Pregnancy, Babies, Parenting News & Tips

Sixth-grader wins $70,000 settlement after school demanded her Facebook password

By Jenna Iacurci / Mar 24, 2014 03:22 PM EDT

Tags : riley stratton, facebook, school, social media

  • Facebook
  • (Photo : Flickr/melenita2012) A sixth-grader won a $70,000 settlement after her school demanded her Facebook password.

A sixth-grader won a $70,000 settlement after her school demanded her Facebook password.

The student, 15-year-old Riley Stratton, posted a comment two years ago complaining about a hall monitor, in addition to engaging in a conversation of a "sexual nature" with a classmate on the social media site, according to reports.

Like Us on Facebook

At the time, Minnewaska school officials brought a nervous Stratton into a room, accompanied by a police officer, and coerced her into giving up her password - even though the cyber remarks happened off campus and after school hours.

"I was in tears," the Minnesota student told the Star Tribune Tuesday. "I was embarrassed when they made me give over my password."

The ACLU took up Stratton's case and helped her win $70,000 in damages. Minnewaska Area Schools also had to rewrite their policies to limit their "helicopter parent" abilities in monitoring students' online behavior.

"A lot of schools, like the folks at Minnewaska, think that just because it's easier to know what kids are saying off campus through social media somehow means the rules have changed, and you can punish them for what they say off campus," said Wallace Hilke, the Minnesota ACLU lawyer who argued Stratton's case. "They punished her for doing exactly what kids have done for 100 years - complaining to her friends about teachers and administrators."

Now schools can only access off-campus electronic records or passwords if there is reasonable suspicion that they violate school rules.

"Riley's really a hero to me, it's really quite a brave thing she's done," Hilke told CBS.

Minnewaska Superintendent Greg Schmidt did not admit any district liability in the incident, but knows the case brought to light the slippery slope of free speech via social media, especially when schools are hyperaware of cyberbullying.

"Some people think schools go too far and I get that," Schmidt told the Star Tribune. "But we want to make kids aware that their actions outside school can be detrimental."

Stratton is now being homeschooled because, she said, the dispute "was so embarrassing and I didn't want to go to any other school anymore."

© 2014 ParentHerald.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Featured Video : Never Leave Your Child Alone in the Car: Parents Urged to Take Heat Stroke Seriously Before it's too late

Antibiotics in infancy may be linked to childhood obesity: study

Kids who receive several rounds of antibiotics before age two may be at an increased risk of being overweight by age five, suggests a new study.

Read More »

U.S. military to quickly ramp up Ebola mission in Liberia

A Doctors Without Borders health worker takes off his protective gear under the surveillance of a colleague at a treatment facility for Ebola victims in Monrovia September 29, 2014.

Read More »

World must do more to battle Ebola in West Africa: Obama

1 of 2. Health workers surround an Ebola patient who escaped from quarantine from Monrovia's Elwa hospital, in the centre of Paynesville in this still image taken from a September 1, 2014 video.

Read More »

Health benefits of parkrun stretch well beyond the physical

Participants take part in a parkrun event at Bushy Park in London August 2, 2014.

Read More »

Money talks: Obamacare initiative makes headway in Republican states

A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration.

Read More »

Doctor calls for blood donations to treat Liberian Ebola victims

1 of 2. Health workers surround an Ebola patient who escaped from quarantine from Monrovia's Elwa hospital, in the centre of Paynesville in this still image taken from a September 1, 2014 video.

Read More »

U.S. hospitals unprepared to handle Ebola waste

1 of 3. An isolation room at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta is shown in this undated file handout photo courtesy of Emory Hospital.

Read More »

Sierra Leone wraps up three-day Ebola lockdown

An empty street is seen at the start of a three-day national lockdown in Freetown September 19, 2014.

Read More »

Cerner and Athenahealth say integrating with Apple's mobile health service

The Apple logo is pictured at a retail store in the Marina neighborhood in San Francisco, California April 23, 2014.

Read More »

White House calls for task force to tackle antibiotic-resistant bugs

A medical technician prepares samples in the specimen set-up area of the Vanderbilt Clinical Microbiology Lab in Nashville, Tennessee on October 19, 2012.

Read More »

U.N. to deploy Ebola mission as death toll reaches 2,630

1 of 3. Health workers remove the body of Prince Nyentee, a 29-year-old man whom local residents said died of Ebola virus in Monrovia September 11, 2014.

Read More »

IMF says Ebola hits economic growth in West Africa

A fan of Ivory coast holds a sign with a message against Ebola during the 2015 African Nations Cup qualifying soccer match between Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone at the Felix Houphouet Boigny stadium in Abidjan September 6, 2014.

Read More »

Real Time Analytics