(GigaOm) How far can a school go in punishing students for what they do on Facebook? One Minnesota middle school crossed the line, leading a federal judge to say it violated one girl’s basic rights.
The case involves a 12-year-old girl who used Facebook to diss the hall monitor, writing “[I hate] a Kathy person at school because [Kathy] was mean to me.” She also used the social network to talk about “naughty things” with a boy. When one of her “friends” ratted on her, the girl wrote on her Facebook wall, “I want to know who the f%$# told on me.”
Three school officials, including a counselor and a taser-wearing cop, came down hard. They interrogated her in an office and badgered the sobbing girl until she handed over her passwords. They proceeded to go through her Facebook and email accounts to find the “naughty” discussion she had with the boy.
Now, the school is in hot water. U.S. District Judge Michael Davis ruled that the school appears to have violated the girl’s free speech and privacy rights. He wrote:
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