Students face felony charges for downloading AIM and stuff on school computers


PDA






Chrontius
August 10, 2005, 06:35 PM
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,68480,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_7

My favorite tidbits? the password was taped to the backs of the computers. Oh yeah, and they were laptops.

This sounds like another "Oh, he's looking at D&D on the library computers, that must mean he's going to shoot the place up! Quick, call the cops!" incident to me. :banghead:

School districts often don't secure their computer networks well and students need to be better taught right from wrong on such networks, said internet expert Jean Armour Polly, author of Net-mom's Internet Kids & Family Yellow Pages. Ya think? At my school, the root login was "Silver" and "Hawks" And guess where these kids are learning what's acceptable -- schools that monitor and micromanage everything that goes on on their network, and they're suprised when students try to watch what their teachers are doing...

"As parents, we don't want our kid breaking in to the Defense Department or stealing credit card numbers," said the elder Shrawder, a businessman. "But downloading iChat and chatting with their friends? They are not hurting anybody. They're just curious."

To Kutztown's school district: *bleep* you. Sideways. With sixteen feet of curare-dipped wrought-iron cemetary fencing. And no lubricant.



EDIT:

In the name of full disclosure, I was a student at a local high school banned from the school network for visiting a webpage on the roleplaying game Cyberpunk 2020 (think Dungeons and Dragons, but with cyborgs and megacorporations), the gimmick webpage Shutdown the Internet (http://turnofftheinternet.com/), and the gag webpage isgay.com (http://former.president.george.bush.isgay.com/) For the record, in the name of fairness I visited both that one and Bill Clinton Is Gay (http://president.bill.clinton.isgay.com/). Other students were then allowed to type in whoever they wanted. Of course, this was while I was signed into the computer.

I knew the root login for the school's network, and I chose not to use it.

I knew friends who downloaded porn on the front row computers behind the librarian's desk.

I was the one that got hauled in front of dean and police for looking at stupid inane crap on the computers, and I've yet to find it in my heart to forgive them. (The dean, not the cop -- he just stood there looking scary (and a little bored))

If you enjoyed reading about "Students face felony charges for downloading AIM and stuff on school computers" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
GunGoBoom
August 10, 2005, 06:44 PM
*bleep* you. Sideways. With sixteen feet of curare-dipped wrought-iron cemetary fencing. And no lubricant.

Ha, ha...word.

KriegHund
August 10, 2005, 06:45 PM
Thats pretty lame. ANd people wonder why i never use school computers for stuff other than *gasp* school related stuff.

Well, aside from the various times in comp class when i had all my work done and was allowed to play flash games.

cpileri
August 10, 2005, 06:46 PM
Charged with a felony?
Everything is a felony nowadays with our 'tough on crime' catchphrase. This is bad! keep in mind that these teenagers with a felony on their record can never own a firearm, never receive certain jobs, etc.

Yup, this really helps keep the sheeple in line. More importantly, it prevents any future NON-sheeple from owning 'Liberty's Teeth'.

Just food for thought.

C-

Tropical Z
August 10, 2005, 06:50 PM
Its shocking how casually prosecuters charge people with felonies these days.Hope they like it hot they = :evil:

Sindawe
August 10, 2005, 06:51 PM
Web site of in support of the students. http://www.cutusabreak.org/

I ran across this today on DSLReports. Darn poor IT polices by the school admin. Poor choice by the DA pressing charges.

To Kutztown's school district: *bleep* you. Sideways. With sixteen feet of curare-dipped wrought-iron cemetary fencing. And no lubricant. Thats a tad harsh. I've have been satisfied with the admin and IT folks publicly apologizing to the students and parents, then committing Seppuku (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seppuku).

thunder
August 10, 2005, 07:03 PM
How is this gun related or pertinent to the right to bear arms?

Standing Wolf
August 10, 2005, 07:09 PM
Everything is a felony nowadays with our 'tough on crime' catchphrase.

Once everybody's a criminal, we'll have to institute a police state.

Naaagh! Couldn't happen here.

mons meg
August 10, 2005, 07:14 PM
1st rule of computer security: console access=root access.

WT
August 10, 2005, 07:16 PM
What they did was funny.

For a penalty, make them work on a Trash 80 or Mac II SE for a semester.

Chrontius
August 10, 2005, 07:41 PM
LoL, WT -- that's the first good idea I've seen anywhere on this subject.

I propose a second one -- the 'my documents' folder is on hda3, the OS on hda1, and a restore partition on hda2. There are no lockdowns on the OS, if the student screws it up and loses work, that's punishment enough. There's no viruses that target macs, so it should be pretty hard to screw it up unintentionally.

Screwing around in class or viewing pr0n on the school's time is punished just as it would be without laptops.

Thrash1982
August 10, 2005, 07:52 PM
I was banned from our high school network my senior year for changing my rights on the network so that I could do more stuff than the admins. Never changed anything but my own rights. All I wanted to do was look around and the massive network structure. There were several of us in the Novell networking class that did this. Someone found out the helpdesk passoword (which was "help me" btw (our dean in charge of technology didn't even know what it was and laughed her butt off when we told her)). Then the overzealous network admin who could never keep anything working right went on a huge witch hunt to find everybody who had given themselves access. Pretty funny looking back but I remember how scared I was when I tried to log on one day and couldn't, and then thought "oh crap, they found me!"

Fletchette
August 10, 2005, 07:53 PM
How is this gun related or pertinent to the right to bear arms?

Good question. Here's the answer: nothing, directly.

But indirectly, there has been a long-lasting debate here on the High Road that is of concern to gun-owners, and that is the amount of "felony" crimes that are being created. With a felony on your record, you cease to be a full-citizen (can't own guns, can't vote, etc). Just about every new law, no matter how small an infraction, is a felony. It is almost as if the lawmakers forgot that there is such a thing as a misdemeanor crime.

Ridiculous "felonies" of late: storing old tires in your garage. Putting a foreign made spring into your shotgun and picking up a feather from an endangered species of bird. Do any of these things - no guns for you!

rudolf
August 10, 2005, 08:19 PM
Funny.
So you have a right to freedom of speech, but no right to look or listen?
And I thought the brits were crazy :)

Crosshair
August 10, 2005, 08:21 PM
Someone posted this awhile ago.

If they can't shoot you while you are doing it, it isn't a felony.

Rape = Yes
Murder = Yes
Arson of an Ocupied structure = Yes
Looking up naughty stuff on a computer = NO!!!!!!
Storing Tires the wrong way. = NO
Driving Drunk = As much as some would like this to be a Felony, I don't think it should be.

Mabee someone can play the race card to get out of some felony charge.

You're honor, I dispute the charges placed against my client as a form of racisim. These rather minor charges of street racing against my client will make him a second class citizen. This man shal loose many of the rights that are suposed to be garanteeded to him under the constitution. If found guilty this man shal forever loose his rights to vote his mind in an election. Even 40 years from now, this man will be unable to hold certian jobs and be held to something that happened decades ago.

Say something to that effect in front a a Jury and see what happens.

thunder
August 10, 2005, 08:31 PM
So it looks like the democrats are trying to take our gun rights and the future gun rights of these youth away one by one (through ridiculous felonies!), darn sneaky democrats... :banghead:

After I read this thread I checked out some of these new felony laws, looks like an internet spammer can be charged with a felony now. I'm not sure if I should be happy with that or not...

Flyboy
August 10, 2005, 08:37 PM
For a penalty, make them work on a Trash 80 or Mac II SE for a semester.
Ooh! Can I? Please? I miss my old Model 4....

A felony? I did the same thing in high school, only I used ICQ instead of AIM. Installed it on half a dozen teachers' machines; I got caught when I forgot to disable the auto-start fuction on one of them, and people would send me messages. D'oh!

For my "crimes," I was given a Saturday morning detention, and had my access privileges revoked for the rest of the semester. They were permanently revoked the next semester when I violated the school's policy on printing (ten-page limit, I think; I printed 25 copies of a two-page assignment, as instructed by my English teacher). Their network sucked anyway--"Bess," their filter software, got in the way of almost everything. Never really looked, but I'll bet it blocked sites like THR for being "violent" or somesuch. It was pretty bad.

I never much liked that school.

DeseoUnTaco
August 10, 2005, 08:45 PM
But indirectly, there has been a long-lasting debate here on the High Road that is of concern to gun-owners, and that is the amount of "felony" crimes that are being created. With a felony on your record, you cease to be a full-citizen (can't own guns, can't vote, etc). Just about every new law, no matter how small an infraction, is a felony. It is almost as if the lawmakers forgot that there is such a thing as a misdemeanor crime.
It's a disease. Our politicians never want to take a reasoned, balanced approach to criminal laws. Everything has to be a felony. We have the largest prison system in the world and we can't build them fast enough. Soon there will be room for all of us.

There should be a reasonable process that felons can use to restore their rights. Grand juries should consider cases carefully and turn down cases that don't have obvious merit. All criminal trials should start with a grand jury. Grand jurors should exercise judgement about which crimes should be addressed through the criminal system, and which actions should be addressed elsewhere. There should be statutes of limitations on most crimes (including child molestation). A felony should be a violent crime. A felony should require an indentifiable victim who was harmed and did not consent. A felony should not be a paperwork mistake or a business dispute. A prosecutor or investigator who pursues felonies that are business disputes should be removed from his position. Felons should have the right to vote. All citizens should be educated about the importance of jury service, and the fact that jurors exercise moral judgement from a position of sovreignty, and must find the defendant both legally and morally culpable.

RooK
August 10, 2005, 08:47 PM
Circumventing school security for their computers is a farce. I remember I found out the computers accessed certain IPs depending on their internet access. Student PCs' went to one IP that had naughty filters (couldn't even access sites for checking stocks etc)... teachers' were hooked to another IP. What did I do? Take the IP off a teacher's comp and reconfigure one of the classroom PCs to access it instead. Problem solved. :rolleyes:

It took me less than 3 months to realize this from the time I first saw the computer to figuring out how they utilized the network.

jefnvk
August 10, 2005, 09:33 PM
Detention, suspension, expulsion I agree with. They did violate the terms of use that they signed.

How this becomes a felony, I cannot see. However, I don't think this is the mastermind plans of some Democrats to prevent these kids from ever owning a firearm. Could be wrong, though.

My senior year, I pretty much passed out a handwritten script that disables the filtering software. No one cared. Teachers had me do it. The only people that cared were not the teachers, not the IT folks, but the administration downtown.

BTW, Bess did not block THR. It did TFL, and ARFCOM, and a few others, though. Many manufacturer sites were available, too.

beerslurpy
August 10, 2005, 09:36 PM
Someone posted this awhile ago.

If they can't shoot you while you are doing it, it isn't a felony.

Yeah, that was me. I am probably the poster child for crazy libertarian ideas here, so I will just go out on a limb and say that the criminalization of broad swathes of american society is a big step towards a very evil place.

I beleive there are many influential people working towards a police state in this country and even more people doing absolutely nothing about it. I really dont understand it. I guess a lot of people have decided that tyranny is ok as long as they get to hold the whip or guard the prisoners. After all, theyre just taking orders, and steady work is worth making a few sacrifices for.

When will people say enough?

scubie02
August 10, 2005, 10:04 PM
ok, first off I'll say I totally agree with the ciminalization of society, and have often made that point myself. I didn't read the article, but if they are being charged with a felony unless there are pretty strange circumstances thats ridiculous.

On the other hand...as someone who works at a school who ends up spending hours trying to fix the problems caused by little creeps who think they know everything about computers and decide to "make it work better" and promptly crash it, or who are too stupid to realize that a huge percentage of those little toolbars they seem to love to download so much also download a bunch of spyware that will again crash the computer, some of which are incredibly hard to get rid of, there are times when I'd probably say a good beating would be richly deserved. These are the same kids you tell over and over not to do something, they are so dishonest they keep doing it anyway, then they scream when you tell them they can't use the computers anymore. Or they scream the loudest when they actually need to use the computer for the 1/2 hour per week of work they might decide to do, then find it won't print or it crashes while they are doing their paper they left to the last second, because some idiot messed with it. Its also particularly nice to have a class come in with actual work to do and find that some idiot has crashed half the computers and they are unable to be used.

But hey, the school should have to pay somebody to spend hours every week trying to fix problems you created--we'll just cut some textbook funds or can an aide's position or something to pay for it... :mad:

CentralTexas
August 11, 2005, 12:11 AM
"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. When there aren't enough criminals, one MAKES them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. ... Create a nation of law-breakers, and then you cash in on the guilt."

-- Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged

Chrontius
August 11, 2005, 03:32 AM
Thank you Tex, that's the quote I was looking for.

Scubie02 -- I know my scenario has problems, but it's for personal laptops. If you can actually install spyware on a Mac, you're a better black-hat than I am a white-hat. Second, if they really screw it up, there's a one-button restore image on /dev/hda2 that reimages /dev/hda1, the os. If you're feeling low-maintenance, you can set it up to reimage at the end of every day, or at boot, or whatever.

roo_ster
August 11, 2005, 01:22 PM
scubie02:

Sounds like you're school is running Windows. I feel for you. IMO, WIndows is no longer appropriate for anything that keeping admin occupied and to justify buying newer, more powerful hardware.

Chrontius has a nice solution.

Turkey Creek
August 11, 2005, 07:18 PM
"students and parents were required to sign a code of conduct and acceptable use policy"

I may well be missing something here, but it seems to me the most disturbing aspect of the whole brouhaha is the fact that apparently giving your word no longer means anything to many people- a moral problem that seems to be ever more pervasive in our society- honesty and integrity have become lost values in a society spiraling into a moral quagmire- if these people can't be trusted to do and act as they have said they would in this situation, can they be trusted in any other situation?- I would not want them in my foxhole :fire:

Ridgeway
August 11, 2005, 07:27 PM
Thats just absurd.

I recall @ my high school, just a couple years ago...there were rules but alot more tolerance I guess.
Porn wasn't ok obviously, but I along with most of my C++ class, after we'd finished programming (or hell even during) would take a break and go to random sites (gaming, guns, cars, whatever). Never got in any real trouble for it- except to be told to go back on task.

Modifying comp. settings resulted in JUG ("Justice under God" see: detention- stand & look @ a cinder block wall for an hour)...not a felony.

Some schools are just too d*mn strict and serious these days, for just petty "offenses."

If my school charged people with felony's for instant messenging, there would have been @ least 100 (25% of the class) under arrest...

jeez...

jefnvk
August 11, 2005, 07:54 PM
Chrontius has a nice solution

Yep, Macs are the answer :rolleyes: We can do so much with Macs, like overpay.

FWIW, when me and my friends tried to bring the school computers to a halt, those pretty Macs crumpled first.

Flyboy
August 11, 2005, 09:22 PM
Actually, jefnvk, though he mentions Macs, his solution would work very nicely on any *nix box; in fact, I first thought he was using Linux, as /dev/hda is Linux's drive syntax.

I suppose this is as good a time as any to mention Knoppix (http://www.knoppix.org/).

jefnvk
August 11, 2005, 09:50 PM
Whoops, missed the other reply. Thought he was talking about just replacing teh Windows with Macs.

I really don't see why schools are issuing laptops in the first place. I could understand a system to help poor families get computers cheap, but just giving all the kids laptops?

JohnBT
August 11, 2005, 10:15 PM
A local county bought iBooks 4 years ago. Now they're selling them for $50 each and replacing them with Dells and fights are breaking out all over. Somebody should get some kind of felony out of this mess. JT

"Henrico deployed approximately 24,000 Apple iBooks to all sixth-through 12th-grade students.
Henrico deployed approximately 3,300 Apple iBooks to its entire teaching and administrative staff.
Each elementary classroom has 5 iMacs for a total of 4,500 iMacs system-wide.
Each high school has at least two PC labs offering student access to approximately 1,200 PC computers."


"The Henrico County iBook sale scheduled for August 9th has been changed. A sale open to Henrico County residents and taxpayers ONLY will be held on August 16th at the Richmond International Raceway.

The main gate will open at 7 a.m. and the sale begins at 9 a.m. Overnight parking and camping will be prohibited.

One thousand laptops will be available on a first-come first-serve basis limit one per person. The cost is $50 each. Cash or personal checks will be accepted."

MechAg94
August 11, 2005, 10:31 PM
It sounds to me like they are spending too much time and resource screwing around with computers. Do they just have them in the computer classes or are they in every class? Sounds like overkill.

I guess I am too old. My computer math class had DOS computers. We learned DOS commands, Pascal, and more advanced Basic. No network at all. They didn't even have hard drives. Booted off a disk and saved everything to disks. They were pretty new. They actually had the 3.5" disks rather than the 5.25" disks. I graduated High School in 1990. Saw a 386 with Windows for the first time in college. Things have changed a little in the last 15 years.

Flyboy
August 11, 2005, 11:54 PM
MechAg, as you suggest, it's not about having computers or not having computers. I never took a single computing class in school prior to college; we had a few lectures on how to use MS Word (no, not a word processor, MS Word), and that's it. In college, I had two very basic programming classes (Java 101 and Data Structures).

Somehow, though, despite my gross lack of computer education, I've managed to become a sysadmin, with a couple of stints as a programmer, including one at an Air Force supercomputer lab. (I identify myself as a flight instructor, and not a sysadmin, to keep people from asking me to fix their computers. And because I'd rather be flying.)

All the concern over "a computer on every desk" is merely a distraction; teachers are trying to find excuses for the fact that they're miserable failures when it comes to teaching, and saying "oh, we need this nifty gadget, then everything will be hunky-dory!" is just the latest excuse. Parents, many of whom are themselves products of the government edjukashun system, seem to lack the critical thinking skills to realize that computers didn't even exist (in practical terms, anyway) when they were in school, and yet, schooling has been going on, with some modicum of success, for centuries.

As is frequently the case, Fred Reed puts it better than I do (http://www.fredoneverything.net/Schools.shtml).

proud2deviate
August 12, 2005, 12:51 AM
Boy it's a good thing I'm not in school anymore. They'd likely burn me at the stake. Opinions on the correct usage of computers varied widely at my school. I used to look at the Magnum Research website a lot. My keyoarding teacher caught me and about went critical mass. Sent me to the office, called my parents, the whole shebang. My english teacher caught me and said "Desert Eagle! FEEL THE POWER!!" I kid you not.

Computer security was a joke. User name and password were a student's full name and social security number. Either one might have been difficult to obtain if they weren't boldly printed on the student ID's we had to wear whilst in the building. (I never wore mine. They never pressed the issue. I'm not sure why.) All you had to do was glance at a person's chest and you had their logon info. If you wanted to conduct some unsavory business on the net, you just logged on as one of the straight-laced kids. Towards the end of the year, I compiled and circulated a list of about thirty names.

I downloaded and printed reams of material on any sort of inane subject. How to build coil guns, potato cannons, weapons stats, etc. Talk about higher education. We had napster and probably every instant messenger program known to man. Text games were popular. Good times all around. :D

Art Eatman
August 12, 2005, 02:10 AM
I just love this Brave New World we live in. When I was the age of those kids, the only way I'd have faced felony charges would have been to use a club or knife in a fight, or steal something (constant dollars) worth a thousand dollars...

Felony?

BS

Art

hifi
August 12, 2005, 05:36 AM
Its shocking how casually prosecuters charge people with felonies these days.Hope they like it hot they = :evil:

Not shocking to me. Lawyers are one of the privileged class and don't live in the same world as ordinary people. Just like judges and higher up politicians.

c_yeager
August 12, 2005, 06:34 AM
I think that a lot of this new computer paranoia is coming from our "new age" of IT 'proffesionals'. Prior to the big .com boom just about everyone in IT could be considered a computer nerd, and had a truly indepth (and largely self-taught) knowledge of the inner workings of the machines under their charge.

Well, these days IT is a hot job, and a lot of "regular people" are getting into the field. The end result is that a lot of our current techs are people that learned EVERYTHING they know about computers in a class room. If any of you have taken a computer science class at a community college you will know how scary that idea is. One of my coworkers is enrolled in an IT course, and he doesnt even own a computer. He graduates in a few months.

The end result is that a lot of people who are running your tech-support dont know what the heck they are doing, and they freak out when anything gets installed on a machine simply because they have no idea of what it will do or how to fix it. It was a sad day when i learned that i knew more about computers than the majority of the paid on-site tech support personel at my work.

MikeB
August 12, 2005, 08:41 AM
Well, these days IT is a hot job, and a lot of "regular people" are getting into the field. The end result is that a lot of our current techs are people that learned EVERYTHING they know about computers in a class room. If any of you have taken a computer science class at a community college you will know how scary that idea is. One of my coworkers is enrolled in an IT course, and he doesnt even own a computer. He graduates in a few months.

The end result is that a lot of people who are running your tech-support dont know what the heck they are doing, and they freak out when anything gets installed on a machine simply because they have no idea of what it will do or how to fix it. It was a sad day when i learned that i knew more about computers than the majority of the paid on-site tech support personel at my work.

And all they have to do is pass a multiple choice test, where the answers can be memorized out of study guides to get the certification.

I've always thought any IT certification class should involve a box of parts and some disks(some drivers need to found). You assemple a couple workstations and a server out of those parts(including a couple bad parts that need to be identified) and then have to demonstrate your network works before you get a certification.

I'm one of those self-taught. Started on a PDP-11 at about the age of 5. Most of the "certified" people I know I wouldn't trust to install a mouse.

As for the crimes. Said "crimes" being felonies is just plain stupidity.

beerslurpy
August 12, 2005, 09:25 AM
Well, these days IT is a hot job, and a lot of "regular people" are getting into the field.

Something that employers have been discouraging in a most darwinian fashion in recent years. This might have been a problem in the late 90s, but not anymore. It is very hard to make it in the software or IT fields unless you both enjoy your work and are good at it. Not only that, you have to suffer through a few years of paying your dues. This also helps keep dabblers out.

I am increasingly begining to think that the answer is homeschooling. Then again, how much could a semi-literate parent teach a child?

roo_ster
August 12, 2005, 10:00 AM
...a lot of our current techs are people that learned EVERYTHING they know about computers in a class room.

It was a sad day when i learned that i knew more about computers than the majority of the paid on-site tech support personel at my work.

"Paper Tiger" is the word I'm thinking of.

I would do what I needed to do to get a job done and when IT heard of it, they would bow up and say I was on "the bleeding edge." Frankly, I am not a "bleeding edge technology" kinda guy. I just want to accomplish what I am supposed to acomplish and won't let a bunch of gelded IT types get in my way. I am polite about it, however, and I don't call them gelded...to their face.

Yep, Macs are the answer We can do so much with Macs, like overpay.

FWIW, when me and my friends tried to bring the school computers to a halt, those pretty Macs crumpled first.

Actually, jefnvk, though he mentions Macs, his solution would work very nicely on any *nix box; in fact, I first thought he was using Linux, as /dev/hda is Linux's drive syntax.

I suppose this is as good a time as any to mention Knoppix.

I was thinking white box PC desktops (without hard drives) from a reputable local shop with a HW service agreement running a mildly customized CD distro (knoppix, gnoppix, damnsmalllinux). Home space on a file server.

Then, I remembered the laptop requirement & thought a similar mildly customized CD distro installed to the HD. OS gets hosed? Re-install the OS from any number of the CDs laying around or a CD image on a file server. Chrontius is more elegant, however, and considering the size of contemporary HDs, quite viable.

**********

Felonies for IM? WIll the asininity never stop?

scubie02
August 12, 2005, 10:55 AM
All the concern over "a computer on every desk" is merely a distraction; teachers are trying to find excuses for the fact that they're miserable failures when it comes to teaching, and saying "oh, we need this nifty gadget, then everything will be hunky-dory!" is just the latest excuse. Parents, many of whom are themselves products of the government edjukashun system, seem to lack the critical thinking skills to realize that computers didn't even exist (in practical terms, anyway) when they were in school, and yet, schooling has been going on, with some modicum of success, for centuries.

See, this is the kind of crap teachers have to put up with. What other job can you have a Master's degree, and yet any bozo with a 2nd grade education can get on the school board and think they know how to tell you to do your job. You want to know why education sucks these days? Because for the most part kids have no work ethic whatsoever, and they don't have to. Try to flunk a kid nowadays, the parents are in screaming, administrators come and have a cow and tell you to pass them, and you graduate morons. Parents scream they want tougher standards, but not for THEIR kid. Why do you think so many people you deal with on a daily basis are totally incompetent? Because they still get through school and get jobs, no matter how big of a moron they are. One of the same teachers I had in school is still here, teaching AP English. She still does some of the same paper assignments on classic novels, only now instead of 2000 word papers they do 500 word papers, because she says they just can't do a 2000 word paper. You should see the 500 word ones.

I'm currently the librarian for our school. When I started I had a full time aide. This was largely because besides all the library duties, we are also considered to be in charge of all the audio visual stuff, so if some teachers vcr dies in the middle of a movie they are squawking they need you there NOW. I also had to set up my own computer network. My budget has been slashed to around $3000, partly because heck, if you have computers, why do you need books? A set of encylopedias costs somewhere between $1000-$2000 depending on the set. Our newest set is a 2000. We won't be getting a new set in the forseeable future. Our technology encyclopedia set is a 1972 set--wanrt to guess how usefull that is? The computers we have which obviate the need for books? The newest ones I have are pentium 400's, at any given time at least 1/3 are down because of tampering, and I have to find the time somehow to fix them myself--something its hard to do when they have a zillion kids in her from study halls, regular classes wanting to do research, and the odd trouble making kid they have sent here because the teacher kicked him out and the principals "don't like doing discipline". They canned another 7 or 8 teachers for next year, but still have to teach the courses, so I have been told that in addition to all my other duties I have to teach 3 business courses next year. I "shouldn't have more than 20 students at a time"--I have around 5 or 6 working computers at any given time. The main thing I have to be teaching is computers to satisfy state regs. Guess how THATS going to go? Not to mention that all of the teachers who have classes those periods can now never bring their students to the library for research because there will already be a class there, and if you're a student who happens to have your only study hall then, I guess you're going to some public library after school. They have slashed jobs, textbooks, etc, and we have old computers that don;t work, because there is no money, yet strangely we have twice as many administrators, all hauling down six figure salaries, than we did 10 years ago--somehow we can afford that. The local newspaper reported that administrator salaries and benefits have gone up 68% in the past 5 years. Want to know what the teacher salary increase has been? Well, for the past 2 years we haven't had a contract, so it has been 0%--yes, thats 0%. While fuel prices and everything else have been skyrocketing, we have had a 0% increase. The last one we had was 3%, which is less than cost of living. Oh, and there is not a teacher here--even ones who have been here 35-40 years, who makes even CLOSE to six figures.

Oh, and teachers are supposed to get 175 credits of continuing education every 5 years. How many do you need to get for your job? Your job might even pay for them, if they do require any, huh? Nobody pays for ours. Our business manager got a $10,000 raise for finally getting his ONLINE master's degree. We get $400 when we get ours (which is a requirement).

Our one principal (yes, we have more than one in our building) who doesn't like doing scheduling or discipline (she they hired another administrator to do discipline and foisted scheduling a new teacher--for no more pay of course) has decided she wants to "focus on curriculum", which apparently means she tells all the teachers we have to rewrite our curriculum. It now has to be in a different format, and then put in little "houses" with "pillars" and such, so it looks cutesy. We've spent a hue amount of time doing this--has to be in just the right format that she wants or you have to do it over, and they seem to not really have any idea why or how it should be done really, so they can't explain it, they just know when it hasn't been done right. Then they can turn it in to the school board and the state and say "see how we've made all our teachers work and come up with this great new curriculum?".

Sorry for the rant, but there's a reason why most teachers quit in the first 5 years--and its not the kids. I like the job, there is seldom a kid I can't reach. But the BS level is catastrophic, and the best teachers are often the first ones to get drummed out--the ones that just want to teach the kids and are great at it and resist wasting time rewriting their curriculum, say--they are gotten rid of. The ones that couldn't teach their way out of a paper bag and are happy to use the latest buzz words and suck up and are thrilled to rewrite curriculum, particularly if it means they can get out of teaching for a few days since they don't really like kids anyway...well, they are probably future administrators...seriously...

jefnvk
August 12, 2005, 01:25 PM
What other job can you have a Master's degree, and yet any bozo with a 2nd grade education can get on the school board

Most teachers in my schools had a bachelors.

Not against keepint technology up to date in theschool, but I really don't see how giving every student a laptop helps at all.

BTW, who pays when the little 2nd grader drops his $1500 laptop in the mud and ruins it?

dpesec
August 12, 2005, 01:56 PM
You want to add some fuel here. I thought about teaching, well I hold two doctorates, one in business the other in religion. Plus I teach at 3 universities. I was told I had to go back and take undergrad classes because I wasn't a qualified teacher. :what:

I just said HUH? Naturally, I didn't continue this path. Go fig.

Flyboy
August 12, 2005, 02:04 PM
scubie02:
I agree with you that the parents and the administrators share culpability for the problem--hell, parents should probably be assigned primary responsibility, as they tacitly accept failure from others--but there is plenty of blame to go around, and quite a bit of it rightly falls on the teachers.

To be fair, I've had some great ones, a few of whom I still visit on a semi-regular basis. Many of them, though, were idiots. When a sophomore is pointing out glaring errors--not typos, or trivialities, but fundamental misconceptions--in the curriculum, there's something wrong. Bonus points for it being a new curriculum designed to help us poor little young'uns understand things that only teachers know (yeah, that attitude was pretty common). And no, I'm not talking about the new teachers who didn't last five years; the one I have in mind retired, with a full pension (thirty year minimum, I think), just a few years later. She was so bad that I was drafting a letter of complaint to the school board, and I had the support of every student in the class.

I should probably mention that it was an advanced algebra class, which brings me to my second point.What other job can you have a Master's degree, and yet any bozo with a 2nd grade education can get on the school board and think they know how to tell you to do your job.I have found that it's not the "bozo[s] with a 2nd grade education" who are complaining the loudest, but rather the exceptional people who see how badly they were limited by the system. In many ways, this one falls to the administration (and, again the parents/voters/taxpayers): it's considered "unfair" to teach at a level that challenges the bright and gifted, because the below-average (or lazy) can't keep up. While I agree that it's important to make every effort to teach everyone, it's also important that the curriculum not be "dumbed down" to the lowest common denominator. I see that happening.

Third, without attacking the politics of teachers, I do want to attack some of the philosophies. As Fred's article discusses, self-esteem is a steaming load of buffalo chips. Did you hear about the latest news from Britain (I think it was)? "Failure" is to be eliminated in favor of "deferred success." What kind of politically-correct merde is that? That's not just softening the blow, that's completely changing the meaning: "success" and "failure" are antithetical, not interchangeable. I think it was a district in Vermont or Connecticut that forbade the use of red error-marking pens as they were deemed too abusive to the poor dears' self-esteem. I've had the distinct displeasure to deal with a number of these soft, mushy grads in recent years, and I've had no end of trouble with it. They can't handle failure, because they've never been taught that it exists. Guess what, people: in the real world, there is a right way to do things, and there are a whole lot of wrong ways. If you pick any of the multitude of wrong ways, you fail. Period. I'm sure we've all heard the apocryphal tale of the Computer Science professor with the sign above his door: "If you are 90% correct, I will give you a distinction; your boss will fire you." This "deferred success" crap is turning out people with expectations of the world that are wholly unrealistic, in addition to being functionally illiterate.

And, while I'm on the subject of illiteracy, Ebonics is not a language. Period. Neither is SMS/text/IM/1337-speek. I actually had somebody send me a resume* in all-caps, with notable misspellings. I'll bet he still wonders why I didn't even call him back. I've heard occasional grumbles about students submitting such garbage, but I've never once heard of a teacher taking the appropriate action: "Grade: F. This paper was required to be written in English. It isn't." Note that this rubber stamp should be used aggressively in Chemistry, History, and Music Theory, not just English. Classes are not segregated events; you don't get to stop using math when you walk into your Physics class, so why can you stop using English? (Note: papers in other classes should also be mathematically valid, historically correct, and so forth. English isn't just about writing--it's about communicating, and if you're fundamentally wrong, you're not communicating anything worth reading. One of my English teachers--whom I respected greatly--told a story of a student who did a Freudian analysis of Moby Dick, with a large portion devoted to the use of that particular euphemism for the male genitalia. Unfortunately, that euphemism didn't come about until some time later. Oops.)

You mentioned that many of them have Masters' degrees? In what? A BS in teaching, and an MS in teaching (or BA and MA, if that's what the program uses), and you may well be an expert teacher. Fine--but what are you teaching? I've known more than a few who had degrees in teaching, but had no concept of the material they were trying to present. Take away their notes and Teachers' Editions, and they knew about as much as their students. I'm a flight instructor; I have some passing experience in the field, if only tangentially. As part of the process of becoming a CFI, we have to learn about, and are tested on, the Fundamentals of Instruction (that's actually the name of the test). The FOI portion of the Aviation Instructor's Handbook is maybe ten percent of the book. The rest is devoted to understanding flying--flight physics, flight physiology and aeromedical factors, and all sorts of other interesting and important concepts. Consequently, I know enough about those topics to teach them, and to intelligently answer questions about them, even when the questions aren't directly addressed in the guides. That was one of the most useful skills the aforementioned English teacher taught me: the ability to synthesize new material from existing knowledge. I know some very good teachers who are good at it, and I know a lot of lousy ones who can't answer any question that's not directly addressed in the syllabus. Even worse, many will try to BS an answer, rather than admitting they don't know and researching the question (this applies to the population at large, but I'd argue that it's a greater sin when it comes from someone who is in the position of presenting knowledge). I've made a few of them pretty mad when I start picking it apart and demonstrating inconsistencies with what they've previously said.

I'm sure this all sounds terribly arrogant; I've spent more than a few words using myself as an example of how things ought to be done. I certainly am not a shining example of a great teacher, but I was fortunate enough to be taught by a few, and I'd like to think a few of them rubbed off. More and more, I'm convinced that, like politicians and police, communities get the teachers they deserve. If we really gave a tinker's damn about our childred (that's the collective "our," as I have no kids), we'd demand more from them, and demand more from our teachers. It's interesting that in this country, teachers are held in little regard, while in many other countries--particularly European countries--teaching is considered quite prestigious. I'm not suggesting adopting the European style (styles, really) of education, but we could go a long way toward fixing ours by hiring respectable teachers, demanding performance, supporting them when they do right, and rewarding them appropriately. Unfortunately, we just don't care.

Go read Fred's essay; he puts it better than I do.

Keeping to the original topic, now so many posts above us, I'll bet the administrator(s) responsible had no concept of how to handle account privileges. Actually, that's pretty clear: if he did have even a modicum of Clue, the passwords wouldn't be written down on the machine. If you're dumb enough to write the root password on the machine, all your efforts to create restricted accounts are about as useful as handing out bailing buckets to the passengers on the Titanic. I'll leave it as an exercise to the other admins to come up with alternative means of restricting such things (including removing incentives by preventing use of the program, even if it is installed).

In any case, this is not a just felony. Computer crimes are actually getting to be among the worst at being over-classified, in no small part because the relevant people (legislators and judges specifically, and the public at large) don't understand them. When breaking ROT-13 encryption is a felony, it's a clear sign that the legislators didn't have a clue what they were talking about. ROT-13 means shift (rotate) the alphabet thirteen letters--a Caesar cipher with an index of 13. Think "secret decoder ring," and don't forget to drink your Ovaltine. As usual, somebody overreacted in the legislature, creating this possibility, and somebody--more likely, several somebodies--overreacted in the school, resulting in a call to the DA, and thus we get felony charges. Too many stupid people--stupid people in the legislature, stupid people in the (government) schools, and stupid people in the DA's office. I see two common elements: stupid people, and government.

In other news, the sun rose in the east today.



* vBulletin apparently strips HTML character entries such as e-acute (yes, I tried).

scubie02
August 12, 2005, 05:54 PM
I'm sure teaching requirements vary from state to state. In NY, teachers are required to have a Mater's degree. They may start teaching with a Bachelor's technically, but then have 5 years to get a Master's, if they do not they can not continue teaching.

I am not saying all teachers are great--I see more and more poor ones coming in it seems, largely because they are the same kids who got shuttled through high school and it contined in college. These are the ones that somehow managed to get through a college degree without ever doing a paper.

As far as the smart kids not being challenged--thats more of the "feel good" crap that is foisted on teachers, not something most of them want. Many don't dare say it, but they feel the same way. "Tracking" worked alot better than "inclusion", which says you aren't allowed to put the smartest kids in one class, etc. And so you are teaching to the lowest common denominator.

But its just veting to bitch, because trust me it won't change. The education field is literally just like politics. The people in charge at my school literally do not care about how good an education students get--they make that clear by their actions over and over. They care about test pass rates, but that's two different things. They do things to APPEAR to be doing something, just like in politics. But the real issues never get addressed.

xdoctor
August 12, 2005, 06:27 PM
I got into trouble on the High School network too. With the right network administration software and the right teacher's passwords (which are just too easy to get) I could do, quite literally, anything I wanted. That's too much power for a 16 year old to have. I made a ton of cash erasing absences. Everything was super until one of the teachers in the computer lab walked up behind me. I didn't get felony charges though... that seems a bit extreme.

captlid
August 12, 2005, 11:47 PM
when a school gives students laptops, arent they free to do what they want with them? If they break them do to tinkering then they should be responsible for getting them fixed...

Whats the legal ownership agreement here?

for example, our college gave us software with a license agreement that we can install the software on any of our own personal computers and keep one backup disk of it.

Are these laptops that students take home? who provides the internet? is the filter enabled when they are home using their home connection?

Certain things can be done to computers on school property to make them harder to damage by accident or intentionally. But if these laptops are given to the students to take home and basically own whats up with the internet filters?

How hard is it to block ports on the outgoing internet router? :evil: basically only allowing incoming http and ftp and other necessary services.

artherd
August 13, 2005, 06:28 AM
I will say this: Teaching kids how to maintain (and effectively use, which means HACKING the stupid crap they put on there) computers is one of the most important and effective things a school can do these days.

I was all over our 5th grade network. Then again, *I* set it up and co-wrote the grant to purchase it along with my dad!!!

Going from that to a 'secure' network with 'mere students' not allowed access is completely assinine.

Give the (high school age I assume) kid the laptop. If/when she brakes it, tell her she gets to fix it or do withought!

MikeIsaj
August 13, 2005, 11:18 AM
I guess I'm getting old or tired. I think there is enough stupidity here for everyone involved to have a serving.

The district attorney gets a serving for charging them with felonies. I would bet the intent is to scare them into pleading to some lesser charge. A common tactic in Pa. becuase it works.

The school gets a double serving for not practicing good security on their network. It is amazing to me that we keep hearing about this happening. Don't these people talk to each other.

The students get a helping for thinking they would not get caught but, thats what you should expect from adolescents.

The parents get a serving for siding with the students. Yes, we expect kids to do these things. That doesn't mean we support, condone or defend it. Maybe if parents were willing to discipline their kids, the DA wouldn't need to. Can't complain about how the DA disciplines your kids when you refuse to. When my son was a minor working at a local department store he committed a minor theft of store property. The store had a cororate policy of zero tolerance and prosecution of all thefts. I believe the reason they did not prosecute him was due to my reaction when I picked him up. They showed me a very convincing case and I made it clear that he was in deep s*&# at home. The judge would have a hard time matching the justice I planned on imposing.

Chrontius
August 15, 2005, 02:35 AM
How hard is it to block ports on the outgoing internet router? basically only allowing incoming http and ftp and other necessary services.

At UCF, FTP is a luxury we do without. :banghead:

You have no bloody idea how much time I spent trying to reinstall my operating system from the Debian FTP - it was supposed to be a quick download after class, but it turned into two days of BS and two skipped lunches.

kwelz
August 15, 2005, 01:52 PM
I love how people twist the facts to meet their own needs. You all sound like the Antis normally do.

1: The "password" was not taped to the back of the computer. The schools Address was. The Admin was just stupid enough to use the schools short address as the admin password on the machines

2: These kids and their parents signed a code of conduct that they then not only completely ignored but actively tried to break. This alone is grounds for disciplinary action

3: The legal action is mainly because they used the access to break into and monitor the systems of Teachers and administrators. So not only have they broken the rules, and possibly local laws, but they have accessed confidential material and with a bit of work could have changed files, etc.

These parents are deluded enough to think that their little angels should be "rewarded" THese kids are idiots who continued to break the rules even after they had been warned time and again.

Maybe the criminal charges are a bit much. But I don't really think so.

30Cal
August 16, 2005, 06:42 PM
The news story is pretty compelling, but then I read the students side of the story at the cutusabreak website. It's a laundry list of pathetic excuses.

The kids got caught tresspassing, were warned and disciplined repeatedly over it. Plenty of prime opportunities to stop straighten themselves out before the hammer was dropped. And now their shocked that they find themselves under the same gun that points at folks that steal identities, alter grades, and cripple large portions of the internet?

Would you build a twenty foot fence with razor wire to keep kids from repeatedly vandalizing your property? Or would you call the cops? Apparently, the kids and parents think it's a the schools fault for not having a tall enough fence.

Time to sleep in the bed they made.

Ty

If you enjoyed reading about "Students face felony charges for downloading AIM and stuff on school computers" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!