There are more eyes on students today than just a teacher’s watchful gaze. Thousands of school districts use monitoring software that can track students’ online searches, scan their emails, and in some cases, send alerts of perceived threats to law enforcement. A recent investigation by The Dallas Morning News revealed that colleges have been using an AI social-media-monitoring tool to surveil student protesters.
While technology companies claim to be able to prevent violence, there’s little proof that surveillance can actually protect students. Meanwhile, monitoring software has been used to reveal students’ sexuality without their consent. Low-income, Black, and Hispanic students are also disproportionately exposed to surveillance and discipline.
If your school (or your child’s school) uses monitoring software, there are a couple of steps you can take to protect your privacy—and start a conversation with your school.
Ask Your School These Questions
It’s important first to understand why your school is using monitoring software in the first place. In the US, schools are required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act to have some kind of web filtering in place to prevent students from accessing obscene or harmful material online. Schools are not required to implement sophisticated technologies
Wired published an article of advice for students about how to resist surveillance by their schools.
The advice it gives is valid as far as it goes, but it falls far short of what students need to know to resist all the threats.
The article poses the question:
How is student data secured?
This question invites confusion. If someone claims to keep data about you “secure,” what does that mean? Secure from whom? The school’s computers are unlikely to keep anyone secure from snooping EdTech companies that operate with the school’s cooperation.
“Using your own personal device” usually means using a snoop-phone. It may protect you from snooping by the school and by EdTech companies, provided you never use it to visit a site that has anything to do with the school or an EdTech company and never do unencrypted communication . But the device was made by a computer company—usually Apple or Google—that also made the operating system in it. That system always contains nonfree software that snoops on you plenty. Most apps for that snoop-phone are nonfree, and they
Six-year-old Phyllis Webstand wore an orange shirt to her first day of school. It was shiny, she remembers, and laced up the front—more importantly, it was a gift from her granny.
At the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in Williams Lake, British Columbia, it was taken from her, as were all the personal belongings she had known and loved. None were ever returned. That year, 1973, Webstand became one of hundreds of thousands of Indigenous children in Canada and the US to suffer at state-run and religious boarding schools designed to assimilate by force. In the words of Richard Henry Pratt, the first superintendent of the infamous Carlisle Indian School, it was possible to “kill the Indian in him, and save the man,” often by coercive conversion to Christianity and the forbidding of Native language. Physical and sexual abuse were common.
In the United States, such schools operated for 150 years, the last closing in 1969. They have had a lasting impact on Native communities, from cultural and linguistic loss to intergenerational trauma. Children of people who attended the “residential schools” are more likely to have poor health outcomes, experience depression, and encounter abuse. Their story isn’t widely taught in schools. With “critical race theory” serving as grounds to ban works from Maus to a picture book by Ruby Bridges, the fight to change that may
On his historic trip across Canada, Pope Francis is apologizing for the abuse of Indigenous children who were removed from their homes and sent to church-run residential schools, where they faced psychological, physical and sexual abuse. Francis made the apology in Maskwacis, Alberta, the site of a former residential school.
The pope’s apology comes seven years after Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission accused the Catholic Church-run residential schools of taking part in a form of “cultural genocide.” The commission determined more than 4,000 Indigenous children died from neglect or abuse in residential schools across Canada. Unmarked graves are still being found. The first residential schools opened in 1883; the last one closed in 1998. During that time, over 150,000 Indigenous children were sent away to rid them of their Native cultures and languages and integrate them into mainstream Canadian society.
it was pretty much what I feared, that it would be one of those very carefully worded apologies where the church itself, the organization, doesn’t take responsibility for their policies and practices, the cover-ups, knowing that there were sex offenders all over the world, not dealing with the sex offenders, protecting them, and that, in fact, they themselves, the church itself, was the one responsible for all of the crimes that were committed by their Christian members because they issued the papal
Outraged residents of Uvalde, Texas, confronted members of the city’s school board Monday, nearly two months after an 18-year-old [white] gunman shot dead 19 fourth graders and their two teachers at Robb Elementary School. Speakers at the meeting included 17-year-old Jazmin Cazares. Her 9-year-old sister Jackie died in the shooting.
JAZMIN CAZARES: What are you guys going to do to make sure I don’t have to watch my friends die? What are you going to do to make sure I don’t have to wait 77 minutes, bleeding out on my classroom floor, just like my little sister did? I know there’s nothing you can do to bring my sister back, but maybe, just maybe, if you do something to change this, you can prevent the next family from losing their child.
AMY GOODMAN: The school board’s meeting came a day after a Texas House panel released a damning report on the response of local, state, federal law enforcement to the school massacre. The report found officers had committed, quote, “systemic failures and egregiously poor decision making.” They found that nearly 400 officers — 400 — rushed to the school, but it took them more than an hour to confront the gunman. Investigators found officers, quote, “failed to prioritize saving innocent lives over their own safety.” The report also revealed the gunman had earned the nickname “school shooter” in the months before he attacked the elementary school. Daniel Myers, a pastor in Uvalde, also addressed the school board Monday.
On Tuesday, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFA) released “Motherhood in Childhood: The Untold Story”, a report showing that nearly a third of all women in developing countries begin childbearing at age 19 and younger. While total fertility across the globe has fallen, the UNFPA report shows that women who began childbearing in adolescence had almost five births by the time they reached age 40 between 2015 and 2019. Complications from giving birth are a leading cause of death and injury for adolescent girls. But being an adolescent mother can also lead to other grave violations of their human rights and serious social consequences, including child marriage, intimate-partner violence and mental health issues. The youngest child mothers face the highest risks.
Pope Francis is traveling to Canada this week to apologize to Indigenous communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the country’s notorious residential school system, where thousands of Indigenous children died, and countless others were sexually and physically abused.
The visit comes after years of pleas from Indigenous leaders and leading politicians for a Vatican apology about the schools, which were designed to erase Indigenous culture and language by forcibly separating children from their families to assimilate them into Western ways.
And some Indigenous leaders say it will fill in one of the biggest remaining pieces in Canada’s efforts at reconciliation over a brutal education system that a national commission declared to be a form of “cultural genocide.”
“Many of us have had thoughts about the Catholic Church for a long time and this particular moment may sweep aside these doubts that have been there,” said Phil Fontaine, the
The truth is, there have been many apologies issued by many popes.
But as Pope Francis’s visit to Canada begins this weekend, the question to be asked is whether these men have taken substantive actions to end the abuse in which the church they lead has been complicit.
The Catholic Church and its officials have directed, authorized, counselled and/or were complicit in the horrific physical and sexual abuse of children; subjugation, vilification and violence against women; and the deaths of millions of Indigenous peoples in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South America and the African continent. According to recent inquiries, that abuse has continued into the present.
For some First Nation, Inuit and Métis survivors, this papal visit to Canada that begins this weekend in Alberta is an important part of their healing journey. For others, the Pope is the last person they want on their territories, as he represents a religious organization that has caused much misery around the world.
In 2017, Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse found that from 1950 into the 1980s, 4,445 victims were sexually abused in a Catholic
Air pollution is not just a problem for lungs. Increasingly, research suggests air pollution can influence childhood behavioral problems and even IQ. A new study led by the University of Washington has added evidence showing that both prenatal and postnatal exposure to air pollution can harm kids.
The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found that children whose mothers experienced higher nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exposure during pregnancy, particularly in the first and second trimester, were more likely to have behavioral problems.
Researchers also reported that higher exposures to small-particle air pollution (PM2.5) when children were 2 to 4 years old was associated with poorer child behavioral functioning and cognitive performance.