In an age where information is available to
anyone with just the click of a mouse, teachers need to be ever
more vigilant in protecting student information. The issue of student
privacy and safety encompasses numerous aspects of cyber security
such as dissemination of student information on websites (including
those created by the teacher), online predators, and protecting
private information on school servers (this often includes name,
address, birth date, etc.).
The following articles
discuss the various aspects of student security and safety. The
video explores whether or not a school can go too far in trying
to protect students. Read each article and discuss the questions
1: Pennsylvania Schools Spying on Students
- Do you feel that
school districts should have the ability to remotely activate
and view images from a school issued laptop for any reason? Would
the action have been justified had parents been notified that
the school district would exercise its "right" to activate
and view images captured by the web cam?
- Does the school have the right to punish students using school
issued laptops for violations committed in the privacy of their
- What potential hazards to student privacy and safety to you
see emerging if schools are authorized to pry into student home
- Some school systems issue laptops to teachers. Do you think
a district would be justified in spying on its employees as well?
Article/Discussion 2: Online Predators (Pedophiles)
- Should schools use commercial social
networking sites such as Facebook in the classroom?
- Do the educational benefits associated with using social networking
sites outweigh the risks?
- As an educator, how can you help protect your students online?
Article/Discussion 5: Identity Theft
- Many schools store student information
on their networks making it available to anyone who can hack the
system. With such dangers in mind, should schools still ask for
social security numbers? Would it be better to go back to paper
and filing cabinets?
- What information should students not post online or include
in e-mails in order to protect their identities?
- Conduct ongoing discussions with your
students about the rules and disciplinary actions outlined in
your school's AUP and the consequences of violations that are
against the law. Also discuss with students that agreeing to policies
set by Facebook and MySpace are binding legal agreements.
- Discuss with students why they should only communicate with
people they know and the dangers of talking to strangers. Explain
to them why they should not share private information such as
phone number, home address, or what school they attend.
- Post the AUP rules by computer stations.
- Educate your parents about the benefits and hazards of social
networking, e-mailing, etc. Explain to them the importance of
monitoring their child's computer activities and talking to them
about responsible computer use.
- Always log-off of your computer when you leave the room or will
be absent from work to protect student information.
- Monitor students during computer use. Walk around the computer
lab so that students know you may be watching what they are doing.
- Walk around your classroom. If you always stay in the front
then students will be free to use their cell phones or laptops
for non-classroom related activities.
- Know what to monitor. Stay up to date with the latest methods
used by students to bypass school internet security so that you
know what to look for when monitoring your students.
- Password protect areas of school or classroom websites that
provide student information and photos. Scholastic offers password
protected websites for free to teachers. Available at
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