The Philadelphia suburban school system that was caught spying on its students using webcams installed in school-issued laptops has settled a lawsuit brought against them by the parents of one of its students.
The Lower Merion School District will pay out $610,000 in overall damages. But look who gets the lion’s share of the loot. The dosh is to be divided accordingly: $175,000 goes to the boy whose family brought the initial lawsuit, $10,000 to another boy whose family also sued the school district, and—wait for it—$425,000 to the legal eagle who represented the plaintiffs! Almost 70% of the settlement money is going to the blood sucking lawyer!
A little background on this story….The Lower Merion School District, located along Philadelphia’s monied Mainline, distributed 1,800 laptops to their high school pupils. Ostensibly given out to ensure that the students had access to the school district’s resources on a 24/7 basis, the laptops also came equipped with embedded Webcams. But what the school authorities failed to tell the students and their parents about this government-funded giveaway was that the Webcams could be remotely activated by the school district at any time without the students’ or parents’ knowledge nor indeed their consent.
At the center of the controversy was Blake Robbins, a student at Harriton High School. Blake told CBS News that Assistant Principal Matsko accused him of taking pills and selling drugs. Matsko presented Blake with a photograph of himself taken in his bedroom by the school district’s laptop Webcam. When Michael Robbins, Blake’s father, confronted the school district over the spying and the drug accusations against his son (the ‘drugs’ turned out to be candy), the educational elites at Lower Merion School district sneered at the father’s concerns and refused to disconnect the Webcams. It was only when Mr. Robbins filed a lawsuit against the school district and news of the spying hit the national headlines that the snooty Mainline administrators deigned to turned off the spycams. The We-Know-Best Bureaucrats are now so, so sorry for the misunderstanding.
The taxpayers’ hard-earned money will now move from the sticky hands of our unionized public employees and fall neatly into the greasy palms of the hail and hearty hucksters of the legal shakedown brigade. Ah, the fleecing of America—the beat goes on.