Lower Merion has long been the no-brainer school choice. Living in the city is a priority for me, but when schools are a factor, it is hard for Philadelphia School District’s beleaguered system to compete with what some consider to be one of the best public school districts in the country. Until now, perhaps?
Unless you have been living under a rock over the last few days, you have most likely heard about the lawsuit filed by several students of Harriton High School alleging that school administrators spied on them at home using school-provided laptop web cams. The story has made USA Today, CNN (1 and 2), The Washington Post, and of course all of the usual local news sources. According the the second CNN news story, the FBI is now involved.
I don’t really know the details of the case nor am I a legal analyst. I tend to think that this sort of thing was bound to happen somewhere, given the penchant for new technology to raise new legal and ethical issues. I wish it didn’t happen in my backyard, but it was bound to happen somewhere. I am just a parent looking for a school system for my kids. Will this scandal factor into my decision? Probably not. Unless something comes to light demonstrating otherwise, I assume that this incident is the product of one bad apple or incompetent administrator, not some systemic big brother program. Assuming that that is true, the only issue that I see as problematic is on the impact of the suit. If a big award/settlement is awarded to the accusers in this case, how does it impact the district? I assume that the school has insurance to protect itself in these types of cases, but would a large settlement be covered completely? If not, how will it impact school budgets for years to come? Unless something drastic happens like they have to cut teacher payroll by 20%, I am considering this scandal to be a non-issue.
Does this lawsuit change your attitude towards LMSD?