Pam Broviak of Illinois made headlines recently when she blogged about how officials at her daughter’s school forced the middle-schooler to show them comments on her Facebook page last fall, allegedly because another student was overheard making comments about the girl’s sexual activity.
Some things in this story are confusing, and it’s more than odd—even inappropriate, perhaps—that Borviak blogged about the incident on a public works blog she and others use in their role as public works employees (Broviak’s page on Quora lists her as a civil engineer for an Illinois municipality). She says she decided to post on the blog because her daughter’s social media privacy violation is exemplary of the current debate about government and employer intrusion into employees’ social media accounts.
Nonetheless, what’s really at issue here is student privacy vis-à-vis school officials’ self-described need to know. Broviak says her daughter has told her that other students at her Illinois middle school often feel forced into showing their social media pages to school principals and others, when questioned.
What do you think? Take our poll and cast your vote: Do school officials have a right to look at a student’s private social media sites?