Can Schools Spy On Students With School Laptops?

New York employment law attorney ad

Third parties are loaning students school laptops that they can take home and use. Sounds like a great idea in theory, but some schools are using these laptops to spy on students.

According to the ACLU, schools in Rhode Island that participate in this program are using these school laptops to invade students' privacy.

What does this mean for students with school laptops? Are their rights being violated?

The ACLU article states that in Rhode Island, "It...discovered that a majority of those districts allow school officials or administrators to remotely access the device -- while a student is at home, without their knowledge, and without any suspicion of misconduct."
Scary, right? But it gets worse. Most of the school districts do not have policies stating that they won't remotely access these laptops. In one case in Pennsylvania, according to the ACLU, school administrators remotely accessed a student's loaner laptop's webcamera.
This means that school officials can look in on students while they're in their rooms at home. Other concerns expressed by the ACLU include the administrators' abilities to access student browser histories, social media accounts, photos, and other files.
This chilling discovery may have two effects. First, it violates students' civil liberties. Second, it may curtail freedom of speech. If students suspect that their privacy has been invaded, they will want to limit what they read, write, and watch; effectively stopping them from learning more about the world out of fear.
For more information, send us a message!