School district near Chicago to monitor students' blogs

By The Associated Press
05.23.06

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. — High school students are going to be held accountable for what they post on blogs and on social-networking Web sites such as MySpace.com.

The board of Community High School District 128 voted unanimously yesterday to require that all students participating in extracurricular activities sign a pledge agreeing that evidence of "illegal or inappropriate" behavior posted on the Internet could be grounds for disciplinary action.

The rule will take effect at the start of the next school year, officials said.

District officials won't regularly search students' sites, but will monitor them if they get a worrisome tip from another student, a parent or a community member.

Mary Greenberg of Lake Bluff, who has a son at Libertyville High School, argued that the district was overstepping its bounds.

"I don't think they need to police what students are doing online," she said. "That's my job."

Associate Superintendent Prentiss Lea rebuffed that criticism.

"The concept that searching a blog site is an invasion of privacy is almost an oxymoron," he said. "It is called the World Wide Web."

The social networking Web site MySpace.com, which is owned by New York-based media conglomerate News Corp., allows its nearly 80 million users to post pictures and personal information while communicating with others.

District 128, in Lake County north of Chicago, has some 3,200 students, about 80% of whom participate in extracurricular activities, according to school officials.