Opinion: Watching Students’ Online Lives

The new security technologies for surveying students online could be effective strategies to prevent school shootings or any other activities that could lead the students into a lot of trouble. While this could help, there are also some negative aspects, such as invading students’ privacy. 

School surveillance illustration
Watching student online lives

How does the school district handle this matter without invading student privacy? Or does the student have the right to privacy online? Would this surveillance truly potentially reduce shootings or any other complicated issues at school? Is investing in this technology worth it? There are many questions to ponder about this new security technology.


According to a Florida school district in Miami Dade, “For many students, this new school year will mean more reasons to watch what they do or say online.” Watching what they do is seen by some as a violation of privacy. Even though constitutional rights look different inside of schools, there are many concerns that come along with the right to privacy. 


The company that uses this new technology says that they are saving lives. Some Florida schools are already taking steps forward to ensure student safety.  They have installed GPS tracking on every school bus. There is an app through which the public can report threat.


On August 1, Florida launched data repository called the “Florida Schools safety Portal.” It is stated that it could help to collect information from school discipline record, law enforcement and mental health and child welfare systems and display it all in one place, and automatically scans of social media posts for potential threats.


While the company says that they are saving lives, there is not proof that this new technology is going to make changes to ensure students’ safety. There are some people who go against this technology because of the possible implication that may follow.Privacy hawks and advocates for vulnerable students, such as those with disabilities, worry that these new surveillance technologies could threaten students’ privacy and have far-reaching implications.” 


The law enforcement also sees this new technologies to surveillance the student is effective to protect other students as well, but considering the right to privacy is also needed. On the other hand some sees that it burdens school and law enforcement resources, even as it infringes on civil liberties and free speech. “Late one night last spring, after an event, David Cittadino got an alert that someone might want to hurt his students. Cittadino is the superintendent of schools in Old Bridge, N.J. Safety has been an increasing concern in this suburban township.” After Cittadino contacted police, they showed up at the person and determined that it was not a serious treat. 


It is an effective way for schools nationwide to collaborate with law enforcement to put effort to avoid tragedies that are familiar to many. “They’re investing in new security technologies that scan social media posts, school assignments and even student emails for potential threats.” It is supportive strategies for  Districts and law enforcement to utilize by minimizing problems students face that could lead to danger.


Even though different School Districts mentions that they are utilizing a new technology, it is crucial to confirm that the privacy of students is not invaded. There are also not proof of  how this is making effects. As mentioned in the article “And technology companies, having taken millions of dollars from investors, are offering solutions for that anxiety. But it’s not clear that students are any safer as a result.” The primary thing to ponder about is whether a student has privacy not to be taken away and ensure the safety for all the students.  The second reason is to consider whether this new security technology will work for the intention of reducing shootings or ensuring safety to all the students.  


More Stories from The Bobcat Times

Coming to the US and the struggle as an ESL student

To Prevent School Shootings, Districts Are Surveilling Students’ Online Lives

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