The Christian Blog KGB : 2006-08-23
The Christian Law Association
wants Christian schools to put the hammer down on student web activity, especially blogs. I recently came across their suggested school policy:
Any student who decides to operate a personal online website or contributes to a blog must register the website/blog with the pastoral staff. (Ex.: myspace.com, blogger.com, etc.) The website must be registered immediately upon its creation. Any student who creates a website or blog prior to attending the Academy must register the website/blog as soon as he/she is accepted as a student. All websites/blogs will be monitored for content on a regular basis. Any student, including home school students, found with an unregistered website/blog or website/blog material that is deemed inappropriate to the purpose and mission of the Academy will be in direct disobedience to this ruling and will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including immediate ineligibility to attend the Academy.
Is it just me, or does this sound like Big Brother run amok? I'm not for unfettered free speech in a private school--the school does have rights, after all, but what about the students? Commenting is definitely contributing to a blog. If I'm a student and I post on six new blogs in a day as I'm surfing the net, I have to "register" each one? Notice that a student may be expelled for posting to an unregistered blog even if the comments are deemed appropriate. Want to get rid of an irritating student? Catch her posting an innocuous comment to an unregistered site and she's history.
If I was a student and informed of this policy, my first thought would be that I was going to start posting comments on about 50 new sites a day. Happy regular monitoring, Big Brother! A full-time web monitor (and how many schools can afford that?) spending four minutes per site can monitor 120 sites per eight-hour day. Five students posting on five new sites per day will completely overload the monitor before the first week is up.
Yes, I confess that may be a bad attitude, but what's next? Web browsing logs turned in as homework? Comprehensive reporting of music listening and TV viewing? If I write a song or poem, would I have to turn it in to the school for approval before sharing it with my friends? Why is the web singled out for iron-clad control of expression?
This is typical lawyer overkill. Why not simply state that any student found to be disseminating inappropriate material (websites, blogs, flyers, pamphlets, etc.) will be subject to disciplinary action at the administration's discretion? That would be more comprehensive, but less insulting and less KGB-like. Forcing people to register sounds like the communist approach--CLA is very patriotic and anti-communist, so why promote commie-style regulation, especially when the threatened regular monitoring is totally untenable?
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