Skibo wrote:How about if a school turns on a web cam of a school supplied laptop while the student is at home and records what is going on? Don't scoff a SD very near to me is now going to be spending a lot of money in legal defense and the eventual damages to the students and family.
Easy solution...schools shouldn't give out laptops with webcams.
Seriously though...it is food for thought. To me, a webcam on a "loaner" laptop is inviting problems, and I'm not sure why the kids would need them (this coming from a non webcam user, so if you know of valid reasons, please fill me in). Monitoring of a webcam at a student's home gives me the heebie jeebies. I just can't think of any instance where it would be justified, when there would have to be other means of getting the same information.
My understanding is that if the school district owns the laptop, then they have the right to access anything saved on the computer, as well as the history. The same is true for laptops that may be given to staff. And I'm sure this is spelled out in any contract the kids/parents/staff are supposed to read and sign in order to be given the laptop.
I think PetalMel's explanation is the closest to what the districts I'm familiar with use. I'm not aware of district's randomly monitoring use, but if there is enough evidence of a threat or bullying that could result in a dangerous situation, then they probably have to take a look. If it's a cellphone, I imagine that would be restricted to a few most recent texts/pics, not an entire history. Leave that to the lawyers. It's kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. If the school district has some inkling of trouble and doesn't intervene, they'll get slapped with a lawsuit. If they do intervene, someone will cry out "invasion of privacy" and the district will get slapped by a lawsuit. Want to know why all school districts are broke? Find out how many lawsuits they're dealing with.
Long before mp3 players and cellphones became a permanent accessory, Walkmans were not allowed on our elementary campuses. If they were found, they were confiscated for the year, kept by the Principal. Somewhere along the way the rules changed, and the next thing I knew kids were taking them (and later on, mp3 players) for the bus ride on a field trip...where they might be on the bus 1-2 hours. WTF? They can't carry on a conversation with their friends for that amount of time? I used to spend an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes each way on the school bus every day, so this just boggles my mind. What have we done?