Reading, UK – January, 2012 A series of recent news articles clearly emphasise the urgent requirement for all education establishments both to deploy technology to protect employees and students from inappropriate images and also provide a clear policy on usage of IT resources. In the case of the State of Wisconsin legislation is being passed to enable this approach.
In the case of the professor in Lubbock Texas (1)”Tech professor under investigation for porn”the actions of the teacher at the centre of the allegations led to his retirement. The teacher had been a 30 year veteran and a valuable member of the teaching staff and is now the subject of an ongoing police investigation. It is alleged that he used the “state owned” department email system to send and receive inappropriate images.
An important question which is raised by this case is ‘did the teacher know what he was doing breached policy or did he not care? ‘ The article would suggest that there may not have been a clear and enforceable policy covering inappropriate computer usage. Surely if the professor had full prior knowledge of the ability of the establishment to monitor such activity and the inherent consequences it is unlikely he would have used the department’s resources. In that outcome the college would have avoided bad publicity and more importantly would not have lost the services of a valuable and long-standing member of the teaching staff.
In another article a West Michigan band instructor was accused of exchanging explicit pictures and texts with pupils “Police arrest drumline instructor for inappropriate relationships with students” (2). The article details the use of a computer or other devices to send the offensive material and the instructor has since been placed on leave and not permitted on school property or to have contact with students and staff. He is also the subject of an ongoing police investigation with a call for other students who may have received inappropriate content to come forward. If there had been technology and a clearly defined policy in place it may not have prevented this behaviour but it would have been highlighted very early on and enabled consultation to take place and it to cease at an earlier stage.
Interestingly in light of the two recent cases above and a series of other issues, legislators appear to be responding. An article in The Huffington Post headlined “Wisconsin Bill Makes Watching Porn Reason to Revoke Teacher’s License” (3) details how Wisconsin’s state assembly have passed a bill aimed specifically at the issue of pornography in education. The Bill, passed through the Senate last month, allows a further provision under which a teacher’s licence can be revoked. The article states”Currently, a law exists that permits license revocation for incompetency or immoral conduct, defined as behavior that endangers the health, safety, welfare or education of a student. The new provision would add to “immoral conduct” the intentional use of school equipment to “download, view or distribute pornographic material in violation of the educational agency’s policy.”
In line with the advice provided by Image Analyzer on this issue, Republican state Rep. Steve Kestell said in a statement after the Senate passed the bill last month”Parents have every reason to expect their child’s school building will be free from pornography, and school leaders have a responsibility to keep our schools safe,”and added”This legislation will make it easier for local school leaders to provide a safe environment.”
There is clearly a movement to ensure a safe working environment for all students and Image Analyzer is pleased to be leading the way in provision of technology to ensure this is the case for all students across the globe.