What are the rights of high school students on Facebook anyway?

4:14 PM, Jan 10, 2008   |    comments
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    At least thirteen Eden Prairie High School students were in trouble Wednesday, for photos posted on the Internet social networking site Facebook. The students in question are allegedly shown in photos where they are either in the company of those consuming alcohol or holding alcohol themselves. The ACLU says there are concerns about school's mining thru student profile pages, but that what happened at Eden Prairie isn't a surprise. "Any kid who thinks what they post on a social networking website is private is an idiot," ACLU executive director Charles Samuelson said. Samuelson says the students rights were not violated because the students in question are part of athletic teams or extra-curricular activities that strictly enforce a zero tolerance policy when it comes to using drugs or consuming alcohol. "Schools have the right to withhold extra curricular activities from students for almost any reason," Samuelson points out. The University of Minnesota-Duluth athletic department is one of very few that takes the social networking issue one step further. That school requires its student athletes to sign a statement saying they understand that if they choose to create a MySpace or Facebook profile, that profile is subject to review at any time, for any reason. "They have a right to mine thru them and they can punish the students by eliminating the extra opportunities for them," Samuelson says. According to the department of athletics at the University of Minnesota here in the Twin Cities there is no such policy for its student athletes. According the University of Minnesota's student newspaper, The Minnesota Daily, 85% of 'U' students have said they visit social networking sites and, according to Facebook, the second largest college network of users in this country is at the University of Minnesota.
    By Jana Shortal, KARE 11 News

    (Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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