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Law: Schools May Demand Facebook Password

It’s a brave new world, moms and dads! Especially if you happen to live in Illinois. As of January 1, the Illinois Legislature passed what is called the Right to Privacy in the School Setting Act. In direct opposition to its name, the law enables school districts and universities within the state to request full access to the social media accounts of students who are suspected of breaching behavior codes or internal disciplinary policies that prevent or disrupt the educational process.

In other words, if your child is suspected of bullying, schools now have the right to ask that child's social media passwords.

As could be expected, students are calling foul. They claim that the law condones an invasion of privacy. This Illinois mom disagrees and I’ll tell you why. The Internet isn’t private. Nothing on the Internet, including social media accounts, should ever have the expectation of being private.

RELATED: Smart Parenting in the Age of Social Media

Done and done.

As a parent of young children, I worry about teaching our little ones that personal rights are somehow more sacred than the well-being and overall functioning of the greater society that we all are a part of. I feel like this “me over them” mentality is polluting our sense of community, and I wonder what the consequences of that might be for our children.

Pffft, but what do I know? I’m just a bleeding heart liberal who wants to raise kids who exercise empathy and compassion.

It might seem crazy that I am not too concerned with the laws or legality in question here, but to me, a mother, it seems fairly cut and dried.

With my bleeding heart in mind, and for those of you whose hearts don’t weep blood, let’s break this down. The new law is specific to social media, key word being "social." Anything posted on social media is meant to be seen, despite what privacy settings our kids think are in place. If a child is suspected of breaching school policy or harming/bullying/baiting other students with his or her actions, I see no issue with social media content being used to confirm that, just as it would in any investigation of wrongdoing.

It might seem crazy that I am not too concerned with the laws or legality in question here, but to me, a mother, it seems fairly cut and dried. If a child engages in bullying behavior and there is evidence of that behavior that exists online, especially if that child is using the Internet to further their bullying reach, well then, that child needs consequences. Period.

Children need limits and consequences.

Our tolerance towards bullying is challenged and any message those in authority send about bullying is confused and compromised when a child, be they 8 or 18, can shield their poor behavior in plain view under the guise of privacy. "I want to torment this peer in private, damn you, for all my friends to see just what a badass I am!" is, in essence, what that child’s argument is.


Children need limits and consequences. As their parents, we are doing them no service by working to protect them when they are engaging in behavior that is wrong or harmful to another, as bullying behaviors are. If a child is using social media to engage in those behaviors, we should not protect them under the guise of privacy. Wrong is wrong, and if kids put it out there, they should prepare to meet those limits and consequences they so clearly need. It seems pretty simple to this Illinois mom.

RELATED: Bullying: Parents, You're to Blame

Now it's legal for schools to request student passwords in my state? As it should be.

Image via Twenty20/edlscre

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