OK, you say, what else is new?
What's new here is that the "inappropriate behavior" took place outside of school hours, at home, possibly in the student's bedroom.
Wait! It gets better. Or worse, depending on your perspective.
High schools (at least) in the Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania have been monitoring their student's behavior at home, often in the privacy of their bedrooms, without anyone's knowledge.
Since this is so utterly mind-boggling, right off the top here's a link to the class action lawsuit [PDF] filed on Feburary 11, 2010, on behalf of the high school student who was the target of disciplinary action by his high school for "inappropriate behavior" that took place outside of school hours, off school grounds, at his home, and probably in his bedroom.
All other students of the District in a similar position have been added as a class to the lawsuit.
How did this happen?
The School District was monitoring student's activities at any time, without the student's or the parents' knowledge or permission, through the webcam included in the School District-issued laptop computers that students took home with them.
How do we know this?
... The issue came to light when the Robbins's child was disciplined for "improper behavior in his home" and the Vice Principal used a photo taken by the webcam as evidence.
The exact nature of the "inappropriate behavior" was not specified, thankfully, and does not matter.
To my mind, the implications of this are staggering, and I don't feel I'm being melodramatic.
How many kids leave their laptops -- and I don't give one good flying f*ck that this laptop came from the School District -- powered up and on a desk or a bed almost full-time when they're at home?
When they're getting dressed, when they're on the phone, when they're hanging out with their buds, when their parents or siblings are in their bedroom?
Speaking only for myself, I hope this School District gets sued into extinction because of this, and after that I hope that every District administrator and staff member, and every single School Board member who had any knowledge of this is fired by whatever husk is left of the District, and is sued into lifetime poverty.
This data point follows on the article at Open Left: "ReThink Interview: Cevin Soling, director of 'The War On Kids'"
The gist of that article is the undocument war on the civil rights of children in America's public schools, and the larger issue of how American children are wildly mis-served by an educational "industry" that's principally focused on pacifying children into mindless thoughtlessness.- bp