User-agent: * Allow: / Legal news, political opinion, Satire, and lawyer thinking by Tim Paynter, Attorney at Law: Blake Robbins v. LMSD – Lynn Matsko, Phy webcam spying while eating Mike and Ike’s, was there a voyeur at Harriton High? Missing images and pics are suspicious!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Blake Robbins v. LMSD – Lynn Matsko, Phy webcam spying while eating Mike and Ike’s, was there a voyeur at Harriton High? Missing images and pics are suspicious!

It has been some time since we visited the matter of Blake Robbins in his battle against the Lower Merion School District ( LMSD ).  Before, I reported on how Pennsylvania school administrators used lap top spy cams to peer in student lives.  In Blake Robbins's case, the school caught the teen eating Mike and Ike’s candies.  Apparently, a peeping tom with bad eyesight interpreted the Mike and Ike’s to be prescription drugs.  Blake reportedly claims the school has pictures of him in the buff.

Some say the school caught young Blake doing un-natural things in the privacy of his bedroom.  Others say what he was doing was quite natural.  Eating Mike and Ike’s can’t be all that bad!  If the official investigation is accurate no nudity was caught.  Their exact words in footnote 129 are:

“Among all of the webcam photographs recovered in the investigation there are a number of photographs of males without shirts…None of the photographs contains what would commonly be considered ‘nakedness.’”
According to the on-line publication, Info Security, the school district likely caught the under-age youth in states of undress that go beyond just underwear.  More, the number of photos taken to identify a supposed computer burglar reportedly go far beyond those needed to catch a thief.  Info Security suggests LMSD might have as many as 400 photos, way more than it needed to see who had a “stolen lap top” that was never reported stolen.

I predicted the media coverage of the small Pennsylvania school would drop off the face of the Earth.  Then, the folks grabbing headlines, and the rest of the community, would soon be left to fend for themselves.  Things change a lot when the camera points another direction.  I urged LMSD to look for an immediate solution for the benefit of the students, faculty and town’s people, stricktly from my own point of view.  I guess they didn’t like my suggestion, or maybe they don’t like to read.

Was I right?  While things may have gone back to business as usual on the face of it, I suspect below the surface there is a smoldering fire!  What a tragic thing for a modern school and a great senior class!

I find the report from Ballar Spahr suspicious.  LMSD promptly posted it on their website for supporters to see.  That is an indication the “independent report” maybe was not so independent.  These are just thoughts, of course.  The true proof is in the pudding, or in the photographs the Plaintiff should eventually get.   Ahem, maybe that is photographs of plaintiffs.

How is it, hours of video were taken but nothing of a delicate nature was recorded?  How is it, images were purged from computers?  Why would anyone purge images of evidence of recovered or missing laptops? 

In fact, the Report recommends:

“Ensure that all images captured via the LANrev TheftTrack feature that are in the possession of the District or its agents are permanently destroyed promptly after the foregoing process and any litigation or governmental investigation that
requires the preservation of such images has concluded”

Locked away and secured is one thing.  Destroyed is another.  They don’t even destroy evidence in rape cases!

Then there is this jig-saw puzzle:

“Adopt as soon as practicable an official policy prohibiting the remote capturing of screenshots from computers issued to students (except to the extent that may be permitted by official policies and procedures governing the manner and circumstances in which District personnel may remotely access computers issued to students or review any data contained on computers issued to students)
That sounds like government double talk meaning, but if you do it again, fine.  Just hide it in the “policy”.

The report is also troubling because it fails to find adequate fault with those who let this powerful piece of peeping tom go unchecked, I think.  It dances around responsibility.  From my point of view, the solution to this case does not lie in the middle of the road, although some of the people involved want to walk that line. 

Assistant Vice Principal, Lyn Matsko, is pulling the traditional, “Not my fault” gig if the report in is accurate.  Matsko reportedly said,

“I have never disciplined a student for conduct he or she engaged in outside of school property that is not in connection with school”

I am not sure what watching someone eat Mike and Ike’s in his underwear has to do with school, assuming there was really no watching of the “no nakedness”.   

It may turn out this is all-to-do-‘bout-nuttin.  I have no knowledge of the independent report or what LMSD saw when it peeped through the web cam of a school issued lap-top, or any other detail.  All this article contains is a point of view. 

I guess the jist is, if you have news of the Blake J. Robbins v LMSD case, I would love to hear from you.  I am speaking about student attitudes, school pride, how the community has been affected and how your confidence in your government was affected. 

I can’t speak for my fellow Americans but the case really hit a note with me.  Over-reaching by the people who are all-powerful is vicious.  It has led us to a country in which people are afraid to speak out.  Some have been held in jail without the right to go before a judge, much less speak to an attorney.  The notion of the Miranda rights has evaporated for a segment of the population in Arizona.  This is not the United States I knew as a kid!

Please know people from LMSD, I am in your court.  Most of us were young once and we were concerned about abusive government powers.  Sad to say, our generation has not done much to prevent government excesses.  We look to the future generation to safeguard basic human dignity and human rights.  That means Blake Robbins, the student body from Harriton High School in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, the Lower Merion School District, and all young people, protect your rights, keep your government in check.  This is a great lesson for the future leaders of the nation!  But it is a sad lesson indeed!

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