The Lower Merion School District Board is expected to approve a new laptop policy tonight that protects students’ privacy. A high school sophomore and his parents sued the district over invasion of privacy after district officials used a webcam to snap photos of him in his home.
District spokesman Douglas Young says the proposal includes stronger language to protect student privacy.
“The main key here is that under no circumstances will a student’s laptop be monitored remotely,” he says. “And that means cameras will never be activated, there will be no screen shots, audio, video, and on-screen text captures viewed by district personnel at any time.”
The policy comes as the district faces at least two lawsuits over a practice previously unknown to parents.
The district’s internal investigation turned up 56,000 images and screen shots taken over a two year period. The report said staff were overzealous in using surveillance technology but reported no evidence of “spying” on students. Seven months after the first lawsuit was filed, a settlement between the parties has not yet been reached. Attorneys from both sides continue to bicker in court filings over legal fees.