A high school assistant principal in the Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania lashes out about the Webcam spying allegations, while the student at the center of the case says her denials fall short.
The Webcam spying allegations that have rocked Pennsylvania's
School District turned into a
verbal sparring match Feb. 24 when a high school administrator
offered an emotionally charged rebuttal that the family suing the
district said does not constitute a denial of relevant facts.
The parents of Harriton High
School student Blake Robbins filed a class action lawsuit
(PDF) Feb. 11
alleging that the school remotely activated a Webcam and took a picture of
their son, which they accuse Assistant Principal Lynn Matsko of
citing as evidence that he was engaged in "improper
behavior in his home."
In response to what she termed "many false accusations reported about
me in the media," Matsko
denied any involvement in spying
on Robbins or any other student.
"If I believed anyone was spying on either of my children in our home,
I too would be outraged ... At no point in time did I have the ability to access
any Webcam through security tracking software," Matsko said. "At no
time have I ever monitored a student via a laptop Webcam, nor have I ever
authorized the monitoring of a student via security tracking Webcam either at
school or within the home. And I never would."
She continued, "In my 10-plus years as an assistant principal I have
never disciplined a student for conduct he or she engaged in outside of school
property that is not in connection with school, or a school-related event. That
is not, has never been and never should be my role."
Calling the allegations "abhorrent and outrageous," Matsko said
she has been subjected to numerous "offensive and threatening" e-mail
messages since the controversy broke.
After her statement, Robbins
read a statement to the media
in which he stressed that the intent of the
suit was not to disparage Matsko, but to take the school board to task for
green-lighting the technology involved in the accusation.
The students' MacBook laptops were outfitted with management software called
LANrev that could be used to remotely activate the Webcams. The district has
characterized the technology as a security tracking feature intended to recover
lost laptops, and has reported that the software had been used for this purpose
42 times as of Feb. 19.
In his statement, Robbins noted that Matsko did not deny seeing a Webcam
picture and screenshot of him in his home-she denied having authorized or activated
"We have no reason to doubt Ms. Matsko's statement that she did not
personally activate the Webcam on my computer, but that has never been the
issue," he said. "The issue is that we know someone accessed my Webcam
and provided Ms. Matsko with a screenshot and a Webcam picture of me at home in
In an interview with the Philadelphia
an attorney representing the Robbins family
claimed Matsko told the student directly that he had been observed
via the Webcam "trying to sell pills."
After being notified of the lawsuit, the district disabled the feature and
pledged not to re-enable it without notifying students and their family
members. Meanwhile, the
FBI and local investigators
have reportedly opened up an investigation into