A challenge and a legal decision

| March 9, 2012 | 0 Comments

Staying in the USA, Education Secretary Arne Duncan has challenged the nation’s schools to transform totally to a digital textbook system by 2017. The call came just days after Apple Inc. announced it would start to sell electronic versions of a few standard high-school books for use on its iPad tablet.

“Do we want kids walking around with 50-pound backpacks and every book in those backpacks costing 50, 60, 70 dollars and many of them being out of date?” asked Duncan.

And finally, the US Supreme Court recently made a landmark decision not to take up cases involving online attacks by students on school officials.

The court debated the issue because of a growing number of cases brought to its attention. In 2005 in Philadelphia, for example, a student said online that his Principal smoked marijuana and stored alcohol in his desk drawers. The student was suspended by the school, but the suspension was overturned by a District Judge and upheld by the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

Elsewhere in the same state, a Grade 8 pupil used her Principal’s photograph to create a fake profile on MySpace, describing him as a paedophile and mentioning a sex act. The girl was suspended for 10 days but the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals said she could pursue damages and legal costs.

In all instances, the Supreme Court predicated its decisions to side with the students on a 1969 precedent which held that student expression may not be suppressed, unless school officials could prove that it would “materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school”.

Category: Autumn 2012

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