Should Students be Punished for Pictures Posted on the Internet?
As a teen, I do post my fair share of public photos on the internet and social networking sites, though my school was never contacted to pursue any action on the photos regardless of what things were in them, being illegal or against the school’s academic contracts/requirements.
The students at Eden Prairie High School have had a different experience with their school’s administration. Thirteen students who signed an athletic contract were punished for breaking some of the rules pertaining to alcohol by posting pictures of themselves drinking at a party on a social networking site. A student there reported these pictures for the school to investigate and the students who were found to be drinking alcohol were punished for disobeying an athletic contract.
“We do not go out looking at student social networking sites. We do however take action when we are given legitimate information about school… violations," says Principal Conn McCartan. Digital cameras and social networking make the world a very public place, schools and employers check networking sites and penalize people for what they find.
There are thousands of students on Facebook from Eden Prairie High School who all have dozens and hundred of photos with and without a privacy setting to limit access to their profiles to only authorized people. Other students may post photos of students without their permission or even knowledge. With limited ability to stop social networking, schools and businesses, despite having the right to lurk around, should not be able to punish people based on actions observed on social networks. The students who disobeyed the athletic contract should be tested for alcohol if the school suspects drinking. A student who organized a protest explains that it is impossible to see what was even inside the red drinking cups the students had in the photo to begin with, so the administration can not prove the students...
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