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 mereĀ  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