The program combs the Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts of students, both when they are in class and off campus.
“It monitors key words that could present threats, for example ‘gun’ or ‘attack’ or ‘kill’ or words of that nature,” said Bill Sublette, chairman of Florida’s Orange County School Board. In addition to the Florida district, schools in Glendale, California are also using a similar monitoring program.
Schools say the program’s goal is to prevent school violence. They point to recent school shootings in which the teenage gunman involved had posted threats on social media shortly before they engaged in the violent acts.
“Because social media can be the source of bullying, school threats or masked cries for help, we believe it is appropriate to monitor public sites where anybody can view comments,” the Orange County School Board said in a statement.
But parents say such monitoring program are a major violation of privacy.
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