EducationPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Student Privacy In Public Schools

A high school finds a teens diary.  The principal reads it.  In it she discusses marijuana and possible use.  No drug is found on the student or in her locker yet they suspend her.  This is not a joke this happened in a Missouri school toward the end of the last school year.  Now I am not sure how you can suspend someone for writing about drugs in a diary. I am sure this falls under some stupid zero tolerance rule but does the school have a right to read a students private thoughts and then suspend her on not her actions but her words?  If that is the case and I were in high school now I would have never graduated.  My diary was all full of dark crazy things because I was a teenager full of angst and thought that being goth was cool. Honestly, my best friend at the time would have been locked away.  She wanted to be a writer and was always writing stories in notebooks that is all she did and they weren’t always Pollyanna if you know what I mean.

Today’s Pop Quiz:  Do students have privacy laws other than FERPA? Do you think that this case is a bit ridiculous or something else is going on? How do you relate to this story?

The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the afternoon (ET).


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JoDee is an adjunct faculty instructor of astronomy and physics at various colleges around her hometown in the midwest. When she is not trying to get her cat, Pixel, off of her laptop she is observing variable stars and researching black holes.

1 Comment

  1. September 22, 2014 at 4:14 am —

    I’m pretty sure court precedent in the US is that students don’t give up their constitutional rights just by walking through the school doors. Since the government requires them to attend school, they can’t simultaneously impose a requirement to give up rights. This is balanced by the need of the school to maintain an orderly environment: For a blatant example, although students have free speech rights, if they used them to talk nonstop throughout class, it would disrupt the class and inhibit the purpose of it, and so the school is allowed to limit talking during class.

    The catch here is, most school teachers and administrators aren’t well-informed of this court precedent. If the student’s family wished to bring a court case about this, they might win out in the end (as it’s a pretty damn clear example of non-disruptive speech), but that’s pretty costly for them to do. The US system unfortunately isn’t set up to make it easy to enforce higher court decisions on the lower branches of government.

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