You're upset about armed guards in schools?

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For those of you who haven't been paying any attention to the news lately (and why should you? it's the holidays.) the president of the National Rifle Association gave a press conference yesterday about what he thought of the recent shootings in Sandy Hook. Predictably, half the Internet blew its buffers and the petitions and sarcastic remarks are flying like paper airplanes when the teacher's back is turned. Once, common sense was the first casualty of tragedy; in recent years common sense ran out of regenerations and was given a viking funeral (video contains spoilers for new season number six …

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An interesting development in the Lower Marion School District surveillance case.

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For a couple of months now I've been following the Lower Marion High School laptop surveillance case in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If the story's been dropped from your cache for whatever reason, earlier this year it was discovered that a school district in the vicinity of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was using the laptops it issued to students to spy on them while they were off-campus. As it turned out some of the staff had been remotely activating the built-in webcams and using them to watch students. A cache of images taken through the webcams was found on some of their servers, some …

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Lower Marion School District's stash of surveillance photos found.

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The investigation into employees of the Lower Marion School District continues apace, and some highly disturbing things have been discovered. Evidence has been found that the admins employed by the district were using the surveillance software on for more than just tracking missing laptops. It seems that the software was used to keep tabs on students who hadn't returned their laptops at year's end or whose parents hadn't paid the insurance fee, uses of the surveillance software which are questionable at best. Also, and this is the bit that made the skin on the backs of my hands crawl, several …

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Lower Merion quietly places two of their IT staff on leave.

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I've been following the surreptitious webcam surveillance saga of Lower Merion School District since the story first broke in February, and some interesting news has come out of the Philadelphia area. It seems that two people on the school's IT staff have quietly been placed on paid leave as a result of the investigation. The school district is still clinging to their story that the webcams were remotely operated to aid in recovering stolen laptops, nevermind the fact that the camera can't actually see anything if the lid is closed. Plus, it's remotely possible at best to identify the location …

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More from the Lower Merion School District.

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A couple of days ago word hit the newswires that a high school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania had been using the laptops issued to its students to spy on them. Word's gotten around (no surprise there), and the BBC was the first to throw the 'potentially undressed minors' flag (and rightly so, in this case). The district has claimed that the spycam feature of the monitoring software was only for the purpose of recovering lost or stolen laptops and says that they deactivated the software remotely. If you've been paying attention to this story I don't have to tell you that …

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High school issues laptops, uses them to spy on students.

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An article hit Boing Boing today that raised the hackles on the back of my neck as I read it. The Lower Merion School District just outside of Philadelphia received a grant a couple of years back for laptop computers to issue to its students to use as part of their coursework. In November of last year, the parents of student Blake Robbins received a disciplinary notice pertaining to something unspecified (referred to as "improper behavior") in the affidavit. The disciplinary notice was accompanied by a photograph of Blake while he was at home. The laptops issued by Lower Merion …

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The hot new fashion accessory for the new school year: Bulletproof backpacks?

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I first saw this on CNN last Saturday while waiting at the car dealership while the TARDIS was undergoing its yearly inspection: A company called MJ Safety Solutions is hawking bulletproof backpacks for kids and travelers to protect them in the event that someone draws a firearm and starts shooting at people. The backpacks weigh about 1.25 pounds and are meant to either stop the wearer from being shot in the back, or they can be used to provide a measure of protection to the head and torso if the backpack is removed and used as a shield. A …

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The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Cody Webb, age fifteen, was arrested last month for making a bomb threat to his school's information line. He spent twelve days in juvenile detention for the act. There's just one problem: He didn't call in a bomb threat. As authorities figured out later, the school's automatic message recording system automatically changed its internal clock to take into account Daylight Savings Time. Therefore, the timestamps of all calls received after the changeover were one hour off from those before the changeover. When they pulled the call records, they accidentally went too far back and pulled Cody's telephone call from the …

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Convicted pedophile infiltrates junior high school.. as a student.

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The town of El Mirage, Arizona is in a state of shock right now because it was discovered that 12-year old Casey Price, a shy and relatively quiet seventh grade student was actually 29-year old Neil Rodreick III, a convicted sex offender and child molester posing as a twelve-year old. More's the point, his three male 'relatives' were also sex offenders who'd crept into the area. Rodreick used cosmetics and a shaving regemin to enhance his slight build and short stature to appear to be a preteen kid in the local school system. As far as they know, none of …

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