Restrictive Social Media Policy Riles Tennessee College students, Mothers and fathers

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The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Basis are up in arms over a social media policy currently in area at Williamson County College in Tennessee that the two groups say stifles pupil rights.

The groups claim the policy violates the constitutional rights of its students because it enables officials to search by means of any electronic units brought into college “at any time” irrespective of whether or not school officials think there is a affordable trigger to do so, as properly as to management what college students submit on social media websites.  The college is also permitted to monitor any communications sent through or stored on the school’s server, which means officials have the appropriate to read student emails.

The policy is intended to “protect college students and adults from obscene info,” “restrict accessibility to resources that are damaging to minors,” and protect the college from malware.

However, due to the fact of the broad statements employed, the groups say the policy is in violation of the First and Fourth Amendments and that it displays “a fundamental misunderstanding of the constitutional rights” of its college students.

The groups also have issue with the punishments for not complying with the policy, which include “loss of network privileges, confiscation of personal computer tools, suspension … and/or criminal prosecution.”  Not allowing students accessibility to computers and Internet essential for schoolwork denies them their constitutional proper to an equal education.

In a letter sent to the Williamson County Board of Training, the groups inquire for a alter to its current policy, citing the expertise shared by parent Daniel Pomerantz, whose 5-12 months-previous daughter was not allowed to use school computer systems till he had signed an agreement to the policy.

“The 1st time they had been using the personal computers [in her classroom], they told her she had to go sit aside and do anything else and she commenced to cry and complain,” Pomerantz advised WIRED. “It was not a pleasant experience as a family. They told her it was all because of me, that [due to the fact] I wouldn’t do this was why she couldn’t find out on computers with all the other college students.”

The letter suggested that the policy violated students’ rights to off-campus speech by requiring permission from a instructor prior to posting any photographs of other college students or teachers on a social media internet site irrespective of the place or when that photograph was taken.

The policy influences all 35,000 college students in the districts’ 41 schools.

WCS Superintendent Mike Looney issued the following statement in response to the letter:

“The district obtained a letter from an ACLU lawyer these days requesting modification of the Acceptable Use, Media Release, and Internet Safety Procedures. Our attorneys are reviewing the request. The district stays committed to safeguarding the constitutional rights of our students whilst maintaining a risk-free and safe learning surroundings for them.”

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