Blog Free Or Die?

It appears a Constitutional conflict may be on the horizon in New Jersey because a Catholic High School has decided students should remove personal information from the internet even if they used their own computers from home to publish it.

A Roman Catholic high school has ordered its students to remove personal blogs from the Internet in the name of protecting them from cyberpredators.

Students at Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta appear to be heeding a directive from the principal, the Rev. Kieran McHugh, to remove personal postings about the school or themselves from Web sites like myspace.com or xanga.com, even if they were posted from the students’ home computers.

Officials with the Diocese of Paterson say the directive is a matter of safety, not censorship. But constitutional experts say the case raises interesting questions about the intersection of free speech and voluntary agreements with private institutions.

Read full story.

Who do you side with on this issue?

4 Comments
  1. Well, if the students are using the school’s computers, then of course the school can prohibit whatever they want. But if everything’s being done from home, the students can say whatever they want. Should the school, then, be able to expel them for violating school policy? That’s a trickier question, but I’d say, “No.” I don’t think a private institution should be able to discriminate on the basis of someone’s speech outside of and entirely apart from that institution.

  2. My own suspicion is that deep down, administration concerns about the safety of students is at best peripheral. The reality is probably much closer to anger: the students are expressing themselves freely, and probably in less-than-flattering terms, about school staff and policies. As a parent, my own reaction would be, “Well, I guess my child will be transferring schools. And I expect a refund of tuition within the next seventy-two hours, idiot.”

    School principal/Rev. McHugh, you are ultimately digging yourself a very deep hole. To paraphrase Joseph Wambaugh, you should save time by just going to the local ACLU office, putting your dick on the desk, and handing them a hammer.

  3. As Chris said, if it’s being done at school, then that’s the schools issue. But if they’re doing it at home, they can do it whether the school says they can or not. Anyone from this school who stops blogging I have no respect for.

  4. Rev.McHugh always had a habit of following whatever coach (paternostro) and mrs. shope, assistant principle i believe, told him to do. He’s pretty spineless. The school is fairly small, and they truly believe they are above the law. I cannot wait until the day that changes. If it wasn’t 5am, i’d probably go into a rant about what a concentration camp that place is. I mean, students being forced to wear skirts in 30 below wind chills is not safe, now is it? how is blogging a more serious concern?

    The people there are ridiculous, but don’t blame the students. They really have no choice but to stop blogging. The school administration knows how to make your life hell if they want. My senior year was hell, not only was i seriously and unavoidably ill for several months, but i was forced to go to saturday school for missed classes, was constantly harrassed when my uniform shirt was not ironed, or i was walking too fast down the hall, simply because i refused to share my personal medical information with non-essential school officials! That, and, my parents didn’t have money, meaning, we weren’t wealthy enough to be important.

    Those of us who have since escaped (graduated) from that hell-hole remember exactly what it was like to go to school there. Something like that doesn’t fade with time. But most of us have moved on, and far away (as i did, 3000 miles away, roughly). So that’s why not much about the school is being said. And if i wasn’t so damn tired i’d go into how they’re using state and federal funds for religious textbooks and supplies (illegal, btw). So don’t blame the students for not speaking out. They would if they could, you know.

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