September 25, 2002

Clueless Org of the Week

The story is starting to spread about the high school student who was updating his weblog from a school computer. The Administration found out about it, pulled him into the office, and proceeded to kick him to the curb for violating their Acceptable Use Policy. To which I, and several other people, say, “Bull Pucky!”

I read through the AUP, trying to find anything that might prohibit what he was doing. The only clause I found was “S.1. Users will use the division’s system only for education and professional activities during school and professional hours.” They might be trying to twist that around against him, but from reading his posts it looks like he did his blogging from his Web Development class. Updating your website during a web development class? Sounds like an educational activity to me. Plus, although this point’s been made before, writing a weblog is basically the same as keeping a journal. Something that I’m sure his English teacher would be pretty happy about. Again, educational activity. Then there’s this section:

Use of the division system is limited to educational purposes which include[…]preparing students to live and work in the 21st century by providing them with electronic access to a wide range of information and the ability to communicate with people from throughout the world.

Sounds to me like he was actually following the spirit of the AUP by developing his “ability to communicate” electronically.

Now I know this is just one little blog, and from a high schooler at that. I read through some of his posts, and it’s not a site I’d go back to visit again. But I’m latching onto this cause just in principle. It seems like he was involved in two activities that were directly related to his curriculum: developing a website and creative writing/journaling. For a school to actually discourage him, and threaten expulsion, seems like an extraordinary step in the wrong direction. Hopefully this meme will spread and cause an uproar, and maybe persuade at least one school to rethink the way they interpret their policies.

Hat tip: Leo LaPorte.

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

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