Another webcam claim settled in Lower Merion

Posted: August 23, 2011

The Lower Merion School District has agreed to pay $10,000 to a teen secretly recorded by his school-issued laptop, the fourth settlement with a student since the webcam scandal broke last year.

The school board approved the payout at its meeting Monday night, spokesman Doug Young said.

Lower Merion paid more than $1.6 million last year to litigate and settle allegations that it spied on students through webcams on the laptops it gave to each of its nearly 2,300 high school students.

The district acknowledged that it had tracking software that let it remotely activate webcams on the laptops and view the images. In less than two years, staffers turned on webcams on more than 40 laptops, typically after students reported the computers lost or stolen.

But Lower Merion employees often forgot to turn off the cameras, and the computers captured and sent more than 65,000 images to district computer servers.

The district has since implemented policies banning any tracking of laptops without the knowledge and permission of students and their parents.

The settlements include $175,000 paid to Blake Robbins, a Harriton High School student who exposed the practice in a lawsuit that drew worldwide attention. Two other students received $10,000 last year to settle claims.

Still pending is a related lawsuit filed by a former student, Joshua Levin.

Young, the district spokesman, said he was unaware of any other outstanding claims related to the laptop webcams.


Contact staff writer John P. Martin at 215-854-4774 or jmartin@phillynews.com.

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