Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Students in a Pennsylvania school district are learning more about George Orwell’s novel 1984 than they had expected.

No, they’re not being subjected to “a boot stamping on a human face, forever” — the bottom line of Orwell’s bleak techno-totalitarian dystopia — but they sure have gotten an unexpected taste of the telescreen in every room.

The Lower Merion School District says it intended no such thing when it handed out webcam-equipped laptops to 1,800 students. It says that the only purpose of its ability to switch on the cams remotely was to help track lost or stolen laptops.

But Blake Robbins, a student at Harriton High, found out different. According to a class action lawsuit against the district, assistant principal Lindy Matsko confronted him about a bad deed he had allegedly done at home. As proof, Matsko pointed to an image on the laptop taken by the webcam. Matsko thought it showed Blake taking drugs. Blake says he had simply been eating Mike & Ike candies. Nor had he reported a lost laptop.

What exactly happened with these webcams will be thrashed out in court. It’s also being investigated by the FBI. But the district admits it never told anybody that it could operate the webcams remotely.

The kicker is this: Kids at the school had just read Orwell’s novel. I guess they’ll remember it better now.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


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  2. Russell Militello says:

    The article on the laptops in the Lower Merion school district interested me particularly since I graduated fro the then called Lower Merion High School in 1938. At that time it was judged one of the fifty best high schools in the country and it deserved those accolades.

    Of course at that time there were no laptops or computers of any type there but it was as different as day and night from what Paul Jacob describes as happening there now.

    The tilt toward socialism and interference in peoples life styles has been growing since FDR whom I voted against in my first allowed vote after I turned 21, which did not occur after the election of 1940, which was a few days before my 21st birthday. I don’t think there was much cheating at the polling places those days but I may have been too naive to recognize it.

    As I am a conservative I have yet to see a democrat administration that has been close to a moderate one except for one or two. Certainly there hasn’t been one close to that since before Reagan and even though I voted for Bush he was a disappointment, not for his war and terrorist stance but for his yielding to the temptation to put us in debt in concert with the liberals, even though the thought of Gore and Kerry is much more bone chilling. Now we are stuck with the most radical socialist leftist in memory. He makes FDR look like a conservative. If he is allowed a congress he can control in ’10 and wins reelection because of the free lunch greed of the public we will be faced with all the controls depicted in ‘1984’.

  3. Rubicon says:

    Poetic justice. It truly is ironic that these kids had just finished reading Orwell’s 1984. How appropriate. No educator could have come up with a better lesson plan.
    I admit to a level of self satisfaction. Perhaps even a smug self satisfaction. Shame on me.
    The school officials tried to do a dance. They told kids it was to locate lost &/or stolen laptops. Yet this kid was singled out for ‘doing drugs.’
    Perhaps I am also a cynic. I have a feeling the photo’s or shots taken during the time this system was up in operation, have probably disappeared. Wanna bet??????? This may have been a well intentioned system. It may have even been something administrators thought was a great idea. Somewhere along the line, “another” school administrator thought they could & should take its function to another level. In short, a liberal bureaucrat thought it was OK to spy on ‘kids.’
    Even if the kid was shooting up, spying on him using a system he had been told was only to ‘find’ lost or stolen laptops, reveals a dangerous attitude about those running our schools & teaching our children.
    An attitude I do seriously, NOT like!
    I suspect many others feel the same way.

  4. Tyya says:

    Whoa, whoa, get out the way with that good inofrmtaoin.

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