Sunday, October 30, 2005

School orders students to remove blogs

AP reported A Roman Catholic high school has ordered its students to remove their online diaries from the Internet, citing a threat from cyberpredators.

I believe the real threat is that students may criticized the school administration.
Students at Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta appear to be heeding a directive from the principal, the Rev. Kieran McHugh. McHugh told them in an assembly earlier this month to remove any personal journals they might have or risk suspension. Web sites popular with teens include and

Officials with the Diocese of Paterson say the directive is a matter of safety, not censorship. No one has been disciplined yet, said Marianna Thompson, a diocesan spokeswoman. She said the ban has been on the books for five years but is only now being strictly enforced.
I don't think there were blogs five years ago. Websites, yes, but not blogs. Are they also outlawing websites? Can the students comment on a blog run by someone else?
Thompson said students aren't being silenced but rather told that they cannot post online writings about school or their personal lives.
Aha. They admit it. They don't want the students posting about the school and possibly criticizing their teachers or the school administration.
That could dilute the students' free speech claims somewhat, acknowledged Ed Barocas, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.
I can't believe it but I think I agree with the ACLU on this point.
"The rights of students at private schools are far different than those of public schools because administrators at public schools are agents of government," he said. "That's not the case here."

Dwight blogged Sounds like what the students really need is protection from clueless school administrators.

Owlish Mutterings blogged Maybe they should protect the students from priests, instead. Ok, cheap shot. But eventually we need to understand the concept that we are much more likely to be killed or raped by someone we know than by a random stranger. The whole trust no adult message aimed at kids and parents has got to be doing untold harm, while not making the kid much safer.

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