29. January 2007 · Comments Off on Lack of computer savvy could land teacher in prison · Categories: Issues
This jaw-dropping story from the Washington Post’s Security Fix column amazes me because of the LACK of coverage it has received.  In a nutshell, substitute seventh grade teacher Julie Amero didn’t know how to handle a computer infected with adware that displayed pornographic images and now faces four 10-year prison sentences. She entered a classroom and some children were using the computer there to look at what seemed to be an innocent site about hairstyles.  Shortly thereafter, the popups with pornographic images appeared. Amero says she panicked and left the classroom to get help without shutting down the computer or monitor (she claims she’d been asked by the teacher who set up the computer for her not sign him off) , didn’t get any advice from her fellow teachers and kids complained to their parents about what they saw. She was convicted of 4 counts of endangering students and faces a maximum prison sentence of up to 40 years if the judge chooses to throw the book at her when she’s due to be sentenced on March 2nd of this year. It turns out a software upgrade to the school’s content filtering software could have prevented the whole mess. I’d also venture the opinion that some sort of training for teachers as to the school’s policy on what to do in the event of pornographic popups or other “threats” to students would have also gone a long way towards preventing this situation. How many schools and training organisations out there have a clear ICT policy for teachers and substitutes? What are the BASIC skills required for your organisation when allowing contractors or substitutes to access computers or present learning materials? This teacher’s lack of IT knowledge could end up destroying her life.

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