After students in Pennsylvania were monitored in their homes using school-issued laptops without knowledge or consent, a law was passed in New Jersey to ensure written notice of such activities is provided.
On April 15, New Jersey's “Anti-Big Brother Act” (S-2057) was signed into law and takes effect immediately.
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Donald Norcross, was crafted after staff at the Montgomery Township, Pa.'s Lower Merion School District remotely accessed students’ school-issued laptops while the students were using them at home. More than 66,000 images of students taken by their laptop cameras were transmitted to district administrators without students' knowledge.
“Big Brother has no place in our schools,” Norcross said in a press release. “It’s the administration’s job to educate, not monitor their students. With this law, parents will know exactly what their child is bringing into the house and their responsibility in using it.”
This new law requires a school district that furnishes students with laptops, computers, cellular phones or other electronic devices to provide notice -- either via written document or electronically -- to students and their families that the device may record or collect information on the students’ activities. This notice must also include a form for a parent or guardian signature acknowledging receipt of the notice.