As a teacher, I really hate zero tolerance policies regarding discipline. After all, when you say “every student that does X will get punishment Y”, you immediately create the potential (indeed, the likelihood) of injustice.
ANDERSON, Ind. - Some students at Highland Middle School in Anderson have been suspended after their teacher accidentally synced a topless picture of herself to a school-issued iPad.
Joshua Troutt, 13, said he and three other students were playing a game on the iPad in class when one of the students pressed a button and a photograph of the teacher's partially bare chest was revealed.
"It's not our fault that she had the photo on there," Troutt said. "We couldn't do anything not to look at it, if it just popped up when he pressed the button. It was her fault that she had the photo on there. Her iPhone synched to it. She had to have pressed something to make all of her photos synch on there."
* * *
Assistant Superintendent Beth Clark acknowledged that the incident was an accident, and said the district's technology use policy was followed.
She said the students involved have been suspended and threatened with expulsion.
The students are suspended because they opened a file their teacher sent them, not knowing what was in the file? I fail to see where they have done anything worthy of punishment, much less a suspension. After all, they were not surfing for porn or bringing boobie pics to school to share with their friends. They were trying to do an assignment they were given and got a picture they were not looking for.
But I can here the district officials giving the typical bureaucratic response – “the rules require that any student receiving or viewing pornography at school must be suspended – it is district policy.” Never mind that the district policy was not designed to apply in this situation, where students were following a teacher’s classroom instructions and received a pornographic image from their teacher. Any deviation, the bureaucrats and their lawyers reason, will open the district up to lawsuits from some kid who brings porn with him to school – just like we have to expel a student with a butter knife in his lunch box lest the kid who charged down the hallway waving a machete or samurai sword persuade a judge the rules are not consistently applied and he should only receive a detention.
Indeed, this reminds me of an absurd incident at the school where I taught a dozen years ago. One of my boys was the top cadet in the campus ROTC unit, and so had email privileges. One day a student from another school in another district sent him an email with a pornographic jpeg attached, which he promptly deleted from his account. Unfortunately, he did not also empty the trash bin – and so when the other school notified our school about the inappropriate email, the email was still in his trash folder. The result? Three days suspension out of school, three days of in-school suspension, restriction of his computer access at school and the loss of his ROTC rank – after all, that is what the district’s policy required and the mere fact that this was a good kid who had tried to do the handle the situation appropriately (and unintentionally failed to delete all copies of the email) was not even considered by those who consider student discipline to be a way of providing the district with legal cover rather than a means of teaching students appropriate conduct.
I hope these parents sue. I’m sure they will win. And I hope the teacher receives more than the slap on the wrist that the article hints may have been the case.