Michigan school district spied on parents’ Facebook groups

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Big Brother is watching. Well, at least one school district in Michigan is.

A Michigan school district is under fire after school officials monitored social media posts by parents who criticized the district’s COVID-19 policy and then reported those parents to their employers. Specific Facebook groups “RCS Parents for In-Person Education” and “Conservative Parents for Rochester” were heavily monitored.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Robert Shaner, the superintendent of community schools in Rochester, called the police because he was “concerned and frightened” by the parents’ “aggressive” posts on social media. Shaner testified in a Feb. 3 deposition that he went so far as to call a relative’s employer.

The deposition was part of a lawsuit filed by mother Elena Dinverno, mother of two children from Rochester Community Schools. The lawsuit filed in May 2021 alleges that Shaner and a school board member contacted Dinverno’s employer and falsely claimed she had made threats against the board. As a result, Dinverno lost his job at Blake’s Hard Cider.

During his deposition, Superintendent Shaner defended the actions of the Rochester School District saying,

“Yeah, again, I just want to be clear on social media. We watch it and try to make sure we know what’s going on in our community, but that’s not the only place we get information. on social media. Believe it or not, there are parents who support what we do, and they often share with us what is happening on social media…”, he said.“Yes, we appreciate input from all parents, and we certainly want to keep our thumbs on the pulse of the community, so we are monitoring social media very closely on all fronts and making sure we are responsive to the community. “.

According to reports, The lawsuit accused the district of retaliation in violation of First Amendment law and seeks compensation for “past and future economic and non-economic damages,” as well as a court injunction restraining further retaliation. The school board claimed last week that the lawsuit had been settled, but that has not been confirmed by a press release or news outlets at this time.

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