School districts in Illinois are telling parents that a new law may require school officials to demand the social media passwords of students if they are suspected in cyberbullying cases or are otherwise suspected of breaking school rules.
The law, which went into effect on January 1, defines cyberbullying and makes harassment on Facebook, Twitter, or via other digital means a violation of the state's school code, even if the bullying happens outside of school hours.
A letter sent out to parents in the Triad Community Unit School District #2, a district located just over the Missouri-Illinois line near St. Louis, that was obtained by Motherboard says that school officials can demand students give them their passwords.
Does anyone still wonder why Snapchat, YikYak and other "disappearing" and "anonymous" message apps* are popular with The Kids? Stuff like this is why.
But there's a larger problem at work here, too: how can we help students who are being bullied through technological means, without giving administrators the power to be needlessly invasive?
* Scare quotes added for the purpose of noting that content shared through those apps is usually neither truly anonymous nor can it be guaranteed to disappear.