Get A Rope!

18 02 2010

Just when you thought school administrators couldn’t get any dumber, a story breaks into the national media that exhibits such unimaginable levels of buffoonery that mere  words cannot properly describe the event.

In this case, a High School in Pennsylvania got some Federal grants and issued every single student a laptop computer. The students were encouraged to take the laptops home and use them to access school websites, do homework, online research, etc. Each laptop came equipped with a webcam.

Unbeknownst to the students and their parents, the school installed software on the laptops which allowed them to remotely activate the webcams. The students found out about this little gem when one of them was accused of “improper behavior in his home“, and a webcam photo was produced as evidence.

I’ll pause for a moment to allow that to sink in.

For those of you who are a little slow on the uptake, the school could use the webcams to take photos and video of the students and the parents in the privacy of their homes. I don’t know about you, but I am not okay with the idea that random school employees could take pictures of me and my family in my home without my knowledge or consent. Anyone who wouldn’t mind this sort of government intrusion into their private lives should wear bright orange dunce caps so the rest of us can identify them at a distance. Any government agency playing this sort of game does not have your best interests at heart. George Orwell’s 1984 was intended as a cautionary tale, not a fucking instruction manual.

A lawsuit is, of course, in the works. Here is the case filing.

Leaving aside the obvious invasion-of-privacy issues, most High School students are between 14 and 18 years old. I’m pretty sure that taking surreptitious pictures of underage children is against the law- even in Pennsylvania. How many of these laptops were placed in the bedrooms of the students? A lawsuit ought to be the very least of the school’s worries at this point. The school administrators who dreamed up this episode of abysmal, weapons-grade stupidity ought to be living in mortal fear of mobs of local villagers with tar and feathers.

Here’s another issue to consider: What the fuck does “improper conduct in the home” mean? More to the fucking point, where does the school get the idea that the behavior of students off school property is any of their god-damned business? Once the student is away from school, he or she is on their own time, and no longer under the school’s control. I don’t care if the student was gang-raping jackrabbits while wearing nazi armbands, it’s not a school issue. I’m sure PETA and the ASPCA would probably be interested, but they have no business planting “bugs” in private homes, either.

What the Hell happened to you, America? We used to pride ourselves on our independent spirit and lack of respect for authority. The fact that these jack-booted school administrators turned pedophile voyeurs aren’t already dangling from lamp-posts tells me that rebellious spirit is dead and gone.

Bugler, play Taps for the United States of America.

Current status: Outraged

Current music: Baba O’Riley by The Who

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4 responses

18 02 2010
CybrgnX

America has been for some time a land of frightened cowards who are scared spitless of life and its perils. This is reflected in their willingness to let the constitution rot.
The fear has spread to schools where a kid with a jack-knife is a terrorist.
And now this. Its all a shame on us, collectively.
Find the one who authorized the web-cams and hang him by his balls, I know it will be a man.

20 02 2010
paschsaxiom

There are so many educational (to borrow a phrase) charlie-foxtrots’ going on at the moment. Here in Australia a twelve year old was murdered by a fellow student, there was another case where a six year old threatened another student with a knife over a fight about paper aeroplanes. Not to mention the numerous cases of incompetence across all levels of the administration of education all the way up to state and even national; no ones needs are being adequately met.

I had been considering becoming a secondary English teacher because clearly no one is doing a bang up job of it these days, and I like that it’s a good time to impress a passion for language, and to sneakily teach critical thinking. High school English, specifically grade 11, was when I gained the passion, learned how to correctly structure an essay (invaluable, beyond belief), and it was really when I was taught how to learn. Which is something that I would love, in turn, to teach to others.

However this is to be a fruitless pursuit. To be honest, contemplating how hard I would have to work to teach the less orthodox style I would like to teach in coupled with the association to such idiocy on the part of the administration of the entire industry I’m much better off keeping my lofty ideals and dream of educating, well, lofty by not having any association with formal education.

28 02 2010
The BoBo Carnival of Politics – February 28, 2009 Edition | The BoBo Files

[…] and a wrong way to exercise your rights. This is the wrong way. Good post. Archvillain presents Get A Rope! posted at A Dark and Sinister Force for Good, saying, “Sorry for the language, but this sort […]

28 02 2010
Carnival of Opinions 2-28-2010 | SurveyMagnet.com

[…] presents Get A Rope! posted at A Dark and Sinister Force for Good, saying, “Big Brother is watching … your […]

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