Outrage online is palpable as a Baltimore mother is sounding the alarm about webcam classes, after a teacher took a screenshot of her son’s bedroom and shared it with police.
Courtney Lancaster Sperry, a Navy veteran of four years, was shocked when police arrived at her doorstep unannounced last month, asking to search her home and speak to her 11-year-old son.
The incident has sparked outrage across Twitter and Facebook, as many called for the school administrators to be fired for “spying on kids,” while others want the police officers to be fired for conducting a warrantless search of private property over a frivolous claim. Sperry herself was also criticized for entertaining the invasion of privacy in the first place.
The mother claimed the officers were “appalled at the call” to her home but that they commended her son for his “respect and understanding” of the BB guns which had apparently offended some members of staff at the boy’s school, Seneca Elementary, none of whom contacted Sperry or her partner with any concerns.
INSANE: School safety officer notified when boy’s BB gun is spotted on his wall through his Web cam while he’s attending VIRTUAL school. Principal equates the electronic depiction of the boy’s bedroom wall w/ bringing a weapon to school. Cops search house.https://t.co/PRhuQha3TE pic.twitter.com/HZTNd3zoUD
— John Dias 🇺🇸 (@TheRealJohnDias) June 11, 2020
“I found out that screenshots of my MINOR CHILD’S BEDROOM was taken by BCPS and BCPS is refusing to provide me with those pictures because it is not ‘part of the student’s record,’” an irate Sperry posted on Facebook.
“Screenshots are being taken of minor children in their bedrooms?”
Principal Jason Feiler reportedly called the police, claiming that “just as [Sperry’s son] cannot BRING guns to school, he cannot BRING them to virtual meetings as well and this is in the handbook,” according to Sperry.
The police carried out a 20-minute search of the home despite no criminal wrongdoing alleged, no probable cause, and no warrant, and left without so much as a warning issued.
“I feel extremely violated and so does my son,” Sperry said of the incident, adding that her fifth-grader son is also a boy scout who also trains in archery who, like many of his peers, has been engaged in virtual learning since schools shut down in March.
“Virtual learning may work well for you, but make sure nothing in your home offends anyone and you may spend the next couple of weeks circumventing the invasion and violation that I did today,” Sperry said, raising additional concerns about who is on the calls, how many people could view them or view content from the lessons and what becomes of any content captured during class time.
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