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Minnesota school district sued for Facebook search

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 13 Mar 2012 0:21 User comments (17)

Minnesota school district sued for Facebook search Sixth grade student sues for unlawful search of Facebook account.
She has the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and is identified in court documents only as "R.S." According to the complaint, the girl was punished on two occasions by the school for comments she had made on her Facebook profile.

She was pressured into handing over the account details by school officials. "R.S. was intimidated, frightened, humiliated and sobbing while she was detained in the small school room" as she watched a counselor, a deputy, and another school employee pore over her private communications.

It started when the girl felt that a school hall monitor was picking on her, and she used her Facebook profile to remark that she hated the monitor. She did not use school computers to make the post, according to the lawsuit.

When the school principal was made aware of the message, the girl received detention and was forced to apologize to the hall monitor. When she took to Facebook again to ask who turned her in, she was punished with suspension and missed a class ski trip, according to the complaint.

But the real problem came in a third incident when a guardian of another student complained that R.S. had had a conversation about sex through Facebook. She was then forced to give up her Facebook and e-mail account login details in a meeting with a deputy sheriff, school counselor and an unidentified school employee.

According to the lawsuit, the officials did not get permission from the girl's mother to view her private communications, and that she had been given a hard time about the materials discovered.

"Students do not shed their First Amendment rights at the school house gate," Charles Samuelson, executive director for the ACLU in Minnesota, said in a statement. "The Supreme Court ruled on that in the 1970s, yet schools like Minnewaska seem to have no regard for the standard."

The school district denies any wrong-doing, and said it was confident that once all the facts come to light, the district's counduct will be found reasonable and appropriate.

"The district did not violate R.S.'s civil rights, and disputes the one-sided version of events set forth in the complaint written by the ACLU," a statement reads.

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17 user comments

113.3.2012 6:57

This girl is gonna get paid!! Money, Money, Money, ....Money!!!

213.3.2012 8:05

This is as bad as employers asking for your password to your Facebook account!!I hope she does get paid!

313.3.2012 13:13

The Sheriff was there? With no warrant?
Hell, I think that might be a criminal offense.
Intimidation, threats...
I hope she gets everything.

That being said... Do people not know about privacy? Why in the hell didn't the girl say..
"I'm not doing a DAMN thing until my mother gets here."
If it had been me I would have been laughing my ass off at them trying to get into my FB account.


Oh, Im sorry... Did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?

413.3.2012 15:55

Ya know the bad thing is she sues the school district and gets paid but its just the other kids that get a crapier education because there goes the budget. Oh I think these asshats should pay but outta their own pocket or let them do some time please. Schools are already under funded as it is...


Just my $0.02,

dEwMe

513.3.2012 17:12

i agree on that in out of their pockets not from school budget.

613.3.2012 22:30

I would imagine that the individuals involved would be sued on the grounds of violating RS's civil rights and could possibly lose their jobs in the process. Some people are under the impression that their positions give them the authority to cross certain lines with no accountability. I believe a reality check is in order and I hope her lawsuit is sucessful not only monetarily but in starting a legal precedent for anyone else who's privacy is invaded by those people abusing their so-called authority


your conscience doesnt absolve your guilt

714.3.2012 2:01

Originally posted by dEwMe:
Ya know the bad thing is she sues the school district and gets paid but its just the other kids that get a crapier education because there goes the budget. Oh I think these asshats should pay but outta their own pocket or let them do some time please. Schools are already under funded as it is...

100% Agreed!!!

814.3.2012 3:16

i thought if a sheriff wanted to question a minor they needed the childs guardian there.the school had no right snooping through her facebook or any right in anything she does outside of school.not sure that sueing them and giving her a load of money will fix the problem but at least they wont be in a hurry to do it again.


custom built gaming pc from early 2010,ps2 with 15 games all original,ps3 500gbs with 5 games all original,yamaha amp and 5.1channel surround sound speakers,46inch sony lcd smart tv.

915.3.2012 4:29

The school district is an examples of corrupt bureaucrats gone mad. These defendants violated the childs rights with fear and intimidation...much like a school-yard bully.

If there are any concerns about the quality of education further degrading...it has become what it is because of the alledged educators being what they are pedantic liars and thieves.

Thankfully that school, did not have laptops with live video spying on children.

1015.3.2012 4:42

Originally posted by xboxdvl2:
i thought if a sheriff wanted to question a minor they needed the childs guardian there.the school had no right snooping through her facebook or any right in anything she does outside of school.not sure that sueing them and giving her a load of money will fix the problem but at least they wont be in a hurry to do it again.
They will say the counsellor is a guardian of any child at the school.


But over the top for sure.

1115.3.2012 6:16

Originally posted by xtago:
Originally posted by xboxdvl2:
i thought if a sheriff wanted to question a minor they needed the childs guardian there.the school had no right snooping through her facebook or any right in anything she does outside of school.not sure that sueing them and giving her a load of money will fix the problem but at least they wont be in a hurry to do it again.
They will say the counsellor is a guardian of any child at the school.


But over the top for sure.

school counsellor would be the worse person.my high school counsellor is apparently in jail for being a pedo.

custom built gaming pc from early 2010,ps2 with 15 games all original,ps3 500gbs with 5 games all original,yamaha amp and 5.1channel surround sound speakers,46inch sony lcd smart tv.

1215.3.2012 15:13

sue the head, the pig and whoever else was there personaly.

i'd have refuzed to have given over my password and told them to fuck themselves. then again, i'm a beligerant and militant bastard.

1315.3.2012 15:36

Has anyone on the respective legal teams considered that a sixth grader is actually in violation of Facebook's terms and conditions, by not meeting the minimum age requirements (13) to own an account?

I don't know what that fact would add to the scenario, but it's an interesting point. A grave infringement of privacy, and laws may technically have been broken, but one cannot expect to be rescued by rules in place if one actively disregards other rules within the same situation, no?

Furthermore, if she had abided by Facebook T'n'Cs, and she had more sense than to publicly slander a person, she would possibly have avoided all of this

1415.3.2012 18:20

Originally posted by dEwMe:
Ya know the bad thing is she sues the school district and gets paid but its just the other kids that get a crapier education because there goes the budget. Oh I think these asshats should pay but outta their own pocket or let them do some time please. Schools are already under funded as it is...

Wrong! Schools get more money today then they ever did and they provide less, they do a worst job educating our children, plus they expect the parents to educate them so they can play at school instead of teaching. Our schools are horrible especially in Minnesota.

Although the school pushed the limits by forcing the long lady into giving them her password, she was dumb to do so. Also people get fired from work because of similar situations with Facebook. So it is pretty dumb all around just using Facebook or any social network, in doing so then you will pay the price as she is here.

Since we don't know all of the on-goings and the fact that the ACLU is involved, knowing their background, I wouldn't put much on her case.

1516.3.2012 0:44

Originally posted by thedead:
Has anyone on the respective legal teams considered that a sixth grader is actually in violation of Facebook's terms and conditions, by not meeting the minimum age requirements (13) to own an account?

I don't know what that fact would add to the scenario, but it's an interesting point. A grave infringement of privacy, and laws may technically have been broken, but one cannot expect to be rescued by rules in place if one actively disregards other rules within the same situation, no?

Furthermore, if she had abided by Facebook T'n'Cs, and she had more sense than to publicly slander a person, she would possibly have avoided all of this
I was just going to post a similar thing.
First of all, no question the school is at fault, based on what the article says anyway. They have no right whatsoever to do that, and if it's true as reported, they deserve to get their a** kicked for doing that.

But as thedead said, this girl must be, what 11 years old? WHat was she doing having a Facebook account anyway? Min age is 13. Did her parents know, or did they know and not care?
Most 11 year olds dont have the maturity and social skills to be on a social network site. In fact I would say most 13 year olds dont have the social skills either.

1616.3.2012 1:04

Obviously adults don't either...

1716.3.2012 4:26

she commented she hated someone and asked who dobbed her in,dont see any slander in the article (apart from maybe the person who claimed she had a convo about sex).she was in grade 6 we dont know how old she is (could be 10,11 maybe even 13).


custom built gaming pc from early 2010,ps2 with 15 games all original,ps3 500gbs with 5 games all original,yamaha amp and 5.1channel surround sound speakers,46inch sony lcd smart tv.

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