What would you do?
A friend texted me tonight.... he son was suspended 10 days today.
A teacher gave her son a school project, so he searched google for how to build a fire without a lighter or matches...
He watched one video, then clicked one of the supplemental links on the side
How to make a pen bomb! (Great for April fools)
she wants to fight the suspension, and she's asking what she should do....
I'm texting and asking her direct questions and pointing out that she will need to be documenting in order to approach the school board.
1) What is the teacher's story that assigned the project?
2) Was this the teacher that reported the video?
3) What is school's policy for YouTube videos?
4) Did she sign the school's internet usage policy?
5) What programs does the school use to monitor or prohibit websites?
My son;s school has software that prohibits youtube, ebay, facebook, etc....
and the technical school I substitute at uses Baracuda network filtering software that blocks just about every damn thing you can imagine, under the direction of the IT Administrator.
what would you do if this was your kid?
Fight it! Its amazing what you get with innocent searches. The school should do a better job of blocking certain sites.
I'm telling her that she needs to fight it, but also to be prepared when she approaches the school board.
If my kid were in this situation... I'd fight it.
But, only after all the facts were gathered.
The school will say they have a "Zero Tolerance" policy..... and if they make any exceptions... well that wouldnt be "zero Tolerance"....
I agree I would certainly fight it to some degree.... and yes some of the blame should go to the school for not blocking websites... but I am not sure how far the parents will get.
This is a great teaching opportunity.
Go and challenge the suspension - but bring the child with you. Make sure you're prepared, and keep your cool. Ask why curiosity is being stomped on, rather than action. Let them try to explain it.
Then, when they uphold the suspension (which, in the currently PC environment they will), explain to the child that, sometimes, government bureaucrats are *#$#(__#( idiots, and shouldn't be trusted as the absolute guardians of, well, anything. Make sure they understand that what they did was fine, but even so there can be consequences.
And, during the suspension, make it slightly unpleasant (room cleaning, bathroom cleaning, etc), but also make it a celebration of intellectual freedom - take them to the park, to the local amusement park, whatever. Let them know that curiosity and intellectual pursuits are great things, even though some of those pursuits are frowned upon in current society. Take them someplace slightly dangerous (Burning Man) to let them know that there are people outside the mainstream.
I would first find out how the school knew he visited the youtube page for a pen bomb. Assuming it is a browser history I would ask to see it. Were there other inappropriate sites or videos visited?
I would ask for a copy of the schools internet use policy.
I would ask what controls the school uses to prevent inappropriate websites from being accessed.
I would point out that the "pen bomb video" is not really an instruction for a bomb at all. It's a stupid party favor modification.
I would also point out that even if youtube's "safe" mode is toggled on this video still shows up.
None of this adds up to a 10 day suspension. Usually I come down pretty hard on kids who misbehave at school and side with the administration but this is over the top.
If your son is suspended for 10 days ask what discipline was taken against the IT person for not blocking youtube videos, or against the teacher for giving an assignment that, when you consider it, was pretty poorly worded. "how to build a fire without a lighter or matches" is bound to have search results that are questionable. Did the teacher give instructions on what resources could be used? Did the teacher do a search prior to the assignment and see what kind of results would show up?
Or was this just the last straw with a kid who has been walking the line for a long time.
excellent points guys!
Thanks, I copied and pasted the responses to her in a text message
hope I don't blow her phone up!!!!
I don't understand what the issue was... Is google and youtube illegal..?
if so, they'd have fired me from work the 2nd day I worked here
Right - but are there rules in place that students are not allowed to use the internet to accomplish their tasks?
Seriously, if I don't know something work or personal, I google it and teach myself.
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