punishments for smoking on school grounds when I went to school. While there will always be drinking and such going on in certain high school crowds, I'd say the onus is on the individual to not get their picture taken...

Re:Yeah, right. (2, Insightful)

blankinthefill (665181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976748)

That is frightfully akin to a "guilty until proven innocent" method of thought, just like the administrators in this case. While they do have pictures, its also very clear that pictures can be changed, drinks may not have an alcohol in them, and a whole host of other circumstances that lead to the party involved being innocent. In fact, I would think that, while the evidence may be strong, it is not overwhelming, and you would be hard pressed to prove the guilt of anyone merely by the pictures in question. Since, in this country, we attempt to use the opposite mantra of "innocent until proven guilty," thats a pretty big deal, imho. (IANAL, just my 2 cents)

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21976182)

Who cares if the kid is lying or drinking or getting punished by his parents? The point is that it's not the school's business. They aren't his parents, and they shouldn't have any control or jurisdiction of him when he's not on their premises.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

minor_deity (1176695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976228)

Holding drinks does not mean you are drinking them. Unless there is a picture of him drinking then there it's entirely possible he could have been holding them for others. The likely hood of that might be smaller then that of him drinking them, but it's far from impossible. Should he be punished? Sure, by his parents or a judge. The school has no business punishing students for activities off school grounds.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

zehaeva (1136559) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976248)

AFAIK in some states (NY for one) underage drinking is not entirely illegal. With your parents consent and supervision and under a few other specifications (religious reasons iirc) you can drink under-aged. I also recall being told its legal in a few states to have your child accompany you to bars (heard about this one from a Texan). So just the fact that they took pictures of themselves drinking in and of its self is not necessarily illegal. As with all local laws YMMV.

also IANAL.

Re:Yeah, right. (2, Insightful)

blankinthefill (665181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976496)

You are still ignoring the question that has been brought up again and again in these discussions. Did the administrator have the power to punish a student for an activity not sanctioned by, held in, or related to the school in any way? I think its pretty clear cut that, as long as the student was not drunk at the school, this is an incident where the administrator is clearly overstepping the bounds of their disciplinary powers. He does NOT have the power to punish a student for a crime outside his jurisdiction, no matter what the student did. It doesn't matter that the kid is a liar, or that he was doing something illegal. Theres no bitching there, just common sense.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

rgbscan (321794) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976968)

So, I know it's slashdot, and no one reads the articles, but if you're sitting there waiting for the answer maybe you should go read it for yourself. The school busted high school athletes who had signed a code of conduct stating they would not use tobacco, drugs, or alcohol.

The punishment was to suspend them from the sports activity for violating the code of conduct they themselves signed. I'd say if you signed a code of conduct saying you'd behave and then posted pictures of yourself breaking that promise you're an idiot. And that's exactly what these high school kids are. Even if they had NOT signed a code of conduct, how wise is it for you to go posting pictures of yourself drinking underage??

So Yes, you are wrong. The school does have the right to punish a student in their own sports program, by preventing them from participating in their sports program. Their own sports program is *entirely* their jurisdiction.

Also, the article is not clear if it was the school administration browsing facebook, or if students or parents had provided pictures to the school. So lets stop jumping to conclusions here.

Re:Yeah, right. (2, Informative)

rgbscan (321794) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977114)

Also, living in MN, I had the benefit of seeing extensive coverage on the nightly news. You may feel differently after seeing some of the pictures they showed us on tv.

http://kstp.com/article/stories/S307125.shtml?cat=1 [kstp.com]

One of the best parts is that, in their defense, one of the students said some of the pictures were over 4 years old! So if they're seniors that would be pix of them drinking as freshman.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977154)

How do you know the kid drank?
How do you know that bottle didn't contain water?
How do you know the kid lied?

Ah I know. Because the kid is a kid? Nice, logical conclusion.

My wife is a high school teacher... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21976040)

She scans her students myspace pages all the time. It's pretty incredible what kind of information they put up.

She doesn't do it because she's out to get them, though. If she learned that a student was smoking weed at a weekend party, it's not like she'd call the cops on them. I think she does it just to get a better sense of who her students are as individuals, and can then better tailor her instructions to each individual.

Let's say Katie is really emotional, and loves to answer questions in class. However, Katie has just gone through a rough breakup with her longtime boyfriend (we learn over myspace)... My wife would be a bit more understanding about why Katie is acting so depressed.

Or, she may learn that a student routinely smokes pot in the bathroom every morning before class. She might pay extra attention to that student, and if she smells pot on the kid while he's in class, she can certainly get the administration involved.

Or kids might comment about a stolen test. Or how they hacked into the computers and changed grades. It's crazy what they'll write about.

The point is, of course, don't put up information that you don't want your boss, teacher/SO/parents/whoever to read.

Posting anonymously for hopefully obvious reasons. :)

Re:My wife is a high school teacher... (2, Funny)

AlexBirch (1137019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976368)

Is your wife "Mrs. Coward?" I thought she taught one of my classes.

Re:My wife is a high school teacher... (1, Flamebait)

haibijon (893019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976396)

This is at least one of the problems with the American school system. Apparently teachers care more about their students' personal lives, and less about their education.

Re:My wife is a high school teacher... (4, Interesting)

PixelScuba (686633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976760)

Flamebait. You're obviously not a teacher or any type of leader/instructor so I'll just assume you're ignorant and tell you why it is important to know about student's lives.

First, this isn't just a good idea for a teacher... if you want to communicate with someone... be it as a Supervisor, Boss, Teacher... understanding that person as an individual will greatly help you communicate with them and create a rapport that will allow them to trust you as well. As for teaching... it is an incredibly intimate subject, everyone learns differently and you play to each person's strengths and weaknesses to help them learn best. The young boy who loves art might learn from hands on activities more than the girl who sits with her nose in a book and would rather just do rote worksheets to learn.

One of the hardest jobs I ever held was a substitute teacher. As a sub you rarely make those connections with students and you are just a person in the room covering for the teacher... who knows them best. You don't know the kid who lives in a motel room because they are too poor to afford an apartment... and how that might affect his learning. No, I'm sorry, but from my experience you are completely wrong... in fact Schools probably need more of the OPPOSITE... more teachers need to understand their students and their backgrounds. Public Education has its problems that need repair... but needing more teachers detached from their student's personal lives is NOT one of them.

Re:My wife is a high school teacher... (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976850)

If teachers should have no interest at all in their students beyond filling their heads with knowledge, why do we have teachers? Why aren't all students just learning from videos and books by now?

Re:My wife is a high school teacher... (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976522)

I'll bet your wife has a link to slashdot to tailor to you too :)

Actually, I think what your wife does is pretty amazing though. Not many people would take their responsibility to the kids that far.

Re:My wife is a high school teacher... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21977006)

You're wife is what they call a "voyeur".

Tough... (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976108)

Its simple, you get caught drinking in any means then you deserve the punishment.
Now if they cant prove that there is alcohol in your drink, then more power to you, but you got off easy this time.
These kids are in high school, wait till they get to college and some of them join the athletic programs. They will spend several hours in NCAA compliance meetings, signing papers, and reviewing every single detail about drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and felony's. Trust me, I got busted for alcohol and they didn't even have pictures of me drinking. Now this only applies to athletes but other programs do have similar measures to protect the image of the school.

Additionally, you sign your life and image over to the school and NCAA, which means if your a stellar athlete then they can use your picture and likeness to promote the school or sport. The pressure to be more protective about what you do and what is seen increases. These kids are getting a lesson about privacy and being mature. I knew of one great athlete in college, a good friend who could break 4:00 in the mile, he didn't get facebook till the day he was done competing cause of all the athletes around him who got in trouble.

Re:Tough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21977198)

wait till they get to college and some of them join the athletic programs. They will spend several hours in NCAA compliance meetings, signing papers, and reviewing every single detail about drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and felony's. Trust me, I got busted for alcohol and...
ZZZZZ...Oh! Shit, sorry, what were you saying?

Just a thought... (3, Insightful)

daemonhunter (968210) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976142)

Knowing several teachers, I have to ask this: is it at all (naively) possible that this admin is doing what he thought best? It seems to me like he's trying to straighten out these kids' lives (at least by his interpretation of life, mind you.)

It's surprising, I know, but some teachers actually care about their students. Not just whether they make the school look good at scholastic meets and football games, not just whether they pass all their (irrelevant) standardized tests. Some teachers care whether or not Joe Quarterback makes it home from prom nite. They actually care whether Suzie Cheerleader makes it home from prom nite unfertilized.

Just a thought. I didn't have the greatest high school experiences myself, but even I know not all school officials are malicious animals prowling 'That Facebook Thing' for whom they may devour.

There is, in fact, some middle ground left to on which to stand.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976428)

I see alot of comments of people saying, "What right do they have to do this, shouldn't it be the police?."

Yes and No, if the police caught them in the act then it can be put in the hands of the police, otherwise these kids are lucky they didn't get caught by the police and the school is taking disciplinary action. Remember, these kids signed papers that said they would not drink and thats in and out of school activities and hours. Some schools even have a 24 hour rule, if you get caught and within 24 hours you turn yourselves in then you get the minimum punishment, and maybe even get no punishment for the first offense.

That signed paper is a way for the school to protect both the student and the school. Without that paper the school wouldn't be able to help the student and would have to turn their heads. Some schools do care about their students though and this is a means of caring for the student.

Re:Just a thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21976806)

except that they're minors so the school can't hold them to it because they could never enter a contract to begin with. Which leaves the school with having discriminated amongst its students for the sports teams based on their conduct outside school rather than ability, which is begging for a lawsuit. And the only reason that's not happening is that the school is sitting on potential evidence of a criminal act to deter the kids from taking their displeasure at having been kicked off the teams further. There's a word for that; blackmail.

IANAL, etc

Re:Just a thought... (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976904)

You sign this agreement with your parents. The high school I went to, it was mandatory for you and a legal guardian to be present and you both signed the documents. Call foul on me, I dear you to, cause almost every high school in the United States does this.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

blankinthefill (665181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976834)

While I do agree with you, I don't think that someone carrying out these actions because they cared about the students would start with suspensions and harsh warnings, but would probably try to talk to the kids individually about drinking habits and even privacy concerns about posting things like this on a public site. As to the poster above me, the article does not state that all the kids in question had signed such and agreement, only the athletes, and even then, the lacrosse player points out that at least a few of the pictures were taken before he played lacrosse and signed said agreement. So, for those students that signed the paper, if the pictures can be shown to have been taken after the agreement was made, sure, I agree with you... but for the others? Theres no excuse, imo.

Eat that, popular kids! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21976272)

I assume it was some kind of less popular kid that turned them all in. Nice anonymous work. We salute you.

this is a school with 3300 pupils (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21976284)

*Someone* has to be factually innocent and have parents with enough cash to send their kid to the Dean's office with a lawyer (or enough time to come themselves). Please, just once, I want to see the look on the Dean's face..

How the school got the picks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21976420)

Just to clear up how the school got the picks.

The pictures where snail mailed to the school office on a CD that someone had compiled according to the local news. This clears the idea that teachers are spending time looking up students on line and add credit to the theory that the person who tipped of the principal is a fellow student.

Bizarre (5, Interesting)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976490)

Being Swedish I find your alcohol policy absolutely bizarre. Schools policing students about what they do in their spare time? If a teacher did that over here they would probably get into legal difficulties as a result of it... Heck, my physics department has a student run pub in the basement and one of my lecturers even gave the students some time to advertise it. Despite of this ( or maybe because of ) we have a lower rate of alcohol induced diseases and a lower alcohol related crime rate.

I'm guessing this is the consequence of some "traditional" political opinions, much like Sweden insisting on having a state monopoly on alcohol, despite it being quite clearly demonstrated that it does nothing to prevent minors from obtaining it ( which is pretty much the argument in favor ).

Re:Bizarre (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976936)

Almost every single USA law is based on Puritan ideals that started a long time ago. WE firmly believe that restricting people and controlling them is for their own good. Restrict alcohol, hell we even banned it for a few years for incredibly stupid reasons. We are doing the same now for drugs and sex and anything else deemed to be "unholy" or "bad" based on old Puritan ideals from over 300 years ago.

It's the root of our obesity, and almost every other problem that the rest of the world seems to not have.

Problem is , today you are called a nut for questioning the puritanical ideals.

The other problem is the whole point of the article shines light on a bigger problem.. Our children are incredibly stupid. They do things they know are wrong and will get them in trouble if their parents or officials find out about it, and then they publish it with incredible detail in a public forum and then SIGN IT!

The current crop of children here are incredibly stupid.... I blame the use of Corn syrup.

Your rights do not apply at School (5, Insightful)

Children.of.the.Kron (1175875) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976608)

Personally, at my school, they have a policy that if you violate a policy outside of school grounds within sight of a school official, or a school official is latter reported of the policy you broke, you will be reprimanded as if you were on school premise. People don't seem to remember that youth are still citizens, and are granted all the rights of the constitution. Schools extend and deploy their power in scary ways, forever under the umbrella "For the Children."

Re:Your rights do not apply at School (1)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977090)

people don't seem to remember that youth are still citizens

No they're not, because the defining characteristic of a citizen in a representative republic is the right to vote. And children don't have one.

Revenge of the nerds (4, Insightful)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 6 years ago | (#21976880)

You say you're a nerd who is picked on by the popular jocks. Do I have a plan for you!

1) Take a buddy nerd and sneak into a party where your victim will be (since you're a nerd you obviously weren't invited)
2) Hand the jock a beer, have your friend snap a picture during that second he's holding it (but before you're being pounded with it)
3) Post picture to Facebook using a fake account
4) Wait for jock to be suspended

I'm still trying to figure out how to fit "Profit!" into there as well. Maybe blackmail?

All these "well you shouldn't have posted the picture" posts are forgetting the very common case where someone snaps pictures of a bunch of people and posts them all onto Facebook. It's amazing how fast the camera phones can go off if you do something stupid even for a second at a party.

Different symptom, same problem (2, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977124)

Our thinking seems to be devolved from "what kind of society do we want to live in?" to "what's in it for me, right now?" If doing X makes you "safer" or "happier" right now, it doesn't matter what the consequences are. It's just that we don't seem to be able to reason past the next couple weeks anymore! The lack of outrage over over-prescribed medication, random drug testing, schools spying on students, the sex offender registry, and warrantless wiretaps points to a huge "it doesn't affect me right now, so I don't give a shit" attitude. It's the moral reasoning of a two year old.

Major lawsuit... (1)

BUL2294 (1081735) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977166)

What happens if someone underage (intentionally) posts pictures of themselves drinking ginger ale out of red plastic cups and a school decides to discipline that student for what they believe to be a beer??? I smell major lawsuit! Hell, that student could even have that administrator arrested for filing a false police report! (After all, if a student were to make an unfounded claim like "this teacher touched me", that student would be in deep shit. What's the difference if a school administrator makes an unfounded claim like "this student was underage drinking" just because they saw something yellowish in a cup???)

Not their job (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977196)

Its not the schools job or duty to police after-hours activities.

Student need a bill of rights (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21977202)

I can attest that student rights are frequently struck down in the name of In Loco Parentis. IMO, if it doesn't happen at school or occur while traveling to/from thereof, the school should not have the right to discipline those actions. Having spent K-12 in Fairfax County Public Schools (VA), I endured the most strict, archaic and otherwise bass-ackward rules outside of private schools. Examples:
  • A fellow fourth grade student was caught possessing a beeper at school. FCPS believed the only reason anyone would possess a beeper would be to facilitate selling drugs. The student was expelled. His mother had given him the beeper the previous day so he would know when she was ready to pick him up from soccer practice. FCPS kept the ban on cell phones and beepers until 9/11, but not before threatening to suspend students who were trying to contact parents who worked in the Pentagon that day.
  • A girl at my middle school was caught with a can of pepper spray. Her parents had given her the mace because she lived less than one mile from the school (FCPS does not provide transportation to students less than 1 mi from school) and had to walk through a rough neighborhood each day. She was suspended.
  • My school once let out early and had a student fair on the soccer field. Attendance on the field was not mandatory, but students could not leave school grounds without a note from a parent. The administration was so concerned with our attendance that every student who left early had their car fully searched to make sure they weren't taking home other students.
Unfortunately, FCPS holds all bargaining chips before students even enroll. They force each student sign a "Student Responsibilities and Rights" document essentially stating you understand FCPS has the right to deal with you any way they please should you screw up. If you don't sign it, they won't give you a locker, a parking spot, nor allow you to participate in after school activities.

If school administrators stumble upon pictures of a student doing something illegal, but not while at school, they should report it to the police, and the buck stops there. If a student's "extra-cirricular" activities don't interfere with school, then schools shouldn't interfere with them.

My Two Cents (4, Interesting)

krunk7 (748055) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977232)

When I was a teenager, I had a friend who saw the school principal at the grocery store. After making eye contact, he gave him the middle finger. The principal was understandably irate and the following Monday suspended him.

When his parents found out, they called the principal and made it abundantly clear that he was far, far outside his bounds and pushed until the school rescinded the suspension. Don't think he didn't suffer consequences, they were just delivered by his parents whose duty it is to do so outside of school.

The duty of school officials is to discipline and teach students within the school environment. From 8-3 or on school grounds, that's it. Period. The minute the child leaves school grounds, he's under the purview of the law and his guardians. The second school officials leave the school grounds, they're just average folks. No legitimate power over and above any other schmo.

Of course you'd check... (1)

WPL510 (196237) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977234)

Where I work, checking these sites is increasingly common- a friend recently had a scare where a student posted a violent rant on his page, pictures of grenades included. Should schools rely on students to carry reports of potentially worrying situations, or do they take advantage of very public information and be warned of potential problems early?

There's also been cases where students have created (public) groups ranting about school issues that they might never bring up directly; knowing about it means a chance to address concerns before they fester.

And worst case, sure, I've seen students pulled aside and quietly reminded that whatever they post online is there for all to see. When you're young, you may not think about it much... up until the day that you're paying some private investigator megabucks to bury your history from potential employers.

Insofar as what gets posted doesn't affect them during the schoolday, not much would be done, but when it comes down to "I hate teacher X and I have a grenade", it's awfully nice to have warning.
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