The School Speech Police – thanks a lot, FASCBOOK!

From here:


The School Speech Police

Free Speech Crisis

By Joy Pullman

Facebook has unveiled a new initiative in Maryland that aims eventually to go nationwide. It has given educrats the power to follow kids into cyberspace to monitor and censor what they say on Facebook, following a new state “cyberbullying” law that makes schools responsible for what kids do online, even if off school property and outside school hours. The school speech police will have a special ability to flag for removal posts they find objectionable.

The law defines what might be objectionable as anything written using an electronic device that intends to “harass or inflict serious emotional distress” on a minor. That essentially describes kid brothers. But Facebook is letting the speech police go further than that and block posts that contain “questionable” language, whatever that means.

It means whatever the speech police take it to mean, which means Maryland’s youth are now subject to the caprices and preferences of unknown government agents. “[State Attorney General Douglas] Gansler believes he has negotiated power for school officials to go after speech that is not unlawful even under the decidedly speech-unfriendly definitions of the new Maryland law, but which they consider hurtful and lacking in ‘redeeming societal value,’” comments Cato’s Walter Olson.

Bullying has declined in recent years, according to federal data, and so has cyberbullying. But the public perception of it has increased, feeding an anti-freedom agenda and armies of publicly paid consultants. The Hill reports every school in Maryland now must appoint a person to work with Facebook to report and delete “offensive” posts.

As lawyer Scott Greenfield writes, “Facebook is happy to lock arms with Maryland’s teachers to silence speech. Welcome to the start of something big.”

(c) 2013. Used with permission.

Joy Pullmann is the editor of School Choice Weekly, a publication of the Heartland Institute.


About unclevladdi

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3 Responses to The School Speech Police – thanks a lot, FASCBOOK!

  1. unclevladdi says:

    So, this Maryland “law” purports to “make schools responsible for what kids do online, even if off school property and outside school hours.”
    Fascinating, Captain!

    This is like Richard Warman’s latest attempt to screw over the Free Dominion website (and all Internet users worldwide) by pretending that website owners are somehow responsible for the comments posted there by others.

    But responsibilities should only come with concomitant rights – no?


    And so if I post a quote from Shakespeare on your site, does that mean I’ve somehow granted you the copyright to all The Bard’s works? Of course not!

    And if I post my own material there, does that grant you an automatic copyright ownership of it? NO!

    Similarly, if I post a threat on your site, do you have a legal right to remove it (destroy evidence)?

    I’ve addressed the difference between false “hate-crime” and “hate-speech laws” and slander, and the difference between valid laws, and criminal/ liberal slander-frauds passing for “laws.”


    …and, more recently:

  2. herbork says:

    True story about a Montgomery County, MD teacher I spoke to. The second remark she made was ruinous, but, first, she began by telling me that, when the kids’ parents aren’t around, she is their parent. Not en locus parentis, but literally, with all rights and privileges.

    So I went fishing and asked her, straight-faced, if she didn’t believe that teaching children to read will be “controversial” in the a few years. Without a pause, she pipped up, “We’ve already stopped teaching them cursive.”

    It used to be said of Catholic schools that they would never educate a student well enough to question Catholicism. Government schools are preparing, not to educate a new generation, but to ration their learning — Russians talk about creating “human apes.”

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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