Target: Glendale Unified School District Superintendent, Richard Sheehan
Goal: Put an end to the cyberstalking of students in the Glendale Unified School District.
In Los Angeles, California, cyber-bullying has apparently become such a problem that student’s right to free speech and privacy outside of school is being violated. The Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) has been employing the monitoring firm, Geo Listening, for the past year to snoop on the students social media activity. While the school district and monitoring company both confirm that zero account hacking is involved, and all the information they watch is already made public by the students, the school district is diminishing the students separation from personal life and school.
The Glendale Unified School District has spent $40, 500 to employ the Geo Listening firm. The school district’s goal is to decrease the amount of online-bullying, drug use, and help monitor students mental health, in light of two teenage suicides that were reported last year. The answers to these problems don’t involve online snooping but rather teaching students to report excessive threats to school officials and the appropriate authorities. Students need to learn it isn’t a bad thing to seek help if they begin to feel troubled, and there should always be plenty of funding for school provided therapists. Social media acts like an online lunchroom for students. It’s a place where their self-expressions can be more candid, without fear of being punished.
The dangers involved in cyber-bullying are very real. However, once the word was out that the students were being spied on, many GUSD students agreed this spending was a waste of school funding. Several students have gone on record saying their campus lacks soap in bathrooms, quality food, classroom set textbooks, and noted that many teachers require the students to print out their own worksheets. It seems the Glendale Unified School District is unnecessarily acting as ‘Big Brother,’ especially in light of recent NSA announcements.
By signing the petition below, you will help put an end to the Glendale Unified School District’s monitoring program. School funds are better suited for school supplies, better school equipment, and more real world experiences for students.
Dear Mr. Sheehan,
I understand that student safety is a huge priority for your schools, and in this age, cyber-bullying has become a major problem. However, in your preferred methods at tackling this problem, student’s rights are being violated. The hiring of the Geo Listening firm to track and monitor your students social media profiles is a huge violation to their freedom of speech and separation between school and their personal lives. Social media serves as an online lunchroom of sorts. It offers students a place to vent and express themselves to their friends and family, without any attachment to the school itself. Just because certain troubled students feel it is necessary to relentlessly cyber-bully other students, doesn’t mean every student’s social media information should be monitored.
It has been reported from several sources that your Glendale Unified School District has spent $40, 500 worth of education funding to employ Geo Listening. This kind of money most likely could be have been used in a much better way. An alternative to online monitoring would be to teach students to quickly report excessive online harassment, threats, evidence of violence to other students or to oneself. These days, teenagers need to learn it is alright to seek help if they feel troubled or disturbed, and there should always be plenty of funding for quality, school-provided therapists and psychologists. In order for students to act more mature, they need to be treated more maturely. Please, I’m writing you today to urge you to stop the online monitoring of your students.
[Your Name Here]
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