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LunaChick's avatar

Should a school district be able to monitor students via remote access to laptops?

Asked by LunaChick (1376points) February 19th, 2010

A school district, in suburban Philadelphia, issued laptops to their students. The district has the ability to use remote access, at any time of the day or night. This includes turning on the web-cam, while the students are in their homes.

They said remote access is only for locating a “stolen” laptop, but one student filed suit, after he was accused of “improper behavior” by a school administrator, who used a picture of him, taken from his laptop, as “proof” of this activity.

Do you think a school should be able to monitor students, outside of school related activity?

Click here to read a CBS article, about the lawsuit.

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28 Answers

FishGutsDale's avatar

No…Hell no.

DominicX's avatar

No, I don’t think they should. There are other ways of tracking stolen laptops. This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. Children are people. They have rights and they don’t deserve to be treated that way. It’s a complete invasion of privacy and I would never advocate that kind of thing in a million years.

1984 anyone?

SeventhSense's avatar

Maybe in 1984 definitely not 2010
great minds think alike

faye's avatar

Gaah, big brother, peeuuw.

lilikoi's avatar

Absolutely not. Invasion of privacy.

YoH's avatar

No. Never.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

Well…....Being able to see the internet history is one thing. But turning on the webcams?! NO!

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Spying on kids with cameras? Yeah that’s really bad.
Your job can monitor what you do with the computer at your desk though and that’s not illegal. The camera use is taking it too far. You can’t spy on people in their homes.
Teachers aren’t trained well enough for this sort of thing. The schools are just inviting trouble.

Ok I’ll make a conclusion:
Should the school monitor what kids are doing with the computers that are school property?
YES! No question whatsoever!

Should teachers be allowed to use the computer’s camera to see what the kids are doing at home?
NO! In fact that is illegal in most states.

Any teacher or administrator who uses a camera of any sort to spy on children in their own homes needs to be fired immediately! In some cases, they’ll need to be reported to the police. Schools have proven that they are completely fucking clueless and ineffective in policing their own staff. This is why child molesters become teachers so frequently.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

No to the webcam but yes to the monitoring/access of content on the school issued laptop.

casheroo's avatar

Agree with @hungryhungryhortence

And I know where that school is. I’d LOVE it if my children went there. It’s a great school.

jrpowell's avatar

It is one thing to see what is on the kids computer with ARD. This is just fucking insane. The kid could be changing clothes in front of their computer. And a big green light comes on if the iSight is on but I wouldn’t expect a kid to know why. Someone needs to be fired.

Fred931's avatar

If you can remotely track the location of and remotely wipe an iPhone, then the same might, and probably should, be said for a laptop. That said, these computers should be treated like ordinary work computers that can be searched for browser history and the like. The control of the webcam goes beyond what is necessary for the school to control.

jrpowell's avatar

@Fred931 :: No Apple laptops have GPS built in them.

Fred931's avatar

@johnpowell You say that, but aren’t there other means of hunting down an IP address’s location at all?

LunaChick's avatar

Thanks for your answers everyone – I wanted to hear what others thought of this. When I first heard it, on the news, I couldn’t believe it. Like many of you, my first thought was “big brother is watching you.”

wildpotato's avatar

This is funny. I went to one of the high schools in that district. The school district is not in Philly itself, btw, but a mile or two outside it, to the west. This story is just absolutely typical; that place is nuts. Ah, LM. Only the well caffeinated survived.

To answer, no of course they shouldn’t be doing it. But the admins of the schools tend to do what they want with few reprisals. They have zero regard for students as people, and are extremely suspicious of those who are unfortunate enough to catch their attention. This is one of those things it seems a bit hopeless to fight against, in the end – they would have found a way to persecute this Robbins kid one way or another.

hug_of_war's avatar

I think its fine

jrpowell's avatar

@Fred931 :: You can use something like but it is hit and miss. It gets within a block of my house. But it is miles away when Allie uses it.

filmfann's avatar

The school administrator should be taken to court over this. It is vile and disgusting that they feel they have the right to do this, simply because they issued the computer.
A case currently before the Supreme Court will having bearing on this. That case determines if a company that gives cell phones to its employees has the right to see all of their text messages.

Jeruba's avatar

This is beyond outrageous. It should be and should have been unthinkable. The people who were capable of thinking of it are not just not just the school authorities who used the feature but those who enabled it through software and those who sold the idea to the school in the first place. Those are people who need a strong lesson in abuse of trust and who probably also need to write lines. How about the Bill of Rights, 2000 times?

Supacase's avatar

Absolutely not!

ratboy's avatar

Yes, of course. Otherwise students might use school computers to sext one another with impunity. And, worse, the administrators would miss the show.

thriftymaid's avatar

That’s a no

Ria777's avatar

absolute in favor. how else can they prepare for the surveillance society?

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Definitely not. I hope the courts come down hard on the school district.

Even if, for some incredible reason, I supported surveillance on students which I don’t, other people are going to be caught on camera. What about the student’s parents? Older siblings? Family friends? They never gave consent to be monitored. They never even gave implied consent, which some will argue happened when the students accepted the laptops.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

No. I’d say more, but others have already articulated the point.



SeventhSense's avatar

I agree with everything you say except this statement:
This is why child molesters become teachers so frequently.
All teachers in my state (and I was one of them) are fingerprinted by law and anyone with any criminal history will be screened and excluded. So maybe there are some future pedophiles but I don’t believe anymore than other industry. If one considers the millions of children and teachers and the amount of incidents it’s probably even less because of the stringent background checks, It’s just that those incidents that are brought to the press are aired so extensively. You don’t hear about the parent of the kid down the block who is molesting his/her child which is far more prevalent. It just doesn’t become national news.

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