I think I just lost all faith in the public school system. Oh wait, being told that I didn’t know anything about computer security and that I caused a “mutiny” when I was going to Compuhigh (an online High Schoolprogram) did that, but this certainly didn’t help.
In recent news, a middle school teacher in Texas confiscated Linux CDs from a student. Apparently this has happened several times before, with teachers at various schools confiscating Ubuntu CDs and even suspending students for exchanging pirated software. This particular teacher decided to email the developers at Helios Linux and tell them what she thinks.
“…observed one of my students with a group of other children gathered around his laptop. Upon looking at his computer, I saw he was giving a demonstration of some sort. The student was showing the ability of the laptop and handing out Linux disks. After confiscating the disks I called a confrence with the student and that is how I came to discover you and your organization. Mr. Starks, I am sure you strongly believe in what you are doing but I cannot either support your efforts or allow them to happen in my classroom. At this point, I am not sure what you are doing is legal. No software is free and spreading that misconception is harmful. These children look up to adults for guidance and discipline. I will research this as time allows and I want to assure you, if you are doing anything illegal, I will pursue charges as the law allows. Mr. Starks, I along with many others tried Linux during college and I assure you, the claims you make are grossly over-stated and hinge on falsehoods. I admire your attempts in getting computers in the hands of disadvantaged people but putting linux on these machines is holding our kids back… I am sure if you contacted Microsoft, they would be more than happy to supply you with copies of an older verison of Windows and that way, your computers would actually be of service to those receiving them…” – http://linuxlock.blogspot.com/2008/12/linux-stop-holding-our-kids-back.html
I don’t even know where to begin. She confiscated a student’s property when he wasn’t doing anything illegal. If she actually tried Linux in college she would know that it was free software, or if she actually did some research like she said. She thinks Microsoft would give out free copies of Windows to disadvantaged people? How about be a little open minded, especially for someone in the educational field? Mr. Starks of Helios planned a meeting with the school district’s superintendent, who agreed after seeing this email forwarded to him. Hopefully they’ll have an interesting talk about this teacher. Lets hope she’s just the PE teacher.
EDIT: The following is a fictional story, but after the above it wouldn’t surprise me if it could happen.
Topeka, KS – High school sophomore Brett Tyson was suspended today after teachers learned he may be using PHP. A teacher overheard him say that he was using PHP, and as part of our Zero-Tolerance policy against drug use, he was immediately suspended. No questions asked,” said Principal Clyde Thurlow. “We’re not quite sure what PHP is, but we suspect it may be a derivative of PCP, or maybe a new designer drug like GHB.” – http://whatsthecrack.net/Student-Suspended-Over-Suspected-Use-of-PHP