Spying School District Pays Out $610,000 To Settle Lawsuit -- Mostly To The Lawyers

from the legal-fees dept

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.
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Filed Under: lower merion school district, schools, settlements, spying


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  1. identicon
    JEDIDIAH, 13 Oct 2010 @ 6:16am

    No one else seems to want to bother.

    The ambulance chasers are the only recourse here. It does no good to whine about the size of their cut. They seem to be the only people stepping up to do anything about this situation. The state is sitting on it's hands.

    Really, this should have resulted in jail time to the relevant parties rather than a monetary judgement that the won't be levied on the individuals in question.

    Although it's preferable than nothing at all.

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