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Orange County Public Schools announced Thursday that it has acquired software to monitor social media “to proactively prevent, intervene and (watch) situations that may impact students and staff.”  The district has obtained an annual license with SnapTrends, software that monitors Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

The district said it plans to use the software to conduct routine monitoring for the purposes of prevention or early intervention of potential issues in which students or staff could be at risk to themselves or to others.

And who decides what these issues are that need to prevented?

OCPS said the company will assist district law enforcement and security personnel in monitoring publicly available social media communications that are relevant to school operations and personnel.

Why is law enforcement involved in something that isn’t even a crime? Why is law enforcement going to monitor people’s social media communications? Who determines what is relevant to school operations and personnel?

“This is a tool that gives the district intelligence into a situation that could possibly prevent something more serious from happening,” Orange County Public Schools Senior Director of Safety and Security Doug Tripp said.

Could you be a bit more vague please?

School officials acknowledge the online snooping might raise privacy questions. But board member Linda Kobert said the district is taking advantage of “new tools to protect our children.”

Yes, please, let’s think of the children. Nothing has ever gone wrong with that kind of thinking.

Parents should start asking questions, such as why is such a system necessary, who, specifically, will be monitoring everything, who has access to personal data, how long is going to be stored. The system is simple fear mongering and parents need to pay attention and prevent the school from monitoring their lives.