Sunday, September 21, 2008

Edward Swanson Bio

My name is Edward Swanson, I live in Bloomington, MN. I was born in Fargo, MN on February 28, 1965. I am married to Danielle Swanson and we have a daughter named Isabel. She is 17 years old now in her senior year at Thomas Jefferson Senior High School. I have been working at General Dynamics as a programmer since 1995, when General Dynamics was turning into a more defense based company. Before that I worked for Microsoft for 15 years. As a parent, I am also a member of Jefferson's PTSA.

I believe that administrators should be able to use online content for situations involving students. I don't believe that administrators should use only online information as a basis for student affairs. I think that since those students, at Eden Prairie high school, had pictures of them drinking alcohol or at least acting like they were drinking it, they should be punished but only if there is some other proof as well, like a label on a beer bottle/can in the pictures. Possibly finding some alcohol containers in the trash or some other kind of physical evidence, that kind of evidence would be the job of police officers called by the school to look for evidence that there was substances that students aren't supposed to have. There are other cases like if graphic content of students are sent around then no other evidence except that content is needed, of course more evidence is always good. Yes, administrators can view online content but to be punished for some of that content, physical proof should also be needed.

I suggest a slightly different idea than most people, for internet policies. Have the internet blocked to most sites for everyone but give students a device like a flash drive. Each flash drive would be specifically preprogrammed for each student. When the flash drive is plugged in, it will use face recognition technology to make that the flash drive's owner is the person using the computer. If it is the correct owner then it would unlock the internet until the flash drive is removed. Whenever the student goes to the new website, it takes a picture of the person at the computer sending it to the server, along with a tag indicating what address that person was at. The flash drive would be unable to hold extra content and the information on the drive would be encrypted so no student could hack into the drive. While online with the flash drive in the computer, the websites that the student is on will be searched for key words and will send a red flag for the website if too many key words show up. An administrator would look at the flagged websites and if it does show inappropriate content or some non school related content then that student will lose his/her flash drive. If a student is caught playing games on the internet, that student will get a warning and if caught a second time, his/her flash drive would be taken away. If the student goes to a search engine or a video site, then a screenshot will be taken of every new first page until he/she leaves the site. Of course known inappropriate sites will be blocked no matter what. I believe my daughter to be a honest student and I'm sure there are many other students like her, that won't abuse the privilege of unlimited access. The students who do abuse it won't be given access to to unblocked internet.

I believe that the definitions of school is clear to me. I think that they help provide a good learning environment inside and outside of school, not only for my daughter but for everyone's son/daughter. I don't think I'd change these school policies from what they are right now.

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