Feb 20 2010
Here’s an interview with the family of the student who is at the center of the Lower Meridion School District. I’m glad I didn’t see the interview before I’d written my previous post on the situation. If what the family says is true, almost every statement that the school has made so far is false, from claiming that the spyware was only used 42 times to the statement that it was only activated when a laptop was reported stolen. The Vice Principal accused Blake Robbins of trying to sell drugs online with proof of a picture taken from the laptop. What Blake says he was really holding up weren’t drugs but candy. And the Father hits the nail on the head in saying that his biggest concern is his 18 year old daughter who also has a school provided laptop with the same software installed.
I’m not exaggerating when I say I believe that the majority of the administration at the Lower Merion School District needs to be at least suspended pending investigation if not summarily fired! The utter lack of moral and ethical compass that was required for this situation to come about is staggering. I can understand wanting to protect an investment, but the slide from that to spying on school children should be obvious to anyone with a shred of common sense. Lacking that much common sense tells me these people are unworthy of being in the school system and of teaching our children basic knowledge. The LMSD is going to have to do serious damage control and their first step has to be keeping the people involved in this mess away from children.
This situation is going to have far ranging consequences and will hopefully change the way school administrators feel about monitoring students. If you’re school district provides computers for your children, you need to make them aware of this situation and ask them if they’re doing anything similar. If they answer yes, demand a full audit of the system and who accessed it immediately! Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer; get a lawyer involved if you have to. If you’re a teacher or an administrator who has similar software installed on laptops you’ve provided to your students, disable the program immediately and begin an audit of your systems and who accessed it. It’s better to be proactive and discover that your system was abused than find out because you’re being hit with a lawsuit.
I’m putting down the keyboard now because I can barely express the outrage I feel at this situation.