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School Has To Pay $70,000 To Student Whose Passwords They Took

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We talked on the air last week about the New Jersey middle-schooler who got in trouble over some unflattering tweets she made about the principal of her school and whether or not schools have the authority to punish students over things they do or say on social media. If a case in Minnesota is any guide, school administrators should tread lightly.

CBS reports that a Minnesota sixth grader posted that she hated her teacher’s aide on Facebook. Somehow, school officials found out and forced the girl to give up the passwords to her email and Facebook accounts. There’s some dispute over whether her parents gave permission to the school to demand her passwords, but in either case, her lawyer negotiated a $70,000 settlement for the girl.

The school must have thought they were going to lose in court, so they decided to settle. The superintendent of the school district in question is quoted in the article, “[We'll] be certainly much more cautious about punishing people for things they say off-campus outside of school time”.

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