Illinois Schools (ECWd) -
Each year we have a laundry list of new laws that go into effect, and more often than not the general public knows little about them for numerous reasons, but with some of those laws I think they tell the public very little because they know there will be serious push-back.
That was the case at last night's District 40 School District meeting in Effingham. Parents shared their concern over a new addition to the school policy manual based on a new law that was passed and put into effect January 1st of 2014. (Click here for new school policy -page 18 &19). It's my understanding that push-back lead to this policy being tabled for a future meeting, as interest and concern was substantial! My hats off to the citizens who attended and spoke out against this new law.
Your child's "private" social network account is now subject to search and seizure if the school believes he has reasonable cause that it contains evidence that would prove the child violated a school policy or rule.
Yes, the schools now have the right under this new law to require your child give up the ID & Password to their private social networking information.
(105 ILCS 75/15)
An elementary or secondary school must provide notification to the student and his or her parent or guardian that the elementary or secondary school may request or require a student to provide a password or other related account information in order to gain access to the student's account or profile on a social networking website if the elementary or secondary school has reasonable cause to believe that the student's account on a social networking website contains evidence that the student has violated a school disciplinary rule or policy. The notification must be published in the elementary or secondary school's disciplinary rules, policies, or handbook or communicated by similar means.(Clicking here takes you to the State Statute)
Just two days ago I wrote an article (Click here for that article) outlining our 4th Amendment and how some law enforcement still don't get that they are supposedly trained to actually protect our rights, and now we expect our schools to make decision pertaining to our children's 4th amendment rights?
Before we look at "reasonable cause", which is the language in the bill lets look first at the 4th amendment and what it says.
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Ultimately, these words endeavor to protect two fundamental liberty interests - the right to privacy and freedom (Cornell Law).
"The prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures particularly affects the work of law enforcement personnel by restricting the actions that they may take in performing a criminal investigation; however, the ban also disallows unreasonable searches and seizures in the civil litigation context. Law enforcement may only conduct a search if individualized suspicion motivates the search. The Fourth Amendment prohibits generalized searches, unless extraordinary circumstances place the general public in danger."
In order to avoid illegally searching or seizing the property of a suspect, law enforcement personnel typically obtain search warrants. To obtain a search warrant, law enforcement must show probable cause, must support the showing by oath or affirmation, and must describe in particularity the place they will search and the items they will seize. A judge can find probable cause only be examining the totality of the circumstances.
Our rights are sacred as long as we know them and demand accountability to them. When we have adults that get hoodwinked by police on those rights does anyone think a child is going to have the knowledge or even the courage to stand up and say no when it comes to that search and seizure?
This new law has now allowed the schools to make the determination of what is reasonable cause and personally I think that is a slippery slope that will in fact lead to the erosion of not only our rights but the rights of our children. The reason I feel this matter is of such grave concern is we are now seeing a policy initiated in schools that lays a foundation that each and every student will learn and that education appears to be yet another form of indoctrination.
In this case they are indoctrinating our children that the school has the right to access their private information if "they" "think" they have a reasonable cause to do so. Its a form of intimidation in my opinion. A child who grows up thinking that their teachers have those kind of rights should be a concern to all of us because our future is our children and if they have their 4th amendment rights diminished with laws like this it will clearly have a negative impact on our future when it comes to upholding those rights as adults.
I say diminished because when you read the law it "does not" say that they must notify the parents or guardian prior to seizing your child's password to gain access to their private information. It simply says that they must notify the parent and or guardian that they may request that information or even require it if they deem it reasonable and the last sentence in that section makes it clear that the notification pertains to the policy, not the ACT of seizing that information.
The notification must be published in the elementary or secondary school's disciplinary rules, policies, or handbook or communicated by similar means.
Is anyone else concerned that the schools may now require your child to turn over private information without any input from the parent or even without the parents knowledge? Do you allow your child to be questioned and investigated by law enforcement without a parent present?
Most concerning in this new law is the last section!
(105 ILCS 75/20)
A post-secondary school or an agent of a post-secondary school who violates this Act is guilty of a petty offense.
Why no penalty to the elementary or secondary schools who violate the Act? Is this yet another law with no penalty to those who violate it? Sadly they claim a post -secondary school or agent of a post secondary school who violates this act is guilty of a petty offense.
If that secondary school seizes the private information without reasonable cause that constitutes a violation of the persons 4th amendment right!
Are they seriously now diminishing our 4th amendment right to a Petty Offense?
I believe the school boards need to take a hard look at what is being pushed down their throats by the legislature. The law requires them to notify the parents and students of this law however the enforcement appears to be left up to the schools. May I suggest they never enforce this policy except for matters directly effecting the safety of our children and only with clear and convincing evidence that such a concern is valid.
Want to know which of your legislature voted for this?
My hats off to State Representatives Brad Halbrook and Adam Brown, who voted NO in our district on this bill. I wish I could say the same for Dale Righter and Chapin Rose but I can not because they voted yes.
People wake up! Your rights are being eroded!