Practice proper netiquette

First and foremost, the student body must forget the notion that the school administration is some Orwellian body out to punish students.

After years of students using the internet to maliciously attack other students and to post incriminating pictures all while claiming to be a Harvard-Westlake student, the administration has every right to crack down in order to protect the school and the student body. This includes the right to apprehend students who are using their internet alter ego (also identified as a Harvard-Westlake student) to plan parties where alcohol and other illegal substances will be present.

Many of the rules laid down by the Technology Acceptable Use Policy are straightforward and ideally should already be understood by the entire student body. Students have to be clear that they are not only Harvard-Westlake students for seven hours a day, but also whenever they actively identify themselves as Harvard-Westlake students by being part of a Harvard-Westlake network or wearing a Harvard-Westlake sweatshirt.

After past chaos arising from student misuse of the internet, including a 100 million dollar lawsuit, it is understandable that the administration wants to have all of its bases covered. With this all-encompassing Technology Acceptable Use Policy, the administration can now claim that any student who has abused the internet has broken the rules and can be punished.

Yet by enacting this policy, the administration has given itself a great amount of power and must be careful not to trample on students’ rights.

It is one thing to punish students who are using the internet to make derogatory and hateful remarks toward peers and teachers, but quite another to disband forums created by classes and clubs just because they haven’t sought out permission from the appropriate administrator.

The administration must not forget that the internet can be a place of learning and productivity for the student body outside the confines of the classroom, a way of communicating without a teacher or an authority figure constantly listening over conversation. At the same time, students need to act appropriately when using the internet.

It is not a myth that college admission officers can look at your personalized web page.
“Students must be aware that anything said in cyberspace never really goes away,” Head of the Upper School Harry Salamandra said.

In the coming weeks and months the administration should act reasonably when enforcing the new policy, but students should always act with careful discretion when surfing the internet.