Can You Please Come Talk to My Class…But Not Look at Anyone?

Hi Readers — Here’s a note from puzzlemeister Eric Berlin, author of The Puzzling World of Winston Breen. Read it and peep. Er…weep:

I’m an author of middle-grade novels, and as such I have a lot of interaction with elementary school kids. I’m glad to say I haven’t often come in contact with the kind of paranoia you document on your blog, but today that changed: 
I was setting up a phone call with a 4th-grade teacher and her class — they live a good thousand miles across the country from me. I let her know that I have Skype, so nobody needs incur any long-distance charges. Her response via e-mail just now: “Is there a way to Skype with us being able to see you, but you not being able to see us? Due to confidentiality and other school district guidelines, I am hoping this is a possibility.”

Truly, I am speechless. I’m just glad this won’t be an in-person school visit, because it would be really awkward wearing a blindfold all day, lest I actually lay eyes on these kids.

Hey Eric: Children are our most precious resource. If we don’t protect them from technology-assisted remote-site author visits, who will? — Lenore

79 Responses

  1. Yikes. Speechless too. I’m not sure if this is a teacher who maybe doesn’t understand what she’s talking about in terms of privacy or, and I hope not, a district with such a warped sense of the internet they have such utterly ridiculous policies? Either way, someone needs to be clued in.

    My apologies.

  2. Oh Lord. Are we now concerned about a children’s novelist using his profession as a way to get close to kiddos…even if “close” is 1000 miles away??

  3. This makes me sad. 😦


  4. The thing that especially sickens me is the constant demonization of men. I have to wonder, would the teacher have reacted with the same ridiculous paranoia if the middle-grade author had been a woman?

  5. My guess is not that it’s a teacher afraid of the male speaker, but rather a teacher afraid to post her students’ faces on the Internet. (And with good reason, probably, since it could likely get her sued and/or fired.)

    Sounds like she’s a normal woman, misinterpreting Skype.

  6. I’m not surprised at all and this teacher is probably trying to work within the gates she’s been locked in. In my district, “technically” everyone who interacts with the students must be “district-approved.” I can actually see how this might be a solution for her to bring the activity to her students within the constraints of the craziness of the bureaucracy. Don’t be so quick to blame the teacher.

    Don’t forget, we may be quite open-minded but our administrators are not necessarily there yet and may not be willing to listen. Our kids still deserve at least some creatively put together collaborative projects if at all possible.

  7. I am hoping this is a teacher very confused about a speaker seeing children (do they not have any speakers in the school building) or she didn’t convey very well that they don’t allow internet pictures of the students (and that I would 100% back).

  8. I’m just wondering why someone who is smart enough to teach kids couldn’t think of (a) not using a computer with a webcam, or (b) pointing the webcam at the wall.

  9. The teacher is likely (legitimately) concerned that the kids faces could end up plastered all over the internet.

  10. At the beginning of the school year, a giant package of info/stuff parents have to sign goes home. One item of many concerns privacy of students, whether they can be in the yearbook, any published pictures related to the school, or on content published on the internet. As it was explained to me, the concern is for some parents in custody disputes who may actually be in hiding from their spouse. Some parents are just crazy uninformed (“No child of mine is gonna be on the internet; there’s pornographers there!”) Some parents don’t even realize what they are signing, so the usage agreement should be “opt-out” rather than “opt in”, with a full explanation of how opting-out impacts their education negatively.

  11. […] mind is boggling a little bit about The YA author asked to present without actually seeing the kids they’re talking to. Although the teacher may be trying to abide by the school’s internet policy; in our school, […]

  12. I’m a teacher and can totally answer this one for you:

    It’s not about judging the visitor, it’s about specific laws (or just regulations?) school boards follow about releasing photos of kids. To take and distribute photos of kids you have to get a signed permission form.

    Now to answer the logical follow up arguments:

    -But it’s a closed circuit, low resolution image that most likely won’t even be saved!
    -True, but:
    -The teacher may not understand the nuances of the tech.
    -The Teacher gets it, but fears the wrath of a less-informed parent, principal, or higher official (it would only take one of those on a power trip to cause troubles)

    -But kids in the witness protection program or who have someone after them must be incredibly rare!
    -True, but: some parents are paranoid, some parents lose forms, some children eat forms. Getting a whole class is hard.

    -But shouldn’t common sense win over?
    -Yes, but teachers have ten million little tasks/challenges in a day, and there just isn’t enough time in the day to make everyone you work with be sane and reasonable.

  13. Perhaps if the teacher had all the children dressed in burqas it would have the desired effect?

  14. “The teacher is likely (legitimately) concerned that the kids faces could end up plastered all over the internet.”

    Really? how is this a legitimate concern? Is she concerned that a well known YA author is going to take screen shots and post them? It’s a closed circuit, encrypted channel. There is no way you can expect this to be a legitimate concern unless you are expecting the picture to be captured at one end or the other.

    And even if a picture of the class did in fact show up on the internet? So what? How would that possibly matter?

  15. The author would not be allowed to videotape or photograph the children during an in-person visit. Speaking to the class across the internet should not be afforded the ability to do so either.

  16. I’m disappointed that the original story does not include asking the teacher why she makes this strange request.

    The reasons that kind readers offer in their comments are interesting, but the original story should be more complete.

  17. With skype you can do exactly want the teacher wants: your video gets sent to the other party only if you allow it. I regularly talk to my in-laws on skype and we often have one-way video (e.g. if I’m not dressed yet, because of the time-difference) etc. And you can doubly ensure that by disabling your webcam.

  18. “The teacher is likely (legitimately) concerned that the kids faces could end up plastered all over the internet.”

    But that’s not…how……Skype………………works.


    Ever get the feeling you’re attempting to empty an infinite sea of ignorance with a coffee spoon?

  19. The teacher does say why she made this request: “Due to confidentiality and other school district guidelines”. Parents have to give permission for kids’ images to be used, including on internet. Skype may not plaster images over internet, but the image is still being sent on the internet, and legally it’s probably the same thing for the school.

  20. Fear is the enemy.

  21. Wouldn’t it be easier to just have the webcam pointed at the teacher only, and the incoming video facing towards the students?

  22. A friend of mine told me that there are certain websites entirely devoted to women who were under the impression that you cannot record skype video calls.

  23. I don’t understand why this is a newsworthy event. The teacher asked a question regarding the capability of Skype in order to comply with rules regarding privacy.

    Is the issue that the teacher doesn’t know how Skype works and is willing to ask the question? I guess that everyone who has commented on that topic is immediately able to understand every technology or tool just by hearing the name. The fact that the teacher asked the question shows that she is willing to learn, to ask about things she does not know. We should all be so willing.

    Is the issue that the school system has privacy rules designed to safeguard the children? The authors comment about wearing a blindfold is shortsighted. The purpose of the privacy rules do not cover an individual from seeing the class but the use of cameras to capture the images. That Skype does not broadcast to a website for anyone to see is not the issue, it is that the camera records the images which could then be captured and reproduced. The rule is not there to protect against honest people such as the author, but against those that would use the technology in undesirable ways. The rules apply to everyone, not just bad people.

    Personally I applaud the teacher that is willing to investigate the use of Skype rather than to blindly say no due to a lack of understanding. Instead she asked the questions that are needed. Can the software prevent the capture of the images of the class? Yes, absolutely. Viable options include turning off the webcam, don’t connect the webcam at all, or even point the webcam at a static image.

    I see the teacher as being brave for investigating the possibility.

  24. As the teachers in the comments have already noted, videotaping or photographing children within school grounds and on school time is usually subject to fairly tight restriction. This is a legal responsibility that has evolved over time to protect the privacy of students – hardly a lamentable goal.

    Plenty of software exists to capture skype video and save it either as an AVI or Quicktime file – quite easy to post anywhere one desires.

    Perhaps the way the teacher worded her request was offputting to the author – the post surely doesn’t offer anything in that level of detail.

  25. “The teacher is likely (legitimately) concerned that the kids faces could end up plastered all over the internet.”

    But kids’ faces with no identifying information attached to them do not create any risk. Why is that so hard to understand? Why do people think that an unsourced, unidentified photo of a child on the Internet puts the child at some kind of risk?

    Mind you, I agree with the overall point that the teacher may just be working within the system, or not understand things well, or feel some kind of pressure from above or outside. So I’m not blaming the teacher. But the whole scenario is still nuts.

  26. […] points to this bizarre story where an author who was going to video conference-in to a class (presumably to overcome distance […]

  27. I recently had the same discussion with an elementary school instructor. At the university, we wanted to study child behavior without being a distraction to the class by using VTC technology. Only students whose parent(s) signed the image release form were allowed to participate.

    I predict that one day, such a waver will be in every set of papers a parent has to fill out before their snowflake is allowed to attend classes. Video communication is becoming the norm. Adapt or retire.

  28. I really like Maxx’s reply. He may be right. Maybe there is more to the story…I do hope that the teacher worked it out because it seems, as he pointed out, that she is trying to do something really cool for the kids…but complying with (sometimes admittedly nuts) policy set by the school district. Thanks for a thoughtful response, Maxx.

  29. also, my son’s school sends such a waiver home at the beginning of every year. Of course I am trusting blindly that the teachers are photographing/recording for legit uses and not child porn sites…oooch.

  30. Hmm. Perhaps the notion of “privacy” and “parental notification” are quaint where you live. I don’t know what make believe country that is. But I think it is completely justified.

    Being rendered speechless by this is an indication that you apparently don’t have privacy concerns. Good luck with that. Many, many other people do.

  31. While the situation is ridiculous – it looks like a confluence of unfamiliarity with technology, inflexible worst-case-scenario-based school policies and quite possibly discomfort with a strange male – I have to agree with other posters that this quite likely may be due more to the strictures the teacher has to work under rather than the attitude of the teacher herself. Yes, common sense should win out, but there’s little a teacher can do when the result of her not following those guidelines – however asinine they may be – will be the loss of her job, not to mention potentially being blacklisted or having her professional reputation tarnished for “putting children at risk.” All it takes is one irate, irrational parent to kick off a firestorm.

    I do sympathize with the author – solidarity with those in the writing profession and all that, and kids’ authors give amazing gifts to their readers through their work – but I also have to feel for the teacher here. Imagine how hard it must be to want to do your best for your students, but be hemmed in by ridiculous rules and regulations that you know are going to be detrimental to your students in the long run but have little ability to change in the present because you’re up against both a slow-to-adapt institution and over-protective parents.

    Like a lot of posters have pointed out, the teacher was probably not familiar with how Skype works. I’ve never used it myself, but I imagine it’s rather like the video chat option on Gmail? Schools can be slow to familiarize themselves with and adapt to new communication technology (I went to Boston University and it took them FOREVER to hook up the dorms with ethernet back in the late 90s), but what gives with the school guidelines about confidentiality?? As the author points out, asking for the kids to see him online but for him to NOT see the kids during the discussion would be like expecting him to blindfold himself if he were to be at the school in person. It makes no sense. With video conferencing/chat technology still being relatively new (at least to this school, it seems), I could understand if current school guidelines don’t exist to cover that situation, but why not come up with a rational compromise while those guidelines are being worked out? Say, sending a letter home to the parents explaining the video conference and that as the school does not yet have any official policy reconciling video conferences & school “confidentiality rules” the school is asking for the parents’ permission for their child to participate in the conference. Include a DETAILED explanation for how Skype works and a profile/resume of the author & his works, as well as an explanation for why this conference will be beneficial for the child. If a parent is still not comfortable with the situation, the child doesn’t have to participate. It seems like a lot, but it’s still better than “blindfolding” the author because of school rules. I would hope more parents would react rationally to such a proposal and see the opportunity to talk with an author of books their kids have probably read as a good thing, rather than with the typical internet+kids+strange man=DANGER WILL ROBINSON! (and it’s not like they’d be talking to him alone – the teacher would be monitoring/participating in the discussion as well, right?) but maybe I’m being too optimistic here?

  32. Maybe its just that the teacher doesn’t have a webcam installed on the classroom computer?

  33. I retract my earlier comment stating that “The authors comment about wearing a blindfold is shortsighted.”

    Upon further reflection I can’t imagine trying to speak to children without being able to see their faces and judge their interest and their reactions.

  34. As pentamom said,
    It’s not the teacher’s fault. But this is really an issue and indication of how ignorant, paranoid and litigious our society has become.

    “Plenty of software exists to capture skype video and save it either as an AVI or Quicktime file – quite easy to post anywhere one desires.”

    True. It’s also possible for anyone walking,driving by a schoolyard to take a photo of kids. Maybe we should build giant concrete walls around our schoolyards to protect our kids. Also rip out the playground equipment because of the huge dangers it poses. Wait, the concrete walls won’t protect kids from people who buy Satellite images from Google. Let’s face it, we’re screwed. Schools are no place for our kids.

    I’m going to the store and buying a giant bubble for my kids.

  35. Cory Doctorow just linked to this story from Boing Boing. You’ve hit the big time Lenore,… let’s hope the Free Range philosophy gets some additional traction from the link.

    Oh, and about the Author not being able to see the kids via Skype,… [shaking head]… I am dumbfounded by some of these school district’s rules that limit the learning possibilities. Imagine if this was the one chance in these kid’s lives to see Robert Munsch speak and they’d miss it due to some broad policy that might not be applicable in a particular situation.

    Sigh,… I shudder to think of what our kids will be like in 40 years, but at least psychiatry will be a growth profession.

  36. I cannot find anyone mentioning the ability to record the session. Would anyone question a restriction of bringing a Camcorder into the class to record all the students faces and conversations?

    I think not.

    The question for me is not whether the speaker can see the students. It’s that the images can be recorded and used without concent that matters.

  37. A friend of mine told me that there are certain websites entirely devoted to women who were under the impression that you cannot record skype video calls.

    Aside from the fact that the people doing such things are the scum of the earth – what, exactly, do you think the author and teacher would have the kids do that would be scary to see on the internet?

  38. I’m actually quite impressed with the teacher and not so much with the mocking of the situation. There are rules in place in the school, and those rules are dictated by the school and not by the parents (I find some of the rules at schools ridiculous too, but it’s not my place to tell them how to run their organization. I can only vote with my feet and place my children in a different school). This teacher asked the author a question, keeping in mind the limitations placed by her organization. She was doing her job and being responsible and the way we can have free-range kids is if there are adults around doing their jobs to create environments that allow kids to be free to be kids.

    Here’s a situation where you wouldn’t want an image without identifying information: a person who has had parental rights removed and does not know the school the child attends sees a picture in the newspaper complete with school name. The child’s name isn’t included, but the person can identify the child. And lest you think this is a far-fetched situation, it’s the situation that came up under an hour ago in regards to a school. So…that’s one reason why a parent wouldn’t want their child’s image on the internet or in a newspaper. And the teacher is doing her job by asking the right questions to ensure that the rules that the school have put in place are followed.

    And I’m always a bit skeptical when others criticize the decisions of other parents without knowing their reasoning–calling them ridiculous or paranoid. Everyone needs to feel comfortable and not be bullied into places where they’re not comfortable simply because others find their choices silly. I don’t know–mocking the parents, mocking the district who made the rule, mocking the school or teacher feels a bit like kids on the playground bullying another person for their choices.

  39. Interesting back-and-forth on this, the message I’m getting is that this is another example shutting down a possibility because it could be used illegally, without considering the simple mechanisms to hold someone accountable if, in fact, they do break the rules:

    Yep– the teacher could turn off the webcam, but as Maxx pointed out it would be better to be able to see the children.

    Here’s the “OHNOES! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!” moment of panic — yes it is technologically possible to record the video. Certainly not likely given the status and position of the author (his career would be destroyed), but possible.

    So have the author sign a waiver, just like the parents do, saying “I won’t record the video”.

    To what extent would that provide a solution?

  40. I sign a waiver every year about my children’s image being used in situations that could potentially be like this. I would imagine the teacher would remove any child from line of sight if the parents had negatively responded. Still don’t understand the fear behind this-do people have the same fear if speaking to their grandparents over Skype or other apps?

  41. The problem is not that the teacher protects her students’ images and privacy concern, as far fetched und paranoid the policy may be.

    What’s really galling is the idea that the author should broadcast his image, but not getting an image of its own.

    That’s a despicable disgard of common courtesy, like not offering someone else a seat while sitting yourself or using the informal form while expecting to be replied to in the formal form and the like.

  42. The question regarding signing waivers occured to me as well. Dismissed it. Just look at the example today about Obama’s “Jackass” comments regarding Kanye. I’m pretty sure there are waivers signed when talking to Obama. Appologies abound but the damage is done.

    Safety First. The Teacher did it right.

  43. The author should agree to the interview, and to the exact terms the teacher is requesting. Except the author should then use a voice mask and sit in the shadows with her eyes censored out. One-up the school on paranoia. It would teach the students, at least, a funny and interesting lesson on the absurdity of their teachers and administration.

    As a society we should not be afraid of what’s outside the school gates. There’s so much more to be afraid of inside them. Administrations that make rules like these. Teachers too cowardly to challenge them.

  44. Aside from the fact that the people doing such things are the scum of the earth – what, exactly, do you think the author and teacher would have the kids do that would be scary to see on the internet?

    I don’t. I’m just responding to people implying that a skype call is ephemeral and thus not able to be “plastered across the internet”. I don’t have any problem with it and I expect a large majority don’t have any problem with it, but it only takes one to get someone in trouble and what’s more, that one doesn’t even need to have a sound logical objection. Therefore it’s impossible to have a rational discussion on the topic.

  45. It is possible. The teacher does not send video but the author does. I do one way video with Skype all the time, even when both parties have webcams.

  46. I don’t think the point is whether the one-way is possible but:
    (1)whether the school board has rules against two way video communication between students and an outside party
    (2)whether the school board has guidelines for this type of activity
    (3)whether there’s anything more than a snowball’s chance that engaging in this activity would be somehow harmful to the children involved.

  47. Oh the irony!

  48. I’d cut this teacher some slack. She doesn’t sound like she’s *personally* paranoid about safety; she sounds like she has her hands tied by what she referred to as “confidentiality and other school district guidelines.” I know in our county parents have the right to complete a privacy form that allows them to opt their children out of a variety of exposures – and one includes not even having your kids picture and name in the yearbook. If even one parent in that class has opted out, that may mean that kid’s image cannot be transmitted via internet without violating the written privacy opt-out request. The problem probbaly isn’t with the individual teacher; it’s with a litigious society of fine print, regulations, and the consquential need for teachers and other public servants to practice the policy of “cover my ass.”

  49. The teacher’s concern, or more likely the cause of her school’s policy, is their interpretation of the FERPA (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act) restrictions on identifying anyone in a K-16 classroom. We have similar requirements in our college classes.

  50. I’ll add that the teacher probably did think very hard about how rude her request sounded or how it might be taken by the author; she knows the policy, and doesn’t know the author doesn’t know. She probably thought it would just be EASIER than pulling (excluding) any kids from the class whose parents had opted them out (probably not even thinking of this particular possibility when they chose to check a privacy box) to have the one way conversation. It was more a case of not thinking it through than paranoia. She also could individually contact any parents who had opted out privacy wise and say – here’s the circumstances, are you okay with this, if not, keep Johnny home on this day…

  51. I have a sister-in-law who is in charge of IT for a public school district. It was extremely disillusioning to hear of all the silly crap she must spend her time obsessing over. What web pages students are allowed to look at; tracking down who accessed a porn site when, what text messages did a janitor send to a student, etc. I’m definitely glad I don’t work for a public school district.

  52. On a side note, the answer to her question is “yes,” simply choose not to hook a web cam up and no video will be pushed through.

  53. What sort of sick perv gets off watching a group of properly attired schoolchildren sit at their desks and talk to an author?

  54. As a kid, I would’ve been pretty pissed off if an author I was familiar with was invited to speak with my class, but then couldn’t do it because of paranoia by my teacher (or school). Why don’t we think about it from the other side? It’s a great opportunity for the kids and it’s getting ruined.

  55. Such a sad state of affairs when people are that worrisome over something so innocuous. What makes it even worse in my eyes, is that she could have simply asked to do “audio” only, but she insisted on being able to see you, yet not vice-versa. The desire to see without being seen… to watch while not being watched. Make it even or decline.

  56. Aren’t these same kids being filmed by hundreds of surveillance cameras every time they go into town?

  57. @Ricky Vaughn, on September 17th, 2009 at 9:46 pm Said:

    “Ever get the feeling you’re attempting to empty an infinite sea of ignorance with a coffee spoon?”

    Oh my gosh I love that expression so hard core I’m going to use it until it chokes me. 😀
    @Maxx, on September 17th, 2009 at 10:59 pm Said:

    “I retract my earlier comment stating that ‘The authors comment about wearing a blindfold is shortsighted.”‘

    Why? I thought it was absolutely hilarious. 😀
    Truthfully, this whole thing sounds retarded to me. Regardless of the internet and all the privacy issues abound – these kids are all dressed, right? I mean, if you look up “children” through Google image search, you can find royalty free pics of kids. OH NO!!! THEIR PRIVACY IS INVADED!!! No – it isn’t… no one knows who they are!!!! Yes, a child molester could get hold of your kids pic from some seriously hacked Skype conversation (we know how common that is) and masturbate until their heads fall off to the image of little Billy sitting and listening in the front row… but: – how – common – is – that???

    It’s just ridiculous. If we can’t even interact on a basic human level through the internet – what the hell is going to happen to us as a species that is dependent upon interaction with others? If we can’t have idols to look up to as children (oh, we can, they just have to be facing away from us in order to assure everyone they aren’t pedophiles), then what do we have to look forward to as adults? (Oh, that’s right… blindfolds or, if you’re a man, having everyone look at you as a lecherous pervert wearing a blindfold with your hand down your pants whenever you’re around a child.)

    This is the slope, and we’re beginning to rapidly slide down it.

  58. My school went to an opt out instead of an opt in permission for events like this. Instead of 50% of my class not being able to participate because of lost forms or parent misunderstanding – 100% can participate.

    I just checked with the front office today because I have a cool Distance Learning event that teachers might want to participate in. Out of 650 – 700 kids – NO opt outs this year.

  59. @kherbert: Agreed! That’s the better way to handle it.

  60. […] he could come up with a way the kids could see HIM, but not vice versa.”  When Skenazy pointed out how this concern was likely greatly overblown, one commenter on her site responded: “The […]

  61. Valis, on September 18th, 2009 at 4:30 am Said:
    What sort of sick perv gets off watching a group of properly attired schoolchildren sit at their desks and talk to an author?

    Rule 34.

  62. […] – et si vous n’en avez pas, alors qu’attendez-vous pour lutter contre la grippe A ? Lenore Skenazy tient un blog dans lequel elle fait valoir la nécessaire liberté à offrir aux enfants, tout en […]

  63. Maxx, on September 17th, 2009 at 9:23 pm Said:
    “The author would not be allowed to videotape or photograph the children during an in-person visit. Speaking to the class across the internet should not be afforded the ability to do so either.”

    Really? I’ve got this nifty little camcorder built into a pair of glasses, you can’t tell it’s there by looking at them. What if the author (or anyone else speaking at a school) has a pair? Should schools start outlawing glasses? Or any speakers who wear them… just in case, can’t be too careful you know! This storey isn’t about predators or pictures on the internet, it’s about fear governing how we act and how much of the world our children are free to experience for themselves.

  64. @syruss – if you read my comment clearly, you will see that I said “… would not be allowed…” rather than “…would not have the ability…”

    There will always be those people that use methods like you describe to skirt the rules and laws. Those are the people that the rules and laws were designed to protect against.

    And for the record, I think that the use of teleconferencing is a great way for this author to present to the students. My questions were geared to why this is a big story. The teacher, knowing the rules she has to obey as a representative of the school district, asked valid technical questions regarding the capabilities of Skype. Rather than saying no out of ignorance she tried to learn more so she could speak about the tool with confidence. Armed with accurate information she has a much better chance of gaining acceptance from the school administration.

  65. Uh, folks, I think you’re reading way too much into this. It sounds like, for all sorts of reasons, they simply don’t have webcam available to them.

    Now, one of those reasons may be that they don’t want the headache of having webcams available to the kids (which I think is a reasonable policy, given the percentage of kids sexting), but if you’ve ever worked with schools in either an urban or rural setting, they simply don’t have the extra cash for cameras.

  66. […] US author of middle-grade novels not allowed to see class via Skype because he might be a pedo […]

  67. […] lines, a friend of mine just turned me on to FreeRangeKids. There is an wonderful post about an author who was going to do a school visit via Skype, but couldn’t because of guidelines about the kids being seen on the Internet. A […]

  68. Paranoid, uninformed, utterly asinine policies like the one this poor teacher is struggling with are the reason why I will never work in education.

    (Administrators and district managers looking desperately for teachers, take note.)

  69. To all those who worry about images of their children being posted on the internet: what do you realistically think would happen if a paedophile did see a photograph of your child on a website?

  70. Sites like Free-Range Kids are vitally important to combat the lunacy currently paralysing societies all over the Western world.

    Well done FRK and Lenore. Great job, keep up the good work.

  71. I experienced the false accusation scenario.

    Luckily, the school principal was a professional and the truth emerged the next day.

    However, the psychic trauma was immense.

    Greater then the death of my parents.

    More than two tours to southeast Asia in the 1970s during the military years.

    Greater than being shot at by the Chicano gang-banger who despised Anglos.

    Greater than the stomping received by eight thugs from a different gang (California has become rough since the onslaught of the “undocumented” crowd).

    All those events were nothing compared to a 6th-grade MALE lying about me.

    I left the educational field, a mid-life endeavor after my previous decent job was shipped overseas along with several thousand others in the firm.

    Age, time and money constrained me.

    I decided upon teaching.

    After that event, of being lied about, the trauma was intense, inescapable, even for a rugged old salt such as I who could do shore patrol duties in the roughest ports of the Orient and revel in it.

    One kid. That’s all it takes.

    Only a fool would enter the teaching profession is my confirmed belief. Especially males.

    A pox upon the teaching colleges for not adequately informing future teachers of the “clear and present danger” awaiting teacher-in-training.

    Let the parents teach their own offspring.

  72. I think u should just sell the school a lecture on DVD. End of story.

  73. […] From the WTF-department: Teacher asks author to talk to her class but so that he can’t see them – for data protec…. […]

  74. I agree .. this is insane. Perhaps the teacher could get a permission slip signed from kids parents so you can see them as well! Weird one way conversation dude.

  75. I’m not surprised at all and this teacher is probably trying to work within the gates she’s been locked in. In my district, “technically” everyone who interacts with the students must be “district-approved.” I can actually see how this might be a solution for her to bring the activity to her students within the constraints of the craziness of the bureaucracy. Don’t be so quick to blame the teacher.
    I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style of writing.

  76. This is a really good post and something I never thought about, but I do recall a few eatery charges on my credit card that seemed to be much higher than I recalled spending. Well I think I will make an effort to bring enuf cash for tipping from now on if possible!

  77. The teacher is likely (legitimately) concerned that the kids faces could end up plastered all over the internet.

  78. fantastic points altogether, you just received a brand new reader. What might you recommend in regards to your post that you made a few days ago? Any sure?

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