Can I access my personal site from a school computer?
Jon* attended middle school in Ohio. On his own time and computer he created a website describing the exploits of his friends who were skate boarders. Although the language was juvenile and crude, the court found nothing obscene about the site. It also included a section called “Losers” with pictures of three kids from Jon’s school. Insulting statements were written under each picture.
While in the computer lab at school, Jon accessed his web site. This was a violation of the school’s computer policy and Jon was suspended for four days. He was later expelled for six months and he challenged this discipline in court.
The court recognized certain rights of both parties and sent the case back to be resolved following its instructions. The court questioned the reasonableness of the expulsion under the Tinker test [disruption] and questioned the school’s motivation for this action, but also found the school’s code of conduct reasonable. No further reports on the outcome of Jon’s case have been made public.
Most schools have what are called AUPS, that is, an Acceptable Use Policy. At the beginning of each school year, students and parents are made aware of these policies covering computers, cell phones and other e-devices on campus. Check the Student Handbook for your school’s policy.
*Coy v. Board of Education of North Canton City Schools, 205 F.Supp.2d 791 (2002).