Fla. School District Begins Monitoring Students, Staff Social Media Accts

From the Orlando Sentinel:

What Orange County students — and staff — post on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube is now being monitored by their school district to “ensure safe school operations,” the district announced this morning.

Central Florida’s largest school district said it had a new licensing agreement for software that would allow it to monitor a number of social media sites for posts “that may impact students and staff.”

Spokesman Shari Bobinski said the monitoring program is now up and running, though not at full scale. Security staff began using it about a month ago.

From the Insurance Journal (2013):

The issue of social media and how far school districts should go is garnering national attention because of a monitoring program Huntsville City Schools started in 2013.

The district paid a former FBI agent $157,000 to operate SAFe, or Students Against Fear, a monitoring program that targeted 600 of the system’s 24,000 students and resulted in expulsion of 14 students.

Huntsville said it started the program after receiving a tip from the National Security Agency involving a threat against a teacher. The NSA said it has no record of contact with school officials.

Regardless of what led Huntsville to start the program, the American Civil Liberties Union views what students post on social media sites as free speech that shouldn’t lead to punishment at school.

“The ACLU is concerned about the systemic monitoring of student speech across the country,” said Randall Marshall, legal director of the ACLU of Alabama.

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