I thought that school teachers and administrators were supposed to do everything in their power to stop bullying. But does that give them the right to bully an innocent student in order to track down another student that is guilty of cyber bullying?
Evidently, Everett School District in Everett, Washington, believes it does.
The vice principal at North Middle School had information about a student who was posting inappropriate photos on their Facebook page in an effort to cyber bully another student. However, the vice principal was not a Friend of anyone involved and was unable to view the cyber bullying post. That’s when he came up with the idea to bully an innocent student into logging into her Facebook page so he could then track down his suspect.
The innocent student, Samantha Negretti says that she didn’t want to open her Facebook page and give the vice principal access to look through it, but she was bullied into cooperating. Eventually, the vice principal found the photo he was looking for and the cyber bully was suspended from the school.
She describes what happened once the vice principal gained access and starting going through her FB page:
“He was like looking through all of my friend’s profiles and stuff and viewing what they said and making mean remarks to their posts and things.”
“Honestly I feel like, I feel like it was my fault, and I feel like I was used and kind of harassed because he made me feel kind of bad.”
Samantha’s parents were upset when Samantha told them what happened. Connie Becerra, Samantha’s mother, told the local news:
“There was no right for anybody to come in and ask her to open up her personal information to obtain any information about anybody else. That’s just something you cannot do.”
“He proceeded to sit down and go through students’ pages and opened up numerous kids’ Facebooks and looked through pictures and postings.”
The local news tried to contact the school district, but they would not comment while the cameras were rolling. Off camera, the district official told the news schools have sweeping authority to investigate matters that involve the safety of their students. That sweeping authority can even exceed the power and authority that police use in their investigations. In other words, they claim to be able to do whatever they feel is necessary to stop bullying and other crimes committed by and against students.
As much as I despise the ACLU, they have got themselves involved in this case. Linda Mangel of the ACLU told the local media:
“Schools shouldn’t investigate alleged bullying by starting with a student who was not involved in the incident and trolling through her private Facebook account. The school’s conduct violated the rights of this student.”
I smell a lawsuit in the making and, oh this hurts me to say it, I hope the ACLU wins the lawsuit and the school and vice principal are found guilty of violating Samantha’s civil rights. Like the cyber bully who was suspended, I believe the vice principal should also suffer an unpaid suspension for his bullying of Samantha. Too many school administrators are taking the Obama approach to being above the law that they need to know that their illegal actions will have strong consequences.