Posts made by Laura Cummings

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Suzy is an 8th grade student at our school. As soon as she gets home from school, she visits kidsblog.com* because several classmates have blogs on that site. The site is blocked at school so the students do their posts and reading of posts from home.

Last night Suzy read her classmate Meg’s blog. On the blog Meg was saying that their Language Arts teacher was boring and didn’t grade fairly. Suzy was VERY upset by what she perceived to be untrue statements about her favorite teacher! She ran into the kitchen to tell her Mom. Her mom immediately called the principal and insisted that Meg be made to remove the post and denied her in-school technology privileges for the remainder of the school year.

As a Student Council member, your task is to take a position on whether Meg should be made to remove the post and/or punished by the school for making the post. Your group will be looking at both sides of this issue, taking a position and then publishing “White Papers.” Your papers will be presented to the committee that develops the student code of conduct so there will be clarification of the policies for how future problems should be handled.

*kidsblog.com is NOT a real website!

Resources:
Bloggers' FAQ - Student Blogging - Bloggers' Rights


Ex-student awarded damages in his free-speech lawsuit - Seattle Post Intelligencer

What rights do student bloggers have? - Uni High's Daily News & Multimedia Student Publication

Teen webmaster sues after NJ district punishes him for site - Associated Press via First Amendment Center

Druming Up Trouble - Number 2 Pencil

Student bloggers disciplined for threatening teacher - I Started a Joke

Student bashes administrators - gets disciplined - District Administration

Internet Free Speech Ruling Favors Burlington School Administrators
- The Hartford Courant


 

Censorship is defined as the removal and/or withholding of information from the public by a controlling group or body.

There has been a request from the Editorial team of the school newspaper to explore the possibility of having a “non-censored” school newspaper at the secondary level in this school district.
The “non-censored” school newspaper would still follow the same rules as a local newspaper that is found at the local grocery store or is delivered to the home. There would be no swearing, nudity or obscene material. There could be an “opinion” section in the paper. The non-censored newspaper would have to print the facts and clearly identify opinions. Articles would need to be completed in a “professional” manner by being proofed for grammar and spelling errors. Obsenities would not be allowed.

In the non-censored newspaper, any and all topics of interest to students could be written about and published. Adults at the school would NOT be able to remove articles or items unless the rules listed in the above paragraph are not followed.

Your task is to take a position on whether a “non-censored” newspaper should be allowed. Your group will glean the best supporting arguments from the writings from both those advocating and those opposing a non-censored school paper. You will then write and publish a “White Paper” for your position on the issue that will be presented to the building Principal so that the student position on this issue is known and can be presented to the School Board for action.


Resources:

Fairbault Superintendent shuts down student newspaper - StarTribune.com- Minneapolis-St. Paul MN

Can Public High School Administrators Censor what I say in a School-Hosted Blog or Other School-Sponsored Publication? - Electronic Frontier Foundation

High school student paper in censorship squabble - The Miami Herald

What's Wrong with a Little Censorship? - Open Society Institute & Soros Foundations Network

The ten questions high school student journalists most frequently ask about their rights - Student Press Law Center

I Didn't Always Think Well of the Student Press - American Association of School Administrators


 
Should school districts be able to place surveillance cameras in schools?

Watched by surveillance camera. by mujitra

School administrators are considering the purchase and placement of surveillance cameras in the secondary schools. The cameras cannot (or should not) record conversations but their presence could prevent school theft, vandalism and fights. They may also prevent intruders from entering the school. Another positive effect of surveillance cameras may be that students can worry less about their safety and concentrate more on studies.

Administrators are also looking at the cost of the cameras and the privacy rights issues of staff and students. The cameras are expensive and will require that someone monitors the videos. The privacy rights of students and staff are also questioned. Will the cameras monitor everyone fairly? Will the cameras increase the feeling of safety and security for staff and students or will they violate the rights of those captured on video? You and your team are to write a “White Paper” on this subject and present your arguments for your side of the issue.

Photo: "Watched by surveillance camera" by mujitra available via Creative Commons Attribution Rights

Resources:
Cameras in the Classroom: Snooping or Security?
Phyllis Raybin Emert - New Jersey State Bar Association Website

Does the Eye Spy?
Matt Villano

'Big Brother' concerns over school cameras

Connie Paige - The Boston Globe

Pros and cons to school security cameras -- advice to determine if this security measure is right for your district
Lynn Bryant - Video Surveillance Guide

Seeing It through
Andrew Wren; Brad Spicer

The right to privacy: What price would you pay for security? (News Special)
Victor Landauro

Should we install classroom surveillance cameras to reduce discipline problems?
NEA Debate

 

Morningside High School begins its day at 7:15 AM. For years students have been complaining that the start time is much too early. Many students sleep through their first class and those that are not sleeping are less than fully alert. The Morningside School Board has stated that this start time is necessary as it maximizes the use of the school district’s busses.

Jody Smith thinks it’s time for a student’s voice to be heard on the school board regarding this issue and many others. She believes the board members aren’t aware of the concerns of the student body. For instance, many students must work after school in addition to completing homework assignments. This makes it impossible for them to get to bed early. Jody has approached the student council and asked that they create a proposal for a student position on the school board. Some student council members agree with Jody. Others believe that no student would be able to sit through the long hours of board meetings, and even if they did board members would feel that the students didn’t have the expertise to help make decisions on school board matters.


The student council president has asked that each member submit his/her position to the student council in writing as a first step in formulating the council’s position regarding a student member on the School Board. As a student council member, what are your thoughts? Prepare a statement supporting your position.


Resources:
Students Serving on Local School Boards - NSBA
NSBA.org

Student Representation on Maine School Boards
Maine.gov

Soundout
Soundout.org

Students a Vital Link for School Boards
Before taking a vote, some districts turn to their teenage adviser
SeattlePI.com

The Power of a Student's Perspective: Student Members on Boards
Sagar Sanghvi. Leadership for Student Activities. (Nasc Edition


 
Morningside High School begins its day at 7:15 AM. For years students have been complaining that the start time is much too early. Many students sleep through their first class and those that are not sleeping are less than fully alert. The Morningside School Board has stated that this start time is necessary as it maximizes the use of the school district’s busses.

Jody Smith thinks it’s time for a student’s voice to be heard on the school board regarding this issue and many others. She believes the board members aren’t aware of the concerns of the student body. For instance, many students must work after school in addition to completing homework assignments. This makes it impossible for them to get to bed early. Jody has approached the student council and asked that they create a proposal for a student position on the school board. Some student council members agree with Jody. Others believe that no student would be able to sit through the long hours of board meetings, and even if they did board members would feel that the students didn’t have the expertise to help make decisions on school board matters.


The student council president has asked that each member submit his/her position to the student council in writing as a first step in formulating the council’s position regarding a student member on the School Board. As a student council member, what are your thoughts? Prepare a statement supporting your position.


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