An Illinois school district unanimously voted Monday night to include the blogosphere within the parameters of its code of conduct. As such, students can be held responsible for blog postings and other activities on social networking sites like MySpace - even in summer.
High school students in the Community High School District 128 who participate in extracurricular activities, like sports, school clubs, etc., will be required to sign a contract acknowledging that evidence of illegal or inappropriate behavior on the Internet could lead to disciplinary action at school. Parents are also required to sign the document.
The Chicago Tribune reports that 80 percent of the district's 3,200 students participate in at least one extracurricular activity. A school official said the changes were part of an awareness campaign.
"By adding the blog sites [to the student codes of conduct], we wanted to raise discussions on the issue," Associate Supt. Prentiss Lea told the Tribune. "We have taken the first steps to starting that conversation."
The new code of conduct includes language stating that "maintaining or being identified on a blog site which depicts illegal or inappropriate behavior will be considered a violation of this code."
Students won't get a break for the summer, either. Lea said disciplinary action next year will apply to any blogospheric activity occurring over the summer. The school will not be monitoring social networks or blog sites, but will rely on tips from students, parents, or other narcs in the community.
The article related that only one parent at the meeting protested the school board's plan, saying that monitoring children's online behavior was the job of the parent and that the new policy would be an invasion of privacy.
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