Friday, January 20, 2006

Guilty until Proven Innocent

Quick note to any newcomers: I am a high school senior in a small town school.  Read more about me here.

Apparently, I’m a terrorist now.  Three days ago, I was reading Digg in the I.M.C. (Intermedia Center, or something like that; It could be Latin for “Mac lab.”) when I stumbled across an article about ScanTrons.  “Why, I’m a high school student, and I take ScanTron tests,” I said to myself.  “This article relates to me.  Perhaps I shall read it.”  So I did.  The I.M.C. Nazi told me, however, that I should not be looking at that, and I cannot return to the I.M.C. for the entire day.  A travesty indeed; I love using ancient iMacs!  Whatever shall I do?

Anyway, two days later (yesterday), I was taking a physics test (at on an iBook when the dean called.  He wanted to talk to me.  (Yay…)  Apparently, I’ve been looking at inappropriate content.  ScanTron cheating, blow darts, killing my friends, and MAKING A BOMB!  I’ll get back to the ScanTron hacking and blow darts, but the killing my friends and making a bomb was bullshit, pure and simple.  I’ve never looked up that shit, neither at home nor at school.  I told him that, but he ignored me.  He had screenshots.  He said that I needed to meet with him at 7:00 (A.-fricking-M.) with my parents.  He called my mom right in front of me in order to scare me.  She was in the shower, so she answered neither the home phone nor the cell phone.  Now I’m a terrorist with a negligent mother.  Anyway, he left a message, and I was on my way.

So this morning at 7, my parents and I went to see the dean.  blah, blah, blah… inappropriate… blah, blah… ScanTron… blah, blah, blah…  Here’s a sceenshot of the killing my friends/making a bomb site.  Here’s where I spoke up.  I inspected the printout and told him, “This wasn’t me.  I’ve never been to this web site before.”  The dean clearly did not believe me, so I extrapolated.  “This is a screenshot from Internet Explorer.  I never use Internet Explorer; I use Safari.”  Then I snagged a different screenshot printout (the ScanTron hacking site, I believe).  “This is Safari.  I always use Safari because it has a pop-up blocker and tabbed browsing.  I don’t know who was looking at this, but it wasn’t me.”  The dean didn’t say much, but he didn’t seem to believe me.  With no other evidence, I shut up for the remainder of the meeting and took my punishment, a surprisingly short sentence of one week without computer access and one detention (which is only 40 minutes at Frewsburg).

Finally, the ScanTron hacking and blow darts.  If I’m not mistaken, the blow darts refer to the USB controlled foam dart shooter that was featured on Digg, Engadget, or some other site.  The ScanTron hacking, I am fully guilty of.  I read an article on cheating.  Now, every test I take, ScanTron or not, is going to be checked repeatedly for cheating (just a hunch).  I was under the impression that the expensive Internet filter that the school uses was designed to prevent me from accessing “inappropriate” web sites, obviously I was wrong.  Now, coupled with the screenshot-taking software that allegedly cost more that the entire computer lab, the Computer Nazis have total control over what I access.  That makes sense; I am there to learn.  It’s the fact that I have no way to defend myself against these accusations that bothers me.  Fortunately, I believe that I’m getting a USB thumb drive for my birthday (this Monday, party with gifts on Sunday).  I’m going to find a logging program and use it from now on, so that I have some evidence on my side.  The only bitch is getting that kind of software to run on a Mac…

If anyone has any suggestions, please comment here or on this Digg article (or both, whatever).

The school’s web site is found here: