According to this article on MSNBC, the University of North Carolina’s handbook states:
“Each team must identify at least one coach or administrator who is responsible for having access to and regularly monitoring the content of team members’ social networking sites and postings,” it reads. “The athletics department also reserves the right to have other staff members monitor athletes’ posts.”
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise; after all, a school district local to me was sued for spying on high school kids with the camera on their school-issued laptops – and then punishing them for “inappropriate behavior” done during non-school hours.
That case ended when the school district settled the lawsuit, and they claim to have abandoned the practice of spying on their students. Sadly, the lawsuit failed to test the legality of these practices.
Delaware has recently floated a law that has passed the house and the senate banning schools from engaging in that practice. The law blog of the Wall Street Journal states:
Under the Delaware bill, institutions are forbidden from requesting or requiring a student or applicant to disclose any passwords or related account information; asking them to log on to a social media site in the presence of an agent; requiring the installation of a monitoring device that gives the institution access; or requiring the student to add an agent to their contacts.
Recently in Missouri, a school principal resigned in a flurry of accusations that she’d created a fake Facebook profile to use to spy on her student’s activity. In New York City, teachers are banned from engaging with students on social media sites entirely, but it’s not clear if that includes actual spying.
Frankly, I don’t understand the point. Students have been acting up off campus since the dawn of, well, campuses. I can’t imagine spying on their behavior will actually do much to change it. Having been a rotten student myself that got into all kinds of trouble, I don’t think this would have changed my behavior a bit.
What do you think? Is spying on students part of a good education?