Glendale School District Tracks Students’ Social Media Profiles

Glendale parents, do you know what your child is doing on social media? Even if you don’t know, Glendale’s Unified School District will know. The district just hired an outside company to monitor their student’s social media posts.

The company hired will analyze the students’ posts to look for cyberbullying, crime, drug-use, and other suicidal thoughts. The district’s intention is to intervene and prevent the students from engaging in illegal and harmful acts. The program was piloted last year after a student committed suicide due to being cyberbullied on social media. Because of the program, the district was able to intervene with a suicidal student. They were able to contact the student and the student’s family and get them the help they needed.

The school district is monitoring their high school and middle school students in the name of safety, but some parents and students think that it is a violation of their privacy. However, anything that is posted on a social media site is already made public, therefore students waive the rights to privacy when they post something for the world to see. Also, the program used tracks social media habits and monitors for keywords. Therefore, it sounds as if a student’s social media profile will only be searched if something discriminating turns up through a keyword search.

Since the program is still in its early stages, it is hard to tell if it will be effective. Nothing is said about students who use code words for illegal acts to miss the keyword search or those who make fake profiles to avoid being tracked. Overall, the idea sounds noble, but only time will tell if it is worth the extra money and hassle.

As a Glendale parent, student, or resident what do you think? We would love to hear your thoughts on this very important matter.


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Image: Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Craig R. Kirkby