Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Supreme Court Has Overstepped Its Bounds On This One

Though most people envision schools as quiet, sleepy places during the summer, Jay Attiya, the network manager for the 11,000-student Middletown, N.J., school district, had anything but a tranquil summer.

He spent his days putting an electronic archiving system in place in response to revised rules from the U.S. Supreme Court regarding federal lawsuits. The rules, updated in December 2006, require companies, government agencies, school districts, and generally any organization that might be sued in federal court to have systems for retrieving electronic data such as e-mail correspondence if it is needed as evidence in a federal case.

Where in the Constitution is there any federal authority to tell local school districts that they must save all emails sent through their servers?



Anonymous said...

The sword cuts both ways Darren. Is it reasonable to be comfortable with allowing the federal government minute authority over local schools as in NCLB, yet be shocked and outraged when the feds make demands about e-mails? the federal governmental camel, so to speak, has a very large and intrusive nose and once even the tip of that nose is in the tent, none should be surprised when the rest of the camel follows.

But NCLB is different, you say? It's necessary and has positive effects for education? OK. But then we're not arguing about whether federal intrusion is consitutional or even wise, but merely whose version of that intrusion should be considered blessed.

Darren said...

You assign an argument to me that I don't make. In a previous post on education and federalism, I point out that I'd happily get rid of both NCLB and the federal Dept of Education. But since they're *not* going away, I prefer the accountability of NCLB to just giving away more of (my) tax dollars.

I think it was in that same post that I used a metallurgy analogy: pure political ideals may be more valuable, but alloys are more useful.

Ellen K said...

On one hand, I get very paranoid about what I put in emails. I don't name names, students become Student and I am so deliberately vague that I sometimes wonder if the point is even being made. If I really have something pointed to say, I do it in person. Of course, part of the reason for this silliness is due to teachers who like to date students. The other part involves parents of SpEd kids looking for legal loopholes in order to sue. Either way, I rarely use email for anything other than a short question. Ironically, I was told, via email, that I have archived too much of my mail and documents. So I had to rid the system of some power points, images and documents and save them to disk. Seems they don't have enough room on the servers.....