The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

High Schoolers to Face Felony Charges over Internet Downloads

by Brendan Coyne

Aug. 11, 2005 – More than a dozen students at a Pennsylvania high school are facing felony charges after allegedly violating school rules on downloading programs and other uses of laptops provided to the children through a new initiative.

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The Kutztown Area High School students allegedly bypassed security measures on school-provided laptop computers, allowing them to download instant messenger programs, music and even, in one case, pornography, the Morning Call reported on August 1.

At least thirteen students reportedly stand accused of violating rules supposedly agreed to upon receipt of the computers. In a May 31 letter, law enforcement officials notified parents of the alleged perpetrators that the children were being charged with "Computer Trespass," a third degree felony.

The letter notified parents that the children "must present themselves in a timely manner to the arresting police department for the purposes of fingerprinting and identification."

In a statement, the school district defended referring the case to police, alleging that other forms of punishment – which the district said included suspension, detention and loss of computer privileges – failed to deter the students from misusing the laptops.

Juvenile probation officers told the Reading Eagle that the youths would likely receive sentences of one year on probation if convicted. The first hearing is scheduled for August 24, the AP reports.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Brendan Coyne is a contributing journalist.

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