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Mar 14, 2012 8:06 PM by Matt Stafford

Are schools asking for your child's Facebook password?

Prospective employers asking for Facebook passwords; last week, we looked into that trend. Many viewers were against it.

How about your child's school asking for their Facebook password? It's happened at a school in Minnesota. It was at Minnewaska Area Middle School, in the Minnewaska School District. The situation began with a 12-year-old student's Facebook post about a hall monitor who she said she hated them because they were mean to her

The student got in trouble for it.

Later, the same student got in trouble again. According to a complaint filed in federal court, school administrators say the girl was talking with another student about sex on her Facebook page. The complaint says a school counselor and a deputy from the local sheriff's office demanded the student's Facebook and email passwords. Then they went through the 12-year-old's accounts in front of her.

The American Civil Liberties Union is taking the 12-year-old's side; citing violations to the student's first amendment (speech) and fourth amendment (search and seizure) U.S. constitutional rights.

When News 5 asked college students about their feelings on giving up their Facebook password to potential employers, they said no way. The same goes for people who have been looking for work for several months.

"Id still say no," one person at the Pikes Peak Workforce Center told News 5.

"That's my personal business and my life," said another lady.

Parents on the News 5 Facebook wall sound pretty opposed to schools even asking for their child's passwords.

News 5 spoke with Districts 11 and 20 in Colorado Springs and D-60 in Pueblo; they all say they don't have specific rules related to asking for a student's passwords, but they all say they most likely wouldn't ask for them. Representatives for the districts say the only possibility is if law enforcement was asking for help with an investigation, but even then the school districts say they'd leave it up to the officers to handle.

A local attorney told us it was questionable for employers to ask potential employees for their passwords, but they say it's even more problematic for public school districts. They say it's a privacy issue and law enforcement should need a warrant to force that type of access.

The ACLU has a handbook for students on privacy rights for social networking sites. You can a copy by clicking here.

If you want to join in the conversation on schools asking for student's passwords, click here.

 

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