Green Room

Philadelphia school uses laptops to spy on children at home

posted at 7:15 pm on February 22, 2010 by

In a time when teachers are getting nailed left and right for sleeping with students, you know what would be a really good idea? Sending high school students home with laptops that, at any moment, can activate a camera and watch them at home.

Blake Robbins and his 18-year-old sister both attend Harriton High School and were among the 2,300 students in the district to receive the Apple laptops. All students and their parents had to sign a “memorandum of understanding” to take the laptops home with wording that explained the rules and regulations that came along with the computers. The paperwork did not include the disclosure that the school district had the ability to remotely activate the embedded webcams at any time, without student’s permission.

Last November, Blake Robbins was called to the office by the vice principal to talk about what she called his “improper behavior” at home. Vice Principal Lindy Matsko allegedly cited as evidence a photograph taken with the computer’s webcam that had been activated in Blake’s bedroom. Robbins claims that the Matsko accused him of selling drugs when she saw him holding up what she believed to be pills. The 15-year-old says he was simply holding his favorite candy, “Mike And Ikes,” which are small oblong, chewy jelly beans.

Tsk tsk. When are you foolish people going to learn that you are not the primary guardian of your children? You’re hardly as qualified as tenured NEA members. Don’t you know it takes a village?

This poor kid is being harassed and accused of criminal activity, but we all know situations that potentially could be far worse. Suppose cameras were turned on when students were getting dressed, or were just out of the shower. Suppose they were on when students were doing one of the many activities that becomes common during puberty. Lately, it’s become clear that some teachers are exploring “perks” of their profession. Hell, we’re lucky if we can undo the more and more common brainwashing being used on kids when they get home.

So which scares you more about your children and technology? To Catch A Predator, or this? Frankly…I’m torn.

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Right to privacy be d*mned, I’m thinking that this could easily become a “kiddie-pr0n” issue….

cthulhu on February 22, 2010 at 7:38 PM

Seriously, this one goes beyond the boundaries… I really want to meet the person who thought this was a great idea, so I can assist them with their “face palm” moment.

Should the local DA considering stalking charges?????

I can’t even dream up a scenario where this was a justifiably good idea and I work in advertising & PR!

2nd Ammendment Mother on February 22, 2010 at 7:47 PM

George Orwell smiles ;}

Robert17 on February 22, 2010 at 7:50 PM

[..snip..] this one goes beyond the boundaries…
2nd Ammendment Mother on February 22, 2010 at 7:47 PM

Yes, by approximately the distance between here and Pluto.
I offer you the prize for understatement.

So which scares you more about your children and technology? To Catch A Predator, or this?

This doesn’t scare me at all, but somebody needs to spend a month or so behind bars, or better in the stocks, while they reflect on their arrogance, barbarity, crassness, ill-manners, control obsession and outright stupidity. Then they need to spend the following few years sweeping streets and cleaning toilets while they learn to comprehend the obligations of civilised society.

YiZhangZhe on February 22, 2010 at 9:10 PM

I’m thinking I was against this since at least the 6th grade in 1968. Half of my classmates and myself were condemned to eat lunch in a classroom away from the more dignified others. We were told to stay in our seats, remain quiet, while noshing our “from home” bag lunches. One of the jailer teachers deftly slid the PA switch up on the way out of the classroom – leaving us behind to mull over our incivility and enable audio spying on us back at the principal’s office. All of us ruffians saw the move made on the PA switch.

In the reflection offered by the glass in the classroom door, we watched them smugly amble down the hallway probably offering the switch flipper props. Soon as they were around the corner we set the PA switch in its proper position and promptly resumed our higher energy un-Ritalin-muted selves until the reflection gave away the returning approach of our jailers. Switch up. We were angels.

Teachers have long been seeking the organizers of dissent, or so they allege are the organizers.

ericdijon on February 22, 2010 at 9:25 PM

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Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

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