Thursday, October 27, 2005

Father, forgive me, for I have blogged

A Roman Catholic high school in New Jersey worried about cyberpredators has ordered its students to remove their weblogs from the internet.

13 comments:

  1. I don't get this. Maybe I missed something when I read it.

    How can school administrators - any school, private or public - control what their students do from the sanctity of their own homes? If the student blogs are not done while at school or using any school facilities or equipment, how does the school have any rights to control it?

    If I were a parent of a child who attended that school, I'd cry bullshit. I'd either have my kid ignore the dictated (after explaining what's appropriate and inappropriate content as far as keeping one's self safe on the internet) or I'd yank my kid out pretty dang fast. That's just good money going to waste!

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  2. Kasey Mackenzie1:18 PM

    I'm sure the ACLU will have a FIELD DAY with this one!

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  3. Private schools can dictate to students on a lot of issues, and even (as this school did) have parents sign contracts agreeing to such acts of censorship. One private school we checked out a few years back wanted me to sign an agreement that included what my children were permitted to read, and what they weren't (notably, the Harry Potter books were on the banned list.) I didn't put my kids in that school.

    I think there were probably some good intentions behind making a move like this, but given the Catholic church's ongoing problem with priests abusing children, I think they should deal with the predators in their own ranks first.

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  4. Let me say first… OMG!

    I strongly agree with this:

    "But this is the first time we've heard of such an overreaction," he said. "It would be better if they taught students what they should and shouldn't do online rather than take away the primary communication tool of their generation."

    As a former “private” school student who was switched to public school in the seventh grade, I realized quickly that I had no social skills.

    Isn’t our job as parents/adults/teachers/administrators to teach children how to become better adults? How to think through a decision and then make the best one? We are crippling our children.

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  5. My response to the school administrators would be "We pay you, not the other way around."

    I'm pretty sure, to make amends, they'd warn me of the dangers of letting a door collide with my buttocks upon exiting.

    Just to get the last word in, I show them they're #1, and damn if I can't use my index finger to do it.

    The bottom line is it's MY child, and *I* decide how they are to be raised, what their online activities are, and what they will read. Period. End of discussion. I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitress.

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  6. Definitely a parental issue, but their parents handed over that right, unfortunately.

    We looked into 3 different private schools for my oldest and they all wanted me to sign a statement that said--because they're prohibited from doing so--I would come to the school to use the school's spanking stick on my child in front of the administrator if he misbehaved. One of them not only had guidelines as to what the student was allowed to read, but what materials were even to be in the home.

    Considering what I write, wouldn't that be a pisser of a teacher conference?

    He's doing just fine in public school. *g*

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  7. Online blogs are one of the biggest ways I communicate with RL friends across the country (right up there with AIM and the occasional phone call). Even the threat of expulsion isn't going to make me stop.

    And personally, I'd leave skipping, because whether or not they color it as such, whether or not it's in the interest of safety, it's still censorship.

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  8. I suppose I should be bothered by this, but I rather expect it from a private religious school. They seem to be all about limiting freedom of thought and expression in one form or another while protecting themselves from criticism.

    It's bad, but expected.

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  9. Being that I live in that county I'm not surprised at all. It's quite a mix of farm folk and NYC commuters.

    Sad.

    But, being in an extremely affluent town, I can't see parents quietly abiding this one.

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  10. This school regulation is a sickening violation of the first ammendment, in my opinion, and I hope parents and stundents refuse to abide by it.

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  11. I'm not surprised by that. I won't even be surprised if it turned out some people in the US government would like to forbid anti-Bush, anti-Iraq, pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion and other evil subjects in blogs; or at least protect good pro-Bush, anti- gay marriage people from reading such horrible things so they won't fall victim to the devil of free thought.

    *insert very sarcastic grin*

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  12. The only things they can really do is investigate threats against the President posted in blogs. The Secret Service takes threats against the President's life (no matter which party he or she represents) very seriously--even those not meant to be taken seriously.

    I doubt they're out combing the blogosphere, but it could happen.

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  13. Initially, I read this more as a litigation-prevention issue than a freedom-of-speech issue. I assumed that, for the school to have that sort of control, the children would have to be in residence at the school. In which case, with the school acting in loco parentis, it would be entirely within its rights to prevent its students from posting weblogs on the internet. There IS a legitimate safety issue, and children lack the life experience and judgement skills to adequately protect themselves.

    HOWEVER -- I looked up the school. It's 100% non-residential. Which makes the school's dictate as egregious as any public-school power grab.

    Note the quote: That could dilute the students' free speech claims somewhat, acknowledged Ed Barocas, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.

    "The rights of students at private schools are far different than those of public schools because administrators at public schools are agents of government," he said. "That's not the case here."


    Administrators of public schools are agents of the government. Bad. Very Bad. "We're from the government -- we're here to help you?" [laughs maniacally]

    Administrators of private schools are agents of the church, or their corporate owners, or whomever it is who owns the school. Also bad. "Beating is good for the soul. Really. Trust us."

    No matter who they are, though, they're agents for somebody else's agenda, and the agenda is never What does the parent want for his kid?.

    This is why we -- and a lot of other people of libertarian bent -- homeschool.

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