Monday, April 21, 2008

This comes as no surprise to me

Dr. Helen: Girl Violence: YouTube Fad?:

Administrators of the Raymondville school system said they will review the district's cell phone policy after a report of an assault on a middle school student that was recorded with a cell phone and then displayed on YouTube. It was at least the second time this year students from the school district uploaded violent videos to YouTube, said school board president John Solis. Early this year, a Raymondville High School student used a video to solicit someone to beat another student...

[T]he school board president, said officials will have a workshop to discuss policy on student cell phone use. "We're going to see if we need a stricter cell phone policy or not allow them anymore," he said. "That's what they're doing -videotaping on cell phones.
Knock me over with a feather: violence in a public school, and the administrators immediately say that the problem is videotaping.

The grand irony here is that many districts live in mortal fear of privacy-rights lawsuits and severely limit videotaping, even through surveillance (assuming that the district spends the money to keep the cameras working). They know they won't be sued for "unsafe educational conditions" because there are too many ways districts can make life miserable for the families involved --it's far easier for the family to (rearrange its whole life and) relocate or else find another school.

In my world, the best justice for the victim's family here is to demonstrate how YouTube is making money from these videos (increased site traffic --> higher ad revenues), then sue for unlawful appropriation of image for commercial purposes. Go for the deepest pockets!

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