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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Substitute faces up to 40 years in prison...

The setting:
Old unsecured computer running Windows/98
Orginal trial version virus checker.
Technophobe substitute teacher.
Kids left unattended.

The result:
"...The six-person jury Friday convicted Amero, 40, of Windham of four counts of risk of injury to a minor, or impairing the morals of a child. It took them less than two hours to decide the verdict. She faces a sentence of up to 40 years in prison."

What's wrong with this:
Security Focus by Mark Rasch, MSNBC

"...Substitute teacher Julie Amero faces up to 40 years in prison for exposing kids to porn using a classroom computer, but the facts strongly suggest that she was wrongfully convicted. Many issues remain, from the need for an independent computer forensics investigation and the presence of spyware and adware on the machine, to bad or incomplete legal work on both sides of this criminal case."

"...Ms. Amero, 40, a longtime substitute, contends that when she arrived that day in October 2004, she asked the regular seventh-grade language arts teacher at Kelly Middle School if she could use his computer to e-mail her husband. But first, she says, she went to the bathroom, and when she returned, the teacher was gone and students were gathered around the screen, watching a hairstyle Web site.

When she tried to close the site, what she got was an endless barrage of pop-up ads for pornography sites. The images continued all day, since “I absolutely have no clue about computers,” she said in an interview."

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I didn't realize that this substitute teaching job could be this hazardous to my freedom and financial health. Similar instances of what happened to Julie Amero could happen to anyone.

A very similar situation happened to me a couple years ago. I didn't end up in jail or even close, but this case demonstrates just how quirky the situation can get.

My wife once misspelled "www.nordstrom.com" and got a nude photo site.

The South West Airline commercial isn't far from the truth when it comes to demonstrating how inadvertently anyone can be "caught" in a similar situation.

There is so much "reasonable doubt" in this case, that I believe that Julie is being used as a scapegoat shield from potential parental lawsuits.

If anyone is at fault here, I think it rests squarely with the school administration for allowing "dangerously outdated" equipment in the classroom.

4 comments:

tagryn said...

From the district's perspective, this is a "win", since no 'real' teachers had to face trial (i.e. no need to get the union involved) and responsibility was able to be shifted onto the head of the expendable sub.

Magpie Chick said...

You know, when I first read about this I thought it was a hoax. I mean, come on! No one would actually prosecute a sub for such a simple mistake. But I did a little research and discovered that this story is legit. Scary stuff. You'd think that schools systems would be more protective of their subs. They really need us, after all!

Mister Teacher said...

Just think what could have happened if the kid had tried to go to whitehouse.com to research a government project...
(In case you didn't know, it's whitehouse.gov-- whitehouse.com is a porn site)

The MAN Fan Club said...

We have filters at school, but stuff still gets through.

case #1 A student typed in "cherleaders" and porn thumb images popped up.

case #2 when I checked a student's history he had typed in "penthouse" and when I asked him why he would do that he said,
"I saw on MTV that Mariah Carey lives in a penthouse." Hmmm????

I'm glad for the filters though.