Orange school district renews software that tracks social media
The Orange County school district has renewed for a second year its contract for a controversial software service that monitors social media posts and led to a dozen police investigations in the past year.The district will spend about $18,000 in the next year with Snaptrends, an Austin, Texas, company that also has inked deals with the University of Central Florida, as well as Orange and Seminole counties’ sheriff’s offices.
School districts in Lake, Osceola and Volusia counties say they don’t use the software.
Orange School Board members say they’re confident the service is a good investment.
“It’s a no-brainer to me,” Chairman Bill Sublette said. “I think we have a moral obligation in every sense of the word to monitor social media for threats to our students or schools.”
The school district declined to provide many details about how the software is used or the types of social media posts that had generated alerts, citing exemptions in open-records laws regarding security. Officials stressed the software looks only at publicly available posts.
I would say harassment and cyber-bullying are matters for the police and the schools shouldn’t be spying on kids.
Besides that, kids (or anyone) should make sure their posts are visible only to friends which I assume would exclude software like this.