The Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania has now admitted that they took inappropriate photos of students from the laptop computers.
You may remember that on November 11, 2009, Harriton Assistant Principal, Lindy Matsko, reprimanded a student, Blake Robbins, a sophomore, for inappropriate behavior in his home. She apparently claimed that some candies the boy had on his desk were drugs. Blake told his parents about it and they immediately complained of the school spying on their son via a laptop computer the schools give to all of the students each year.
The school system claims they put the camera's on the computers for security purposes to retrieve lost or stolen laptops and that they are not spying on the students in their homes or anywhere else they take the laptops.
There are now new developments. The school district has now acknowledged that investigators recovered a "substantial number of webcam photos". The article which I read this philly.com, states that they expect to start notifying parents of photographed students soon.
In the past three years, there have been no less than 30 school teachers nationwide that have been convicted of having sex with students, and that's just the female teachers.
I hesitate to write about the school systems because of what I learned when my children were old enough to start attending school. But what's happening in this school system in Pennsylvania is not just about the quality of education. It started out as more of a story about the character of the assistant principal. Or maybe I should say lack of character. However, that has changed with these recent developments.
It is bad enough that a parent complained about a school laptop computer taking one picture of a student at home. Now it's turned into much much more.
The School Board President, David Ebby says that they will soon be notifying the parents of the other students who's pictures have been taken for them to come in and view them. He says that they hope to start that process shortly and adds, "the privacy of all students will be strongly protected." NOW they are going to protect the privacy of the students?!!? Shouldn't they have thought of this when they first decided to attach cameras to the laptops before issuing them to the students? This is akin to saying 'now that we've been caught, we're going to do things correctly.'
In motion filed by Robbins attorney it asserts that school system captured "thousands of images" including websites and excerpts from online chats. Apparently, some of these images are of students in their homes in various stages of undress. There are allegedly images of other family members as well.
To have pictures of students, under the age of 18 seems to me to meet the definition of child pornography! The school board, the administrators and the teachers should all be charged with child porn and if found guilty, put on the sexual predator list after they get out of prison.
The school district has commissioned an internal investigation and promises the results within a few weeks. Why are they investigating themselves? Why aren't the police investigating this. If I rob a bank, can I go and get my own investigators to look into whether or not I robbed the bank?
A couple of years ago, my daughter wanted me to go with her on a school outing. Yes, she's back in the system again. I called the school to make the arrangements for me to go with her. They said that before I could go, I had to have a background check performed on myself and provide them with the written report. This was just so that I could ride on the bus with my daughter to attend this particular event. When I asked why I was told that it had to be done because I would be on a bus with other children.
My response to them was that if that was their requirement, then I demanded a written background report on each of my daughters teachers. Naturally, they refused saying my request was "ridiculous". My reply to them? I said, "Duh". I drove myself to the event.
Our children are sent to school to be taught. In my childrens case, from the time they got on the bus in the morning until they time they got off the bus in the afternoon was nine hours. Seven of those hours are spent inside the building. It's bad enough that we have to worry about which teachers may or may not be dangerous to the well being of our children.
In Pennsylvania, it appears that those parents not only have to worry what their children are learning and whether or not there are predators watching over them, but the parents now must worry about what they are bringing home.
These schools, which I call "government schools" are slipping in their quality and have been for years. It is no longer the best education available. This school system is taking pictures of children at home. The website I mentioned showed a picture of this sophomore sleeping. Not in class. In his bed! I won't put that on here. Now we're finding out that it goes much much further than this.
Add to this the young high school girl in Massachussets who recently committed suicide because she was being bullied. Again, the school system failed. The bullying was reported by her and by her family. The school did nothing. Now there are six other young students being charged with various crimes. But none from the school system are being held responsible.
It's becoming increasingly clear that these school systems cannot be trusted with the care of our school children. In the State of Washington, children 13 and up can get mental and physical care through the school system without parental consent. Recently, a fifteen year old girl went to the school clinic. They took her to an abortion clinic where she got the abortion, then returned her to school to finish the day. Her parents didn't find out about the abortion until several months after the fact.
Is this why we send our children to school? To be bullied and have nobody in authority do anything about it? To have an abortion behind the parents back? To bring home computers so the school system can spy on children and their family members without consent?
The Lower Merion School District should fire the entire school board immediately. They should fire the assistant principal immediately. They should fire every adult that had knowledge or should have had knowledge of this, immediately and the city, state, or federal government ought to put all of them on trial for pedophilia and sentence them to the maximum time allowed.
Young Blake Robbins, the student who was originally reprimanded, and his parents are doing the one honorable thing in this entire fiasco. They are filing a class action lawsuit. Not just him, but any other students that were violated. I hope that includes any students that aren't involved but want to protect themselves from having it happen to them in the future.
It's not lost on me that the child's name is ironically "Robbins". I believe it was Christopher Robbins that was at the 100 acre wood where Winnie The Pooh is. Imagine someone actually doing something like this to Christopher Robbins.
You're welcome to comment.