A Travesty of Justice

The sad story of Julie Amero has been all over the ‘Net. If you haven’t read about the Connecticut teacher, you can read the Washington Post article or similar coverage from USA Today.

Ms. Amero was a substitute teacher in Norwich, CT back in 2004, recently convicted of “endangering students by exposing them to pornographic material displayed on a classroom computer.”

According to The Post…

On the morning of Oct 19, 2004, Amero said she reported for duty at a seventh grade classroom at Kelly Middle School in Norwich, Conn. After stepping out into the hall for a moment, Amero returned to find two students hovering over the computer at the teacher’s desk. As supported by an analysis of her computer during the court proceedings, the site the children were looking at was a seemingly innocuous hairstyling site called “new-hair-styles.com.” Amero said that shortly thereafter, she noticed a series of new Web browser windows opening up displaying pornographic images, and that no matter how quickly she closed each one out, another would pop up in its place.

“I went back to computer and found a bunch of pop-ups,” Amero said. “They wouldn’t go away. I mean, some of the sites stayed on there no matter how many times I clicked the red X, and others would just pop back up.”

Here’s a substitute teacher in a class not her own, using a computer, not her own. Apparently, she is pretty much of a technophobe, and quite out of her league on this one.

Let me add some of my own comments to this travesty.

  • Consider that this was in 2004, the operating system was Windows 98, and the browser was Internet Explorer 5 (outdated and quite insecure). There was no filtering software on the school’s network, no anti-virus software that might check for invasive malware. Malware of the type that generates pop-up windows was found on that computer.
  • Ms. Amero knew little about computers or what to do to stop the hundreds of pop-ups that were appearing. According to the story, she asked for help in the teacher’s lounge and received little support.
  • Think back to 2004. Ever know anyone whose computer was totally inundated by pop-ups, pornographic or otherwise? Yes, there are pop-up ads for items other than porn.
  • Due to technicalities, supporting defense arguments were not allowed.
  • Why was this case even prosecuted? What did this poor lady do?
  • For a different take on this incident, here is the story from The Norwich Bulletin. I may be biased, but I don’t buy their self-righteous viewpoint.
  • This woman could be sentenced to as much as 40 years in prison on March 2.
  • Can children really be “endangered” by viewing “pornographic material? Why aren’t they “endangered” by viewing violence at home or on television?

Let me leave you with this last word. If you think this is wrong, take a look at the Julie Amero Defense Fund blog. At that location, you’ll find a way to contribute to her fund as well as the addresses of the prosecuting attorney, school district officials, and other governmental muckity mucks.

 

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One response to “A Travesty of Justice

  1. Pingback: Julie Amero « Notes From Neal

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