Students in the state of Illinois better watch what they say about each other on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. The legislature there has granted school administrators the power to demand kids' social media passwords to make sure they aren't bullying each other-even outside of school hours.
Previously, authority figures had the right to log in to students' social media accounts if they were caught using their devices at school. But legislators didn't think that policy went far enough in discouraging bad behavior. Illinois' new cyberbullying law, which took effect this year, gives school officials the ability to demand passwords if they merely suspect students of bullying each other, regardless of when or where the alleged bothering took place.
The law thus lets school personnel encroach on parental territory and student privacy. "It's one thing for me to take my child's social media account and open it up, or for the teacher to look or even a child to pull up their social media account, but to have to hand over your password and personal information is not acceptable to me," parent Sara Bozarth told KTVI.
Teens who finish high school still aren't safe from would-be snoopers. The new law applies to public university students as well.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Password Powers".