Illinois Schools Demand Students Hand Over Social Media Passwords

By Zaid Zilani
Alternet

Amid hysteria about social media and its potential for cyber-bullying, Illinois school districts have started to quietly eliminate their students’ right to privacy. In 2013, Illinois passed a law requiring schools to ask elementary and secondary students to provide passwords to their social media accounts if they believe that they violated a rule or policy.

The policy went into effect this month, and one school district, the Triad Community Unit School District #2, already sent out letters to parents informing them of the new policy. “It’s one thing for me to take my child’s social media account and open it up, or for the teacher to look or even a child to pull up their social media account, but to have to hand over your password and personal information is not acceptable to me,” said Sarah Bozarth, one of the parents in the district.

“The district understands student privacy interests,” Superintendent Leigh Lewis told The Washington Post, “and will not haphazardly request social media passwords unless there is a need, and will certainly involve parents throughout the process,”

But opposition to the new law remains even among school administrators. The Illinois Principals Association’s associate director Brian Schwartz told the paper that his organization isn’t in favor of the new procedure. A number of lawmakers from other states agree. Bills prohibiting schools from accessing social media information have been introduced in Hawaii, Indiana, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Rhode Island. It should be noted that laws similar to this one in Illinois such as an anti-cyberbullying law in Albany County, New York, have been ruled unconstitutional.

 

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After years of research and a series of unpleasant experiences concerning the current child protection services system, Alec Cope decided to combat the cancerous corruption through information. Freelance writing articles as a form of protest and distributing them throughout his former high-school and local area, Alec struck special chords with whomever he was in contact with.

Alec has been involved in activism such as sit down protests as well as Idle No More gatherings. Being independent for the majority of his time, Alec became a member of the WeAreChange family to assist one of the organizations that inspired him to become active in the first place. With a larger platform and positive support Alec has committed the majority of his time to research, writing, and maintaining social media with the goal to continue expanding the awakening sweeping throughout all levels of society.

Growing up within a rural area in Northern Michigan as well as being a native American descendant, Alec is seeking to expose environmental abuse in his state as well as globally. A high-school dropout, Alec chases his passion for writing and empowering individuals while showing any isolated person that they too can overcome the odds with a community that will support them. Alec lives in the lower peninsula of Michigan near Kalamazoo.

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alecope8@gmail.com

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