Saturday, October 31, 2009

WARNING -- Poignant Editorial Content

I could not find a link to the Journal-Sentinel printing of an Associated Press story, but did find it at the Fort Wayne News Sentinel.

Churubusco girls sue over discipline
ACLU: Punishment for posting photos on MySpace violated free speech.

by Charles Wilson of the Associated Press

The story is about two Indiana high school girls who were disciplined under their school's Athletics and Honor Code with a short suspension from extra-curriculars after they published "sexually suggestive photos" on their MySpace pages. But there is one section that both interests and bothers me --

But some legal experts say that in this digital era, schools must accept that students will engage in some questionable behavior in cyberspace and during off-hours.

“From the standpoint of young people, there's no real distinction between online life and offline life,” said John Palfrey, a Harvard University law professor and co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. “It's just life.”

My question to professor Palfrey -- if kids are conflating online and offline life, why should the norms of the internet take precedence? Why shouldn't the expectation be that if you wouldn't do it in front of your parents, or in the halls of school, you should not post it to the internet?

One last thing that I noticed about the article -- the words "parent", "mother", or "father" never appear at all. Hmmmm?

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