Illinois Schools Can Ask For Facebook Passwords of Students!
It looks like Illinois school life is about to get a little less cool. A law has been passed that now allows the school authorities to ask for your passwords on all the social media websites.
Interestingly, the law doesn’t specifically allow teachers to do this. What it does is ask them to take reasonable measures against certain activities.
This means they could require you to share with them everything you have said or done on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, ask.fm and what not. Oh the horrors!
Anyhow a letter was sent to the parents of students studying in schools in Illinois where the school authorities have explained their new rights. Apparently, “State law requires school authorities to notify you that your child may be asked to provide his or her password for these accounts to school officials in certain circumstances.”
While none of the students are going to be okay with this, it appears that the steps might have been taken in response to certain cyberbullying incidents that have been occurring. There are more laws governing the social media environment and this could be an after effect. Here’s an excerpt from the letter:
School authorities may require a student or his or her parent/guardian to provide a password or other related account information in order to gain access to his/her account or profile on a social networking website if school authorities have reasonable cause to believe that a student’s account on a social networking website contains evidence that a student has violated a school disciplinary rule or procedure.
Do remember however, that cyberbullying is not the only case when a student’s password could be required. You could be at the receiving end of this even if there is reason to believe that you have broken any disciplinary rules – that really broadens the scope!
Wait, it get worse.
In case there is a student who refuses to share his Facebook or Twitter passwords with the school administration, the person could be taken to police or court for violating a state law! So yes, you can be forced to share all your personal messages with them if they have reason to believe that you have done something against the rules.
My question in all this is, what do you think should be the line that schools should not cross? Isn’t there supposed to be a line after which privacy should be respected?