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Privacy Violations

Posted by titantv on April 29, 2014 at 12:50 AM

By Shelby Gordon 

 

Times are changing, and as technology progresses, so does the relevance of social media. Almost everyone has some sort of technological means of communication with the public, and while this is a huge advancement for networking and making connections, it also signifies a new subject of censorship by the government.

George W. Bush enacted the Patriot Act in 2001, and in 2011 President Barack Obama issued a four year extension for three specific provisions- roving wiretaps, searches of business records, and surveillance of individuals suspected of terrorist related activities, according to the Huffington Post.

This can grant access to social media profiles, and sometimes calls and text messages. While this law was created to better prepare for terrorist activities, it has largely influenced social media policies within the US public school systems.

CNN reports there are schools in Glendale, California that paid out nearly $40,000 to a firm to monitor all of the school’s students’ social media posts, supposedly in search of drug references, truancy, suicidal thoughts, bullying, and violence. They also check these throughout the day to see if students have been using their smart phones in class.

While it’s a good thought if they can prevent students from harming themselves, one can’t help but wonder if these new circumstances qualify as privacy violations. The school board told reports that students age 13 or older did not have to give their consent to have their social media monitored.

Yes, we are still teenagers. But does that mean we don’t deserve the same rights as others? This nation was founded on principles of freedom, and it’s hard not to feel like those rights are being violated when teachers are allowed to stalk our social media.

McDowell High School has it’s own social media policies, but they were not created in house. They are North Carolina State Law, and it’s imperative students be aware of their rights. The average student can only be punished if something on their social media profiles qualifies as bullying, or it’s an illegal activity taking place on school grounds or while the student is wearing a McDowell High Logo.

However, for some people, this situation is a little different. For some athletes, such as the McDowell Cheerleaders, their social media is very carefully monitored. If a picture seems to be a little unseemly, or a text post is a little hateful or uses vulgar language, that cheerleader can be given demerits for what coaches believe to be inappropriate behavior for the high school’s role models. This could eventually result in being removed from the squad.

This same deal goes for National Honors Society. This is a club for the school’s highest GPAs, and they’re meant to be representatives of the school’s academic excellence. If they are caught posting things that can be construed as inappropriate, they can be removed from Honors Society.

Is this kind of monitoring acceptable? Or is it crushing individuality and freedom for young people? It can easily flip either way. Some people justify the monitoring by saying it happens frequently in the work force, and it teaches students a lesson to not post things on the internet they don’t want to receive the repercussions for. Others say spying on kids’ lives outside of school violates all of their civil rights and is completely irrelevant to the jobs of an education system. The kids are there to learn. Their personal lives belong to them.

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