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The Internet Education

Students Banned from Blogging 876

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the it's-for-your-own-protection dept.
wayward writes "Students at Pope John XIII, a Catholic high school, were told to take down their blogs from sites like Xanga and MySpace or face suspension. Rev. Kieran McHugh, the school's principal, said that he was trying to protect students from online predators. Not too surprisingly, free speech advocates got more than a little concerned.
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Students Banned from Blogging

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  • by BWJones (18351) * on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:35AM (#13878119) Homepage Journal
    Well, there is this thing call anonymity.... Oh, don't forget free speech. Last time I checked, there is no clause in the Constitution saying anything about how old you have to be to qualify for the First Amendment. By the way, if you are in the DC area, you owe it to yourself to stop by the National Archives and see the Constitution. It had a surprisingly profound impact on this jaded science geek.

    Back on topic: On legal grounds, because the school is a religious school, they can make certain requirements. For instance, I once dated a girl that was recruited from Norway to be on the BYU ski team. She accepted because of the scholarship even though she was not part of the "moral majority" there. Here is the deal though... they made her sign an "agreement" that she would not consume coffee or alcohol even while not on school grounds. She abided by that contract, and honored it. But when her parents came into town, she went to dinner with her family. She did not have any wine at dinner, while her parents did. Two days later, she was called into the Presidents office because someone had reported (ratted) her for being with people who were consuming alcohol. The deal is though, because this was a religious school, there are no personal rights issues at stake and she had no recourse. Her personal choice was to leave BYU and her scholarship behind because she was so offended.

    Of course this is one of the major problems associated with federal funding of religious programs for charity or education. These charities can discriminate and there are no federal protections for these folks who are discriminated against even though the source of the funds are federal in nature. Shockingly, there have been discrimination cases based upon religion, race or appearance that are being upheld because "private" churches or schools can make any requirements on their "clubs" they want. Historically, the protection has been that any organization that receives federal funding cannot discriminate, but the new rules blow this away.

    Don't get me wrong, I consider myself religious and was raised Catholic, but large organized religions have proven difficult for me to participate in.

    • by cdrguru (88047) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:40AM (#13878139) Homepage
      The constitution applies to Federal laws, and perhaps state and local ones in some cases. It has no applicability to schools, employers, or anything else.

      There is no "school" right to free speech. There is no right to free speech on the job. There is no right to free speech in a shopping mall, if the shopping mall has a rule that says otherwise. And, the First Amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with this because it is not a federal law. So, the government hasn't made a law abridging free speech.

      Not unless you think the Federal government gets to review and approve all school rules, employee handbooks and shopping mall rules.

      • I would argue that there *is* a right to free speech in those places; it's just not one protected by the US Constitution.
        • by Dwonis (52652) * on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @04:19AM (#13878919)
          Interestingly enough, Canada [justice.gc.ca] seems to have much broader protections of freedom of speech. Don't know if this is implemented in practice, though.
      • My problem with your argument is that the speech was not taking place on school grounds. Unless the kids signed something that said they were not allowed to have accounts on these sites, I don't know how the priest can really do anything about it. But, with that said, it is a private school, and they should be allowed to kick anyone out if they feel like it.
        • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:53AM (#13878210) Homepage Journal
          Which is a good reason not to go to a private school and actually work to improve your public school system. Of course, exactly the opposite is happening as people have lost all concept of community.
          • by HiThere (15173) * <.ten.knilhtrae. .ta. .nsxihselrahc.> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @02:27AM (#13878572)
            You need to improve your analysis of the system. Follow the chains of control and the chains of responsibility, and you will soon find that the public school system as it is implemented is designed to fail. Community has little to do with it. Emotional commitment has little to do with it (though parents with both commitment and a lot of time can overcome many structural problems).

            The key decision was the moving of funding (and fund raising) from the local level to a combination of the state and federal level. From that point on the public school system deteriorated, though changes were implemented gradually, and you will still find some local schools that perform well. (The criteria is that the local area has enough money to raise sufficient local funding to subsidize the schools, and thus to regain control.)

            I'll grant you that the justifier (fairly distributing the school funding) was plausible, but the effect was that the control of the system moved from the local area, where people were individually concerned with how their children were doing, to the state and federal level where the concern was "How can I present this well". Some believe that the schools were intentionally sabotaged, with malice, but I feel that an analysis of the system shows that this is an unnecessary hypothesis. The system was changed to give the central government control, because governments like to control things. This inherrently resulted in the schools doing an increasingly poor job, because the feedback loops were either broken or had long delays inserted into them.

          • What's this "community" you're referring to? The people of the United States? The people in your state? The people in your town? The people in your school district?

            I agree with you, but we need a sense of scale. The United States Federal government is way too involved in the schools. The states are too involved. Most school decisions should be made at the local level, and then some of course at the state level. No federal involvement should take place. No federal money, either.

            The surest way to destroy any
    • There's a doctrine in the US called in loco parentis [watir.org], stating that the school has the right, nay, the requirement to administer authority on the children when it deems necessary. That is how dress codes are not deemed unconstitutional and how schools are able to administer punishment upon the child. It is also one reason truancy is a crime.
      • by jcr (53032) <jcr@NoSPAM.mac.com> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:04AM (#13878257) Journal
        A School acting in loco parentis doesn't trump the actual parents. When the kid's not at school, he's the parent's responsibility, not the school's.

        -jcr
    • by dbrutus (71639) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @02:21AM (#13878547) Homepage
      I am a Catholic, president of the finance committee for my parish, occasional technical consultant for my diocese and frequently write about religious topics on my own blog. The principal is a tool and this has little to do with Catholicism. In fact, it can quite easily be criticized on the grounds of interfering with parental rights (did you see any parental input at all in this policy?) and discouraging evangelization. From a Catholic perspective, this is poor pedagogy and a bad example for our youth.

      If I were at this school, I would immediately start a Catholic evangelization blog and provide reflections on my personal religious life. For an extra twist of the knife, I'd call it St Isadore's [catholic-forum.com] Shrine. If this is going to go to court, let "religious discrimination" be the grounds for the 1st amendment suit. If the blog didn't get shut down, the school has other problems in that it's not enforcing its rules evenhandedly and providing a bad moral example for the students.

    • The amount of false information people are posting on this article is both dizzying and distressful, since it shows how little Americans know about their own Constitution and how it has been interpreted for all this time. I can't say that I knew any more about this stuff before I went to law school.

      The Constitution is mainly a blueprint for relations between the Federal government and the States, between the Federal government and the People, and ever since the Fourteenth Amendment, between the States and
    • Last time I checked, there is no clause in the Constitution saying anything about how old you have to be to qualify for the First Amendment.

      Actually there is. Laws governing who is responsible for a minors actions (Parents/Guardians) address this.

      Historically, the protection has been that any organization that receives federal funding cannot discriminate, but the new rules blow this away.

      I believe the armed services are federally funded and I'm SURE they have never had free
  • by Paladin144 (676391) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:38AM (#13878133) Homepage
    Rev. Kieran McHugh, the school's principal, said that he was trying to protect students from online predators

    Believe me, if they're going to a Catholic school, the students have a hell of a lot more to worry about than online predators.

    • Re:believe me... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by uncoveror (570620)
      Want to convince a kid that religion is bullshit, and make an atheist of him? Send him to Catholic school.
    • by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:01AM (#13878245) Homepage Journal
      (I won't mention the name to protect the innocent yadda yadda). Here in Mexico the catholic way of life is quite different from the US - while in the US the catholics have (or had - VERY past tense) been kinda isolated from evangelical christians, here in Mexico, catholicism (at least the name) is the norm.

      Catholic schools have been distinguished here for their strict morals, and I do feel grateful for my religion classes, despites their obvious shortcomings (I'd prefer the evangelical way - streamline, not creationist and the like - of teaching religion, i wish the religion classes had been more interactive and fun).

      Anyway.

      The problem with catholic schools is their own fame: Parents saw them as some kind of disciplinary schools. So what happens when you throw in a bunch of troublemakers, hoping a few teachers will put order in their little dirty minds?

      All the bad words, dirty jokes and whatnot, I learned because of the students in the "best" school! And because I was a nerd (and shy) since I was little, I was always the target for bullies. Lesson: Bullying is OK, but getting even at bullies gets you reprimanded, a low grade on "conduct" and in the worst cases, kicked out. Of course, being good and earning the teachers' respect inside school, didn't save you from getting beaten OUTSIDE school on the way home!

      Nice discipline, really (/sarcasm).

      A few years later, this catholic high school became famous for the LACK of discipline by the students. I also feel grateful for having graduated before the decline of this particular school.

      So, yes, the parent poster is right, the students have HELLUVALOT more to be worried about online predators.
      • You missed the point.

        The point being that in the US and elsewhere, a disproportionately large number of catholic priests - especially those working at catholic schools - have been convicted of the sexual abuse of children. Many Americans believe (rightly or not) that this has something to do with vows of chastity. By this reasoning, the problem is likely systemic.

        It serves as a running joke that priest = child molester. In this context, the headmaster's paranoia about "online predators" could be based on pe
        • by Peter La Casse (3992) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @08:23AM (#13879596) Homepage
          That's the public perception, but I haven't seen any actual evidence that the rate of sexual abuse by clergy is higher than the rate of sexual abuse in the general population, or that the rate of sexual abuse by catholic clergy is larger than by clergy of other denominations or religions. Are there any studies that show one or both of those things?

          Catholic clergy child abusers make it into the news more because for decades, the Catholic Church covered up the problem.

  • Can't they just... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Red Samurai (893134) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:39AM (#13878136)
    Blog anonymously? That should solve the problem.
    • by Grey_14 (570901) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:41AM (#13878140) Homepage
      Why should they have to hide their identity from their SCHOOL?
    • by aussie_a (778472)
      Blog anonymously? That should solve the problem.

      People who live in countries that attempt to take away the right to free speech have to do that. However American citizens shouldn't be forced to undertake such steps when they're in their own country. Free speech isn't just for the anonymous, it's for every single citizen of your country.

      The fact that so many would be so blaze about this is very telling of the society in America.
    • Blog anonymously? That should solve the problem.

      Obviously, the stated purpose is to protect the students from predators, so the problem appears to be "how to protect the students when they're on the internet". But - and I mean this with the utmost, non-flamebait sincerity - isn't a big part of Christianity the ability to control people and their behavior? And given that, is the problem instead, "how to maintain control over what the students say, think and do"?

      To be fair, religion in general (not just Chr
      • by CaptainCarrot (84625) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @04:07AM (#13878894)
        But - and I mean this with the utmost, non-flamebait sincerity - isn't a big part of Christianity the ability to control people and their behavior?

        No, not at all. That's a ridiculous (although not uncommon) caricature. I won't deny that occasionally Christianity has become a tool of the state, and in those cases it has become one of a number of means by which the state attempts to control its population, but control over the masses is really foreign to the Christian ethic. It's far more about the individual learning to control himself. When it becomes about controlling others, it devolves into a mere cult.

        It indeed is intended to draw focus away from earthly things -- or rather, one earthly thing: the self. The only path to heaven is on earth, by doing good for others, treating them the way you would wish to be treated, giving what is needed [biblegateway.com]. It is all about serving others. Most Christians do not forget the admonition in one of the Epistles that faith without works is dead [biblegateway.com].

        If this is "population control", then so be it.

      • No, actually. Religion isn't about control. Religion draws people in who realize that they can get power over others by pretending to be more pious. It isn't that religion is meant to control people, it's that people abuse religion to control people. Religion is okay; religious PEOPLE can be bad. Further, if you don't like dogmatic beliefs, religion can be bad, while faith - a personal belief - is okay.
  • Free Speech (Score:4, Insightful)

    by queenb**ch (446380) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:42AM (#13878150) Homepage Journal
    If you want to protect students from on-line predators, have some adults that hang out in the online chat rooms. Just one lurking, trusted adult can put an end to a lot of crap in a chat room. Chat rooms aren't the only places to talk to kids on line though. Most on line games have a chat/messaging component. Because of some of the things that we've observed, our gaming clan has enacted really strict rules about this for our "junior league" members. Have adults that are privvy to all the conversations during on-line game play. Tell parents not to put the computer in the kid's bedroom. Have the parent install monitoring software and check up on what junior's up to on-line.

    Major Super-Important Point - THE COMPUTER IS NOT A BABYSITTER. YOU MUST INTERACT WITH YOUR CHILD.

    There are dozens of way more effective steps than taking down a blog or two. Explain to kids that real names and real places don't get used in blogs. Using someone's real name, or telling where they live, etc. should be cause for suspension.

    2 cents,

    Queen B
  • Tax dollars... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by valkraider (611225) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:43AM (#13878151) Journal
    I see no problem with this sort of restriction in a private religious school, as long as they don't receive any tax dollars.

    'doh!
    • The question is, what right does the school have to limit what the students do at home, on their own time?

      Is it within the school's rights to suspend anyone who watches an R-rated movie, even if their parents are present?

      Suppose someone reads books not on the approved list -- at home? Plays D&D on the weekends? Dates someone of another religion (again, not on school time)? Eats junk food?

      What gives the school the right to dictate the student's personal life when the student is not on school property
  • RTFA (Score:4, Informative)

    by NoGuffCheck (746638) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:46AM (#13878177)
    Stop spouting the Post Anonymously crap, while I dont agree with the good Reverend he is objecting to blogs where the student post a picture, their name and other personal details.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:47AM (#13878180)
    My school tracks down your blog and reads it. If you say anything in it(such as drug or alcohol use) you must take a drug test or are suspended until you do(if you try to fight them in court you only have 21 days because if you are out of school longer then that you fail for the year no matter what your grades are). I dont even know what happens if you talk about attacking the school. Its funny though the only way they figure out your blog because they gave everyone laptops and kids goto them and blog.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Timmy,

      Report to my office BEFORE HOMEROOM Wednesday morning.

      Don't be late.

      -Principal O'Brien
  • God Forbid (Score:5, Interesting)

    by miyako (632510) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <okayim>> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:49AM (#13878192) Homepage Journal
    God Forbid the student's may run across people who might post ideas that run counter to the church.
    In fact, some of them might not even be *gasp* Christian. The children might be promoted to *Horror* Question the Doctorine of the Church!
    Please Someone Think Of The Children!
    (Not anti-religion, just think that by highschool people should be making up their own minds about it. Shouldn't true belief and a relationship with whatever god(ess)(es) a person chooses to follow or not come from self reflection and soul serching instead of bullying, parental decree, and a lack of exposure to alternate viewpoints?)
    • Re:God Forbid (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wkitchen (581276)
      God Forbid the student's may run across people who might post ideas that run counter to the church
      Heh, that reminds me of a cartoon I saw in a magazine many years ago (like 20 or so). A woman is in a school principal's office, chewing out the principal for corrupting her child's morals. The principal says "What did I do?". She replies "You taught him to read!".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @12:50AM (#13878194)
    We are seeing similar treatment of students having personal blogs and websites in public schools in Canada.

    Again, the argument is that the sites could be used for gathering information about the kids.

    Discussions about the limits of school responsibilities in personal lives, the role of parental supervision, and the level of Internet education being provided to children seem to go nowhere.

    It seems that any issue involving kid's safety has the effect of turning of brain cells in some school officials.
  • by coyote4til7 (189857) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:03AM (#13878250) Homepage
    Instead of ranting here, I just went and posted a simple question on their website: when were they going to ban students from going to public places since it's oh so much easier for a predator to _follow_ a student. I'm sure there are plenty of other creative suggestions that could be posted at http://www.popejohn.org/ [popejohn.org]

    Oh... I stumbled on the fact there seems to have been two Pope John XXIII (either the journalist left out an X or there are two Pope John High Schools in Sparta NJ). The first was also called an Anti-Pope and (thanks Wikipedia!) and later charged with piracy, murder, rape, sodomy, and incest. Oh the irony, the irony!
  • by RexRhino (769423) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:04AM (#13878255)
    Imagine that, a private religious institution actually making rules for it's memebers! The next thing you know, Jews won't be eating shelfish and Muslims won't be able to drink and eat a big hearty breakfeast during Ramadan.

    We are one step away from a nightmare scenario where there might even be clubs were men meet to wear aprons and learn secret handshakes. Clearly this is a case were the government needs to step in! The government always brings freedom!

    Geez, I don't know what this church is thinking! Normally religions have few restrictions, and they are all quite reasonable!
  • by JRW129 (823295) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:30AM (#13878389) Homepage
    My sister's high school decided to do this as well, here's the story:

    From: Round Rock ISD info@roundrockisd.org
    Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 9:12 AM
    To: xxxxxxxx
    Subject:MAV MAIL-a letter from the principal


    October 20, 2005

    Dear McNeil High School Parents and Guardians:

    While technology has served to improve our lives in numerous ways, it also has some negative effects. It has come to our attention that some Round Rock ISD students are sharing personal information and photographs on web sites that could enable viewers to locate the students. Two of the sites found to include RRISD students were www.xanga.com and www.myspace.com. On some postings students listed their full names, school names, cities, and other identifying information. Several included pictures and commentary (about both students and teachers) that are discomforting, if not downright disturbing.

    While many of the postings on these web sites are not necessarily alarming, we want you to be aware that some students are sharing information and photographs that could compromise their safety. Please talk with your student about the dangers of publishing identifiable information and photographs on the Internet. Please be aware of the online sites your student is visiting from home, and discuss with your student the harm that can be done by publishing inappropriate information or photographs of others without their consent or knowledge. You may also want to consider obtaining content-filtering or other parental control options for your Internet service.

    Students who participate in extracurricular activities that require higher standards of conduct, such as cheerleading, band, and athletics, may face consequences for publishing inappropriate web photos or information that identify their role in the school.

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at 464-6300. We appreciate your assistance in maintaining safe and secure environments for our students.

    Sincerely,

    Nelson Coulter
    Principal, McNeil High School


    -----
    Personally I believe that is a load of crap, There goes the right to free speech.
    • Seems like a very reasonable policy to me. Instead of a blanket ban they are just asking parents to take responsibility and making sure students are careful about what they post, and in particular when that includes pictures/information about other students or staff.

      What's the problem?

    • by sysadmn (29788) <sysadmn@gmailEULER.com minus math_god> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @08:35AM (#13879648) Homepage
      Sorry, as a parent, I think this letter is wholly appropriate. Instead of substituting his judgement for a parent's, he is asking parents to use their judgement about what is right for their kids. He's also putting parents and students on notice that those who might represent the school can be held accountable for their actions. That, in and of itself, is not unreasonable. If some kid gets bumped from the cheerleading squad for calling a teacher a doodyhead, then you can complain.
  • by ricoder (414205) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:34AM (#13878397) Homepage
    Joking aside, I think it is a bit unfair to suggest that a Catholic institution has no stake in protecting its students from online predators. This is like suggesting that a community (like say, a state such as MA) has no stake in protecting its citizens from murderers because the state has a certain percentage of murderers in it. Yes, there are predatory priests, but that does not define the Catholic church, nor its members.

    Furthermore, Free Speech as provided by the First Ammendment, like so much of the Constitution, is completely misunderstood by a large portion of Americans, and a great deal of the rest of the world. There are pleanty of examples, not the least of which is the Dixie Chicks crying foul (and using the term censorship) when other free citizens decided to boycott their product. Free speech is for everyone, good and bad, and I'd argue that it is more important to protect the bad, since it needs the most protection. Having said that, and digressed, in this case the body silencing the speech is a private organization silencing its membership. That membership is neither a right, nor involuntary. They may do as they please legally, and the membership that doesn't like it can certainly leave.

    Be careful what you wish for. If the fed gets control of what private organizations can do in every regard, its only a short put to your front door...your living room...your bedroom.

    But hey...at least the term SPLOG wasn't used...
  • by Myria (562655) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:39AM (#13878417)

    There are two important things here. First of all, this is a private high school. The First Amendment does not apply to private organizations, and even more so to religious private organizations *. Nor should it have to. If there is a problem with free speech, they can go to some other, possibly public school.

    Even if the student is not going to a Catholic school by choice, the First Amendment does not apply. Although the government cannot restrict the free speech of a minor, the parent can. Parents are all-powerful with regards to their children, with the exception of a few things like abortion.

    All in all, if I were running the school, I'd be far more worried about the clergy molesting the children than some outsider reading a web site.

    *: Religious organizations, or more accurately non-profit organizations in general, really do have more freedom with their views. You can't fire someone from a normal job for saying "there is no heaven" (or another inoffensive but heretical statement). But you can certainly do that to your clergy. Freedom of speech and freedom of association both work this way.

    Melissa

  • Wait (Score:3, Interesting)

    by max born (739948) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:40AM (#13878421)
    If Rev. Kieran McHugh is prohibiting students from posting online blogs to protect them from predators then the reason every other school is not doing the same is because either a) there's no problem with students posting blogs or b) he's wiser than all the other principals.

    If it's really about protecting students I think he'd want educate them about the values of anonymity and the dangers of giving personal information when using the Internet.
  • by Ulrich Hobelmann (861309) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:46AM (#13878434) Journal
    I read your newest blog entry. Your soul is mine. Muaahahahahaaa.
  • by Chris Tucker (302549) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:58AM (#13878480) Homepage
    Will no one THINK of the TEACHERS?

    From the school website: [popejohn.org]

    "Teachers Sites

    Mrs_Askin Mrs_Harrigan Mrs_Olsen
    Mrs_Astor Mrs_Kalafsky Mrs_Partida
    Mrs_Buniak Mr_Kenny Mr_Peck
    Mrs_Covel Mrs_Morris Mrs_M.Ross
    Ms_deVries Mr_Morro Mr_Vohden
    Mr_Ferrise Mr_Nicholson
    Mrs_Franc Mrs. O'Connell
    "

    Look at all those websites! Surely, each and every one a target for the foul predators that lurk on the Internets!

    Please, for their own good and safety, they must be PREVENTED from having their own websites!
  • Not surprised (Score:5, Interesting)

    by saskboy (600063) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @02:00AM (#13878488) Homepage Journal
    Blogging is known to be potentially dangerous. In fact I have no doubt that no fewer than 2 sexual beings have looked at my blog in the past hour. And we all know that sex is bad, so sexual beings must be bad too.

    But seriously, kids should not be blogging their thoughts in public anyway. It's different if they do it as a kind of job, but otherwise their blogs are just insipid surveys and risk taking opinions that people outside of their trusted social circles should not be entitled to read. Children don't know any better, and can't deal with the consequences when things go awry. They can't even sue someone for libel, or defend themselves directly in a libel suit.
  • by zdzichu (100333) <zdzichu@@@irc...pl> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @02:23AM (#13878557) Homepage Journal
    No one expected the Spanish Inquisition!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @02:59AM (#13878690)
    ... protects citizens from GOVERNMENT-IMPOSED restraints on speech. Private institutions such as Catholic schools and private employers are immune.

    Seriously. Look it up and then stop complaining about how CowboyNeal* is infringing on your rights.

    * not a federal institution
  • No Foul (Score:4, Informative)

    by zoomba (227393) <mfc131@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @08:55AM (#13879773) Homepage
    It's a private school... it can set rules as it sees fit regarding on and off-campus behavior. Also, this isn't a "free speech" infringement any more than moderators deleting posts on a private forum. Free speech is protected from the government passing laws that would limit it, not from private institutions enacting their own rules. Don't like it? Switch schools.
  • by millennial (830897) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @08:56AM (#13879777) Journal
    The students could win this legal fight because of one technicality:
    While Pope John's school handbook does not specifically forbid students from creating personal profiles on Web sites, it does prohibit students from posting anything on the Internet pertaining to the school, without the school's permission.
    If they aren't explicitly banning bloging in their handbook, but they are doing it anyways, then they're NOT enforcing their rules - they're overstepping their bounds.
  • by ka9dgx (72702) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:05AM (#13879833) Homepage Journal
    Instead of doing an online blog, just make about 95 posts or so, and nail it to the door of the school instead. It worked for Martin Luther. ;-)

    --Mike--

  • Control (Score:3, Insightful)

    by halber_mensch (851834) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:34AM (#13880030)
    This whole issue is not about safety, not about precaution, and definitely not about education. It is about control. Religion is not content to being a part of a person's life; as an organization it seeks to dominate all influences to the person. Hence why we have such an outcry from the religious right for things such as prayer in schools, banning of abortion, banning of homosexual relationships, et cetera ad infinitum. These people are not content to live their own lives, but feel a great desire to dominate the lives of others because they really can't play well with the other children. Now in this situation in Sparta, Reverend McHugh has simply seen a way to infiltrate his students' lives outside of school and has taken action on it, assured that the parents will not risk protecting their children from this social predator because of the cash they blow on tuition and the social ramifications of being ostricized in the catholic 'community' for disagreeing with the clergy.
  • by eth1 (94901) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:34AM (#13880034)
    Anyone else think that a policy like this would be horribly easy to abuse?

    Student: *create new blog*
    "hi! My name is (name of person that cut in front of me in the lunch line yesterday). My school sucks and the principal is a gay child molester."

    Principal: "What you say?!" *expel*
  • by srobert (4099) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @11:39AM (#13881087)
    "Rev. Kieran McHugh, the school's principal, said that he was trying to protect students from online predators."

    Thank God we have Catholic authorities to protect the children from all of the perverts out there in the world.

Ernest asks Frank how long he has been working for the company. "Ever since they threatened to fire me."

Working...