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Students May Face Curbs On Web Use

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  • Leonie Haimson
    http://www.nysun.com/article/37663/ August 10, 2006 Edition Section: New York ... Students May Face Curbs On Web Use BY
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 11, 2006
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      http://www.nysun.com/article/37663/

      August 10, 2006 Edition > Section: New York > Printer-Friendly Version

      Students May Face Curbs On Web Use

      BY DEBORAH KOLBEN - Staff Reporter of the Sun
      August 10, 2006
      URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/37663

      The city's Department of Education is now trying to regulate how students use the Internet outside of school.

      Following several reported incidents of students complaining that other students were threatening them on popular social networking Web sites like Myspace, the department is proposing a new provision to its discipline code that would call for suspending a student for up to 10 days for such behavior.

      In the proposed draft of the code, which went under the microscope at a public hearing at the education department's headquarters at the Tweed Courthouse last night, students would face punishment ranging from a parent conference to suspension for posting threats of violence, harm, or injury on the Internet.

      Under the current policy, the same rule applies to distributing or posting similar threats, but it does not mention the Internet.

      A civil rights attorney, Norman Siegel, cautioned the department that regulating student Internet use outside of school is unconstitutional.

      "I say to you, don't do it," he said, warning that such a ban would likely lead to years of litigation. "You simply do not have the authority."

      Earlier this year, the department wrestled with how to monitor what students were posting on the Internet and opted to ban students from accessing social networking Web sites while at school.

      A spokesman for the department, David Cantor, said that the new policy would only apply to constitutionally unprotected speech.

      "We would only penalize something brought to our attention, we don't monitor the Internet," Mr. Cantor said.

      Most parents and education advocates packed into the hearing to protest the city's longtime ban on cell phones in city schools, as well as other parts of the disciplinary code.

      The president of the United Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, said after the hearing that the union was also looking at how to regulate and monitor student Internet behavior, but she questioned the department's policy,

      "We understand the impulse," Ms. Weingarten said about the proposed revision. "There has to be a lot more thought that goes into how we regulate student Internet use."

      August 10, 2006 Edition > Section: New York > Printer-Friendly Version

       

       

      Leonie Haimson

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