Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Myspace and School Districts

Should schools interfere with things that go on on Myspace? If a student makes a profile of a teacher, what right does the school have to discipline the student? What legal right does a school district have concerning things that are written or done on the internet, which is technically off school district property?

Even though Myspace, according to most teens, is so last year, ( I thought that this would still be a good discussion point. Last year, I made a Myspace Profile for one of my teachers along with a friend. We put a picture of her up, creating a fake profile with funny things, and basically everyone in the class got a huge laugh out of it. It was jokes about her hair, the way she spoke, and her hair style (it was short). We did this because she was a god awful teacher and we all hated her. It relieved some of the stress of the class. There were a few other Myspace teacher profiles that were worse then the one I created, so I didn’t bother with them. Come late November, I heard that school administrators and the security staff (two police officers and two former members of the FBI) had discovered the Myspace that I created and were taking students out of class and questioning them as to who created it. At the end of December, I was finally pulled out of a class and sat in a room alone after my cell phone had been taken away from me. I sat for about a half hour before a former FBI woman came in and sat down. For another 45 minutes I sat there, until another one came in and gave me a pad and paper and told me to write down everything I knew. HE said if I didn’t fess up, they would do an IP Search from the County prosecutor’s office ($2000) and I would have to foot the bill if it came back to me. I fessed up. The result for my helping them? Four days suspension. While some may think “Oh well,” the official reason I was suspended was for “sexual harassment” because under Lesbian as her sexual orientation. This punishment was handed down from an assistant principal that was, yes, homosexual.

So what jurisdiction does a school district have in cases such as these? The crime wasn’t on school property and the teacher did not press charges. This type of occurrence is going to occur more and more often in the future.

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