They actually convicted Amero?!?

Julie Amero, a seventh grade substitute teacher in Connecticut, was just convicted of “impairing the morals of a child”. Apparently a computer in the classroom got stuck in an uncontrolled sequence of porn pop-ups, she became predictably flustered, and couldn’t immediately figure out how to fix the problem. As a consequence some jr. high kids were momentarily exposed to the web’s dark side (which many of them have probably been exploring in much more detail on their own), and Ms. Amero is potentially looking at jail time.

For a nice discussion visit PeeZed (where I first learned of it); for a news report go to this story in a Connecticut newspaper.

This really struck a chord with me, because I had something like this happen to me in my office several years ago. I was helping a student find something on-line, and we got trapped by a porn site with a domain name similar to a “real” site (like the old scam). The pop-ups started flying everywhere, coming up way faster than I could close them. The whole mess was chewing up so much of my computer’s resources that it took what seemed like forever to get to a place where I could kill my browser. I was mortally embarrassed. Luckily the student thought it was just damned funny, but I kept thinking about distressing it would be if something like that happened in front of a class full of students. I’ve taken pop-up blocking very seriously ever since.

That Ms. Amero might get jail time because of something like this is (to me) pretty terrifying. As PeeZed pointed out in his post, she’s essentially being convicted of not being super computer literate.

It is the 21st century, after all — lack of expertise with a computer is a crime, here in the future.

Way creepy.

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