Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Limiting The Reach of Schools

I've long written on this blog that schools' ability to punish student behavior should not extend beyond the campus, except for the "bus stop" rule (which, here in California, gives jurisdiction while students are en route to or from school).  Penalizing students for posting on Facebook pictures of themselves drinking, for example, is not the school's business--at least, it shouldn't be.  I've written plenty of posts where schools undertake to do extend that reach, though, and I wonder why school administrators want to go after behavior that doesn't take place at school or even affect the school.  Don't they have enough work to do with at-school behaviors?
While FIRE focuses on student and faculty rights at our nation’s colleges and universities, some cases in the K–12 context have the potential to affect our work as well. On December 27, a federal judge in Tennessee refused to throw out a First Amendment claim against a public school district that punished students for out-of-school social media posts. With many colleges striving to expand their jurisdiction over offenses committed off-campus, this ruling is a helpful affirmation that even K–12 schools—which may legally restrict student speech in a way that public colleges cannot—may not punish speech without actual evidence that such speech had an impact on the school’s activities or environment.
As the post points out, this particular case is K-12 but some colleges try to do the very same thing.


maxutils said...

3 points ... 1) No the administrators shouldn't care, especially if they start pursuing some, but not others, they are inviting lawsuits. 2) It is none of their business, unless (perhaps) the activity is clearly on campus and 3) why aren't these kids who are so tech savvy not limiting their account access through privacy settings?

Ellen K said...

I don't know if you are aware of this or not, but kudos to the California educators pushing this suit.>>>>>>>>>>

neko said...

Maxutils, they may be tech savy, but they are still naïve as heck. For some reason, they just can't seem to understand that they shouldn't tell absolutely everything to absolutely everyone online.

maxutils said...

neko, we don't disagree at all. You just emphasize my point.