Monday, December 8, 2008

I know students don't have the same rights as adults, but come on!

Today the seniors at Raceland-Worthington High School (including me) were given a "Senior To-Do List." On this list are four things:

1. Have the following pieces on Google Documents by 12-11-08:

A. Personal Expressive (or alternate literary piece)
B. Transactive Analytical (should already be there)
C. Transactive Piece from a Content Area class other than English.

2. Check off these assignments:

___ A. Personal Expressive (or alternate literary piece)
___ B. Transactive Analytical
___ C. Transactive from a Content Area other than English.

3. Email your Google Document username and password to [teacher's email address placed here].

4. Write username and password below:

Username: _______________
Password: _______________

Yes, you read that correctly. We have to give the usernames and passwords to our Google Accounts to our English teacher, Mrs. Blair. In writing. On paper.

The exact reason for this is, at the moment, unknown, since through Google Documents we can share our pieces with her and she can view them from there, without having to access our personal accounts. And you may or may not know that these Google Accounts include our Gmail accounts, which for many people, are their primary email accounts, used to receive everything from newsletters to college and scholarship info to bank statements.

Now, for some people, that may not be too much of a problem, since a lot of us created a Google Account simply for the use of posting English pieces online and participating in group discussions. But many of us (myself included) had a Google Account before the beginning of this year (since 2005 for me), and have been using it for the work in English we have done thus far, since we were told we could use an existing account.

Mrs. Blair has said that it is not an option to create a new Google Account and give her that password and username, because she would have to change our contact info, and if we do not want to give her access to our personal information, we need to make a new account and make that one our personal one, which would require changing information on every site or organization from which we currently receive information which, for me at least, is not an option.

I could somewhat understand this issue if we were using email accounts set up on a school server or provided for us by the school district, but we aren't. We are being required to give a teacher access to our personal accounts, and I don't believe it's right or legal. And it's not that I distrust Mrs. Blair, or that I think she's going to hack into my account and steal credit card information or anything like that. It's the concept of a teacher requiring me to allow her access to my personal email address. Not to mention the fact that we have to physically write down our information on a sheet of paper that will probably be kept in an easy-to-reach area that every student at RWHS will have access to.

It's not my intention at all to incite any trouble. However, I don't feel that I can let this issue pass quietly, and something is more likely to be done to remedy the situation if more people are aware of what's going on.

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