Our freedom of speech in our age of technology

A guest article from Levi Okazaki, a Seabury Hall senior who is a student in Mrs. McLeod's "Introduction to Law" class.

One area of increasing scrutiny by the courts is in regard to the freedom of speech and technology.

Seabury Hall is not as strict as most schools when it comes to the use of computers on campus. There is, however, a zero tolerance to cyber bullying and saying or posting anything that could bring harm to other students. Cyber bullying rarely occurs at Seabury Hall, but when it does, it is dealt with accordingly. Seabury Hall relies primarily on an honor code because students are expected to know what they are and are not allowed to do on the computers.

Faculty members have methods of monitoring what is being viewed on a computer screen on the computers in the library and in the computer lab when they feel it is necessary. According to Mr. Jon Toda, Seabury Hall’s technology director, this is called live monitoring. Live monitoring is not used very much in the computer lab, but it is used as a way to enforce rules in the library quite frequently. During the school day, students should not be on any websites that are not involved with their schoolwork. Some faculty also have the power to monitor personal laptops that are registered with the school website or Internet. However, they will not do this unless they suspect any kind of abuse or other problems.

The primary item monitored is Internet traffic, taken care of by Mr. Toda. He monitors this to make sure that the Internet is running smoothly around campus and to make sure that the Internet does not crash. If there is any kind of congestion in the Internet that is affecting the rest of the computers’ connections then Mr. Toda will investigate its source. This monitoring software is an openDNS, which means that most websites are open, except for any kind of pornographic websites. Monitoring computers is done to keep students safe and to make sure that they are able to use the Internet for their work.