A new anti-cyberbullying law in Illinois effectively allows schools to force students to hand over their social media passwords if they are suspected to have been the victim of or otherwise involved in cyberbullying. While the law doesn't explicitly say schools can request passwords, it gives school officials broad scope to act even when alleged bullying occurs using "technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by a school district or school."
According to a letter to parents obtained by Motherboard, school authorities are interpreting the law to mean that they can require students or their parents to provide passwords "if school authorities have reasonable cause to believe that a student's account on a social networking website contains evidence that a student has violated a school disciplinary rule or procedure."
Some parents and students alike have expressed dismay at the law's invasion of privacy. "It's one thing for me to take my child's social media account and open it up, or for the teacher to look or even a child to pull up their social media account," said parent Sara Bozarth, "but to have to hand over your password and personal information is not acceptable to me."
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