In Illinois, misbehaving students may be required to give teachers their Facebook passwords


Wouldn’t this be against the terms of service on those sites?


I will be very curious to see how this ends up. Please keep us posted Xeni!

I don’t understand why the password has to be given to a teacher? If it’s a criminal matter, isn’t it for the police to subpoena the required things from Facebook? (which we know never truly deletes anything)


Maybe I’ve been out of school for too long, but I don’t recall the fact that a state law can override the 4th and 5th Amendments of the Constitution.


So now kids will just use burner accounts to harass someone, leaving their actual accounts bully-free to give them plausible deniability. They know how this stuff works better than a stodgy old school board.


Bingo. The school is not a law enforcement agency - they have exactly zero authority to do this on their own.

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we have the right to ask for those passwords

And my child has the right to tell you to shove it up your ass.


When has a TOS ever been used for good?

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I don’t imagine any kid in their right mind would be able to remember a password when questioned by a school official. Those passwords can be complicated, you know, and may even include numbers and special characters.


I hope to train my son (not yet in the talking/walking age) to not know passwords. I don’t know most of my passwords these days. Each service I use now has a generated password as long as the service will allow which is managed by an encrypted password manager.
I couldn’t give you, or law enforcement my password from memory if I wanted to. That’s not saying it isn’t possible to give it to them, just not from memory or easily.
This gives me some level of protection if one service is lax and is compromised, no reused passwords. Also allows some level of indirection to “tell us your password!”

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I’d be surprised if kids weren’t already doing this. I can’t think of anything worse for a kid being bullied than not knowing who the bully is, and I imagine the psychological torment would add a level of sadism some bullies would find very appealing.

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I wonder if the school principals, aka the wannabe top bullies, consider that the child may actually say no, and refuse to divulge the password to the authority.

This may be a pretty important civic lesson. Not everything you learn in school is in the textbooks.


Go on! Pull the other one!


The new law does not require what this one elementary school near St. Louis is doing. But students do not have the same rights that adults do (not even the same constitutional rights), so this can get ugly in a whole bunch of ways.

In reading the law, I notice the usual exception:

“Each school district and non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school shall create and maintain a policy on bullying, which policy must be filed with the State Board of Education.”

Several times that phrase is used. All schools, public or private, EXCEPT for religious schools. They’re exempt from a significant number of laws, this being only the latest example.


The Reagan defense!

“Well, I might have done that, I suppose, but I’ve forgotten now. Maybe I’ll remember later… when you’re not around… or maybe not. I sure wish I could help you.”

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Seems legit. Some religions are based on bullying, aren’t they? And you better not complain about that, or you’ll go to hell and burn forever!.

Now I want to see the funniest anti-bullying policy submitted by an anti-authoritarian hippy school.


If you look at the actual law, and this is noted in the Vice article, the law does not require that students give up their passwords. It comes nowhere near it, only requiring schools to have a cyberbullying policy. However, some schools are interpreting it that way, and probably because the Illinois Principals Association has a model letter on their website with almost the exact wording used in the Triad letter. Again, this is all noted in the Vice article.

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If schools decide that their anti-bullying policies dictate making people act against their social media TOS, they are on shaky ground. Every online site you sign into specifies not to share your login credentials.

I suppose that if there’s any controversy about the principal, they’ll do the same thing themselves and let the town log in as them…

Just because you’re investigating something doesn’t give you the right.

You could investigate where my son gets all of his money, but you can’t look at his bank account.

Since the students are minors, don’t those accounts legally fall under the jurisdiction of the parents? As possessions, or something?