Imagine being told by your child’s school, an institution funded with your tax dollars and charged with educating the young minds of your community, that you must agree you would not observe the virtual classes they attend in your own home.
This is the apparent disturbing reality for parents of students who attend Rutherford County Schools (RCS), who The Tennessee Star reports have been asked to sign forms agreeing not to watch their children’s online classroom sessions.
The outlet received a copy of one of these forms.
“RCS strives to present these opportunities in a secure format that protects student privacy to the greatest extent possible, however because these meetings will occur virtually RCS is limited in its ability to fully control certain factors such as non-student observers that may be present in the home of a student participating in the virtual meeting,” the form reportedly states.
“RCS strongly discourages non student observation of online meetings due to the potential of confidential information about a student being revealed.”
If this wasn’t shocking enough on its own, the form also warns that any “violation of this agreement may result in RCS removing my child from the virtual meeting” (emphasis ours). The form requests the signature of the parents.
This comes fresh off the heels of a highly controversial proposal to initiate at-home child “wellbeing” checks across the state that caused a massive backlash, forcing the Department of Education to withdraw the plan.
“We are aware of the concern that has been raised about this distance-learning letter that was sent to parents. The intent was not to prevent parents from being involved with their children during distance learning, but it was intended to protect the academic privacy of other students in the classroom who are visible during certain virtual class sessions,” Evans said.
“We have issued new guidance to principals that parents can assist their children during virtual group lessons with permission of the instructor but should refrain from sharing or recording any information about other students in the classroom.”
The outlet notes that Evans did not elaborate.
What is going on in these classes that the privacy of the students so desperately needs to be protected? Nothing this sensitive should ever be happening with a group of underage students, period. If a child is at risk or in serious need of counseling, teachers and administrators should know perfectly well they should be meeting privately with the student.
There is no argument whatsoever in favor of anything coming up in a classroom that any one parent of a student enrolled in the class should not be able to see or overhear, period.
Who are the adults here? More importantly, who are the parents?!
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