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Myspace and Private Schools

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To what extent legally can a private school monitor or control what students place on myspace.com or similar web pages or in an email?

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That is a really good question and one that is being fought in courts across the country. Generally speaking, most schools will claim they have the right to investigate and/or punish behavior that happens at school or a school related offense. So if there are pictures of students doing something illegal or against the rules while on campus or at a function then they could definitely argue they are within their (fairly broad) rights as an educational institution. However, for behavior that has nothing to do with school (ie pictures surface of a student at a party with alcohol and they are underage) then the argument gets, at least in my mind, a lot weaker. Because the further away you get from school and the educational process or environment the harder it is to argue that the school has the authority to punish the kids. I don't believe that this has really been "settled" and the answer will probably vary widely from state to state. Also, a lot of schools don't have the time, money, or resources to keep track of myspace pages unless it becomes widely known that such pictures are floating around.

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Any school can monitor anything it wants.

As far as controlling, private schools can pretty much do what they want. I know of no legal basis that would prevent a private school from coercing the student to remove content that the school deems objectionable from the student's myspace page on threat of expulsion.

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