Wednesday, 28 April 2010

A story about ethics, or something like that.

The characters: Tiger, Failboat, Spinach, Nikon. And, to some extent, the Man. You know, the proverbial Man who puts us all down? Also known as the System. The actual Man is an Assistant Vice Principal.

The setting: A fictional high school in a fictional multiverse. Note: Tiger is Head Boy of this school.

The background: Last October, after a party to which absolutely everyone was invited, these four split. After a bit of a discussion, they decide to not go home at all, and just...go where the fates and the winds and the cabs take them. So off they went, to normally crowded spots on the beach that were now so quiet, and then, bored and hungry, they went to the airport, post midnight. Everything else was closed. They ate, they chilled, and then they came back to the beach to watch the sunrise. All very cool, and if I belonged to that multiverse, I'd have been jealous.
Now here's the cinch. Still way back in October, one of them published a note about it. On Facebook. Referred to as Nomadic Night.
That was in October 2009. Since then, Nikon has left the school.

The Story:
It's happened a couple of times, the principal telling Tiger that he's received 'disturbing reports', and alluding to Facebook. I did wonder about the jurisdiction of a school over our cyber-lives. I mean, everyone's heard that with times and tech changing, we must too. Everyone's heard that applicants for prestigious jobs are thoroughly googled. I even read an article where college applicants changed their Facebook names so that they couldn't be found. But this isn't a job. This isn't a college application, this is school. And somewhat out of the blue.
So, one fine day in April 2010, the vice principal called Tiger into his office to tell him that someone had seen the note about Nomadic Night, and lodged a complaint. I may need to add here, that there were photos in the note. And the first of those photos was taken at a home bar, with one of them holding up a bottle. Tiger told the Vice Principal that no one drank that night, and that even though they did stay out all night, the bar and the bottle was just a gag.
The Man was not happy about this note, as it gave a 'bad impression' or something like that.
On a bright and early Saturday in April, Tiger was called to the Vice Principal's office in the presence of all the AVPs, and was told that the School Committee had decided to ask him to resign his post as Head Boy. After Tiger's parents met all the authorities concerned, and Tiger submitted an apology letter, the decision was reconsidered at a meeting of the committee. Tiger submitted a resignation yesterday.

My point here is this. The person who put up the note has pretty tight privacy settings. How then, did anyone find it? And also, my main issue here. This is school. The characters in my story are barely 17. On Nomadic Night, no one was near the school, no one FROM the school was hurt, they did nothing related to the school in any manner.
Why then, is the school looking into something so unrelated? It's all...a not-so-thin line about privacy, and how much of ourselves we put online. A party isn't a party till it's on facebook, haven't I heard that before? Facebook is...the public's Page 3. Or something like that. I think I'm losing my point.

Opinions about the incident appreciated.


Shakti said...

They're going DOWN.
also this was AWESOME and HAHAHAHHAHHAA AT THE FAKE NAMES. i showed this to daddy nambiar. he tsk tsked at the school.

Mystique said...

They better. Can daddy Nambiar help?

Tensor said...

School cant punish any of these students. They can 'advise' or 'counsel'. They can tell student's parents about drinking, which i think no parents in the world mind anymore. ( They are almost near the age of drinking! )

School can, however, remove a student from Headboy position if it wants to if school feels his reputation is somewhat dicy ( infact, i think this is maximum a school can do).

But the main point is, Nobody can stop me, you or any student from his Right from freedom and speech, I can write whatever I want, wherever I want( dont take it literally, and start writing on toilets in train ) as long as I am not offending anybody.

Oh, I lost the point I wanted to say.. but well nevermind.

L said...

There are two sides to this. While the primary issues remain invasion of privacy (to what extent the school is allowed to monitor a student's out-of-school activities/life – that's what parents are there for) and who leaked the note to 'you know who' (if you remember this is not the first time he's caught you guys on fb updates/groups), something which many overlook is that when you are in a position of authority/responsibility your freedom to do as you please is to some extent constrained. I guess the point ykw is using to his advantage here is of the head boy setting a bad example to the young gullible minds who hero worships him. i think your tiger made the his choice – he would rather be himself and enjoy life than be all stuffy and self-important.

the smart thing to do is to have your privacy settings on fb right. i really don't know how much more drilling is required to get into young people's heads that opening up your notes and photographs to friends of friends is a very very bad idea. so is adding every tom dick and harry as your friend.

Espèra said...

So that guy had to resign just cuz he DRANK? Jeez man. Catch the big bad bullies in school, not smokeres or drinkers.

I mean I don't really encourage smoking. But drinking .. that's not such a big problem!

Shayon said...

I kinda tend to agree with Tensor, that "School can, however, remove a student from Headboy position if it wants to if school feels his reputation is somewhat dicy"

Especially in schools, one of the main reasons why someone's made the Head Boy/Girl is so that others can look up to him as an inspiration - not just on the academic front, but otherwise too. And even if drinking might not be a "problem", it is not something that should be encouraged/glorified.

While I will not talk about FB's security policies, because it is always possible that some student who had access to that note shared it with the principal, I shall definitely question the sense of reservation from the guy's side who put it up on FB. You should make only those parts of your life public, with which you would have no qualms to share with the world. If more people get to see what they were not intended to, you can not go ahead and blame FB, or even the Principal.

Now, speaking of being asked to resign from the post, I think the institute has the right to do that, on whatever rights they deem it fit. Just the way I have the right to bust you out of my house, any day or night, without even giving you as much of an explanation.

But yes, had the kid being ousted from the school because they authorities thought he "drank", I think it is possible to file a PIL against the school. In this particular case, my suggestion would be to learn from the incident and move on.

Shayon said...
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