Thursday, October 11, 2007

High School Tyranny in Colorado

Hide your cell phones, kids, unless you want your high school principal pawing through them, reading your messages, and impersonating you to entrap your friends. This is exactly what happened at Monarch High School in Louisville, Colorado.

It's stunning that adults thought that this extraordinary violation of privacy was okay.
School officials at Monarch High in Louisville are committing felonies and violating students' privacy by seizing students' cell phones, reading their text messages and making notes about it in students' permanent files, the ACLU warned Wednesday.
Why would administrators do this? What could possibly drive them to such puritanical lengths?

The never ending crusade against high school marijuana use, of course.

It gets downright creepy. In a letter to the Board of Education of the school system, the ACLU describes one mother getting her son's cell phone back from Assistant Principal Drew Adams.
When the student’s mother finally recovered it the following Tuesday, she discovered that Adams had apparently drafted a text message and had attempted to send it from her son’s phone to one of her son’s friends. The text message appeared in the phone’s outbox with an unambiguous time and date stamp showing that it was drafted while Adams had possession of the phone. The text message itself appeared to be Adams’ attempt to engage the receiving student in a conversation while Adams was falsely representing himself as a student.
The drug war has turned our public policy into a farce. Under this set of absurd laws, our officials turn into criminal impersonators and those who we think we can trust violate our basic rights. For what? To bust a dozen high school students?

Dylan Hayword, a Monarch senior, tells us why we should all be concerned by this kind of insane abuse of power.
Hayward told 9NEWS he would not want administrators searching his cell phone because of personal messages he receives from his mother.

"She lets me know about family affairs, Grandma's surgery and stuff like that," Hayward said. "I don't want everyone going through my texts and learning about my problems and stuff like that... It's not cool."