Saturday, March 6, 2010

School Spying on High School Students

Recent allegations of spying on high school students while at home are at the root of a controversy in the Lower Merion School District outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The situation was unveiled when school officials used webcam evidence to accuse high school student Blake Robbins of using illicit drugs in his home. As it turned out the “illicit drugs” turned out to be Mike and Ike candies. But the disturbing thing was the ability of school district employees to remotely activate the web cam and take pictures of the student in his home.

To me, this is a gross intrusion of government into places and matters that are not their concern. Yes, the school district can monitor what students do while in school. But they do not have the right to monitor students, without their knowledge, in the privacy of their own home!

At home, it is the parents’ right and responsibility to monitor what their children are up to. In fact, 24/7/365 from birth until they reach legal adulthood, the parents have the primary responsibility for raising their children.

We’ve seen schools overstep the boundaries of law in the case of the strip searching of Savana Redding. In that case, the school officials committed what I would call sexual abuse of a minor by subjecting the girl to such a visual intrustion of the most private parts of her body. (See my previous post.)

All in all, we need to be vigilant for cases where school officials and others in government overstep the bounds of their authority and invade the privacy and constitutional rights of students.


  1. Very disturbing information. Good post, thanks for sharing!

  2. Yes, I feel that School officials should not be surveilancing the activities of students outside of school grounds. However I also understand the possible justification that they might use in doing so, from personal experience. You see I have an elementary schoolaged cousin, Joey, whom lives with my family. And anything wrong that he does at home is counted at school as well. So like if he were to defy my parents, it would be as if he disobeyed a teacher. Also, schoolchildren are not recognised as having full constitutional rights, for some reason. For example, if he is questioned about a disciplinary incident, and he refuses to admit to any wrongdoing, he will be penalised. So he does not have fifth amendment protection from self incrimination. For children, and youth, with bad reputations, such as those like Joe, who has Reactive Attachment Disorder, there are little to no personal rights. And then philosophical anarchists like myself are placed in the awkward posistion of defending the civil rights of minors, and risking running afoul of established adult authority figures, who see us as siding with immature children against them. We therefore are judged as being traitors to our age.