Student Safety Cited In L.A.-Area School District’s Hiring Of Social Media Watchdog

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Citing the importance of kids’ safety, the Glendale, California Unified School District has hired a third-party social media monitoring service to begin combing through the online postings of 13,000 high school students who attend eight middle and high schools.

According to CBS Los Angeles, the district has hired local company Geo Listening, a self-described “social network monitoring service,” to raise the alarm whenever it comes across postings that, by its own metrics, might indicate a student is heading toward trouble.

The company has agreed to turn over any telltale information to school administrators. It earns $40,500 a year through its agreement with the school district.

“The whole purpose is student safety,” said Superintendent Richard Sheehan. “Basically, it just monitors for keywords where, if a student is considering harming themselves; harming someone else.”

According to Sheehan, during the program’s test period last year, school officials were alerted to a possible student suicide attempt and were able to avert it.

A parent and student quoted in the news report each said they didn’t mind the scrutiny or the new intrusion on the student’s privacy – even if kids’ inner thoughts are now open to a layer of meaning-laden interpretation most carefree teenagers never consider.

Geo Listening CEO Chris Frydrych said his company monitors only public social media postings, and that the service is effective in helping to prevent bullying, self-abuse, drug abuse, vandalism and truancy.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • independent thinker

    This may start innocently enough but if it continues (and there is no reason to think it wont) it will not be long before a student who expresses an anti-homosexual sentiment is called in for “counseling”. It will not be long before a student who expresses even the mildest dislike of islam is called in for “counseling”. It will not be long before a student who expresses any kind of pro-gun or pro-shooting sentiment is called in for extensive “counseling”.

    • BALONEY TONEY MAHONEY

      BINGO!!! Very Preceptive of you.

      • billybob

        Remember the majority of this nations population has given away their rights to think. They are to busy playing games on the IPhones and internet. They think that being stupid is a virtue.

        • Mad Eup

          first the monitoring…..then the sacrificing of virgins. time to switch to home school

  • Nadzieja Batki

    Looks like the Leftist propaganda isn’t taking effect on the student minds as the Leftists hoped for. Every time they plug up a hole a new one breaks open so Liberty and Individualism are still alive.

  • Phillipe Violette

    So they are going to monitor self abuse? I thought they were teaching self abuse to fourth graders in California.

  • Robert Messmer

    Call me old fashioned but I still don’t get this made up thing about cyber-bullying. As I grew up from time to time I came to the notice of bullys, real bullys as there were no computers back then. They were in your face either attacking you verbally or physically. Verbally never bothered me since I was always able to run circles around them with logic. Physically you either had to run or stand your ground. I was never built for running and I normally didn’t do well in the fight but eventually they got tired of picking on me cause I wouldn’t run. I just stayed there and insulted their lack of intelligence in ways they couldn’t answer. Now we have cyber-bullying where person A goes online and says something nasty about person B. Unlike in the school yard where they are breathing in your face, person B now has to log in, locate where the nasty thing is written, read it and according to news reports run off and commit suicide. Here’s an idea if you don’t want to be cyber-bullied don’t go read their comment. Problem solved!

    • ibn insha

      Agree with you. Now a days children are being told, by parents and government, that they are very delicate and emotional and must be protected from every pinprick. Instead of teaching them to stand up for their rights and against anything wrong they are told to run to mommy.

  • Jim S.

    Yeah, what’s next? Are they going to start protecting children from online predators?