We've been following the case in suburban Philadelphia of the Lower Merion School District, which was sued by a student for spying
on the student in his home with district issued laptops (the kid was disciplined for supposedly using drugs, with the evidence being a photo of him in his room at his laptop -- the kid claims he was just eating Mike & Ikes candy
). While the district initially denied it was spying on students, later reports found 58,000 images were taken
, including 469 of another student who also sued
While the feds declined
to bring criminal charges, it looks like the school district has now settled the outstanding lawsuits
mainly by giving the lawyers a big chunk of money. In total, the school district paid out $610,000, with $425,000 going to the lawyers. The student who brought the first case will get $175,000, and the student in the second case will get $10,000 (the article mistakenly suggests two separate payments of $185,000, but I believe that's wrong). The district, in its announcement
admits that, in total, this whole thing is costing about $1.2 million, which is actually being covered by insurance.
The situation is a bit tricky, because, in some sense, taxpayers are footing the bill for the district's ridiculous policy choices (even though insurance is covering the direct cost). I would imagine that this sort of thing will act as a reasonable deterrent to other school districts considering (or already using) similar technology.