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Jan 26, 2007, 02:12 AM
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gtstubbs's Avatar
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Why would you want to be a teacher.


Either there is more to this story or this poor women is being shafted

Quote:
Substitute Teacher Faces Jail Time Over Spyware

A 40-year-old former substitute teacher from Connecticut is facing prison time following her conviction for endangering students by exposing them to ****ographic material displayed on a classroom computer.

Local prosecutors charged that the teacher was caught red-handed surfing for p*** in the presence of seventh graders. The defense claimed the graphic images were pop-up ads generated by spyware already present on the computer prior to the teacher's arrival. The jury sided with the prosecution and convicted her of four counts of endangering a child, a crime that brings a punishment of up to 10 years per count. She is due to be sentenced on March 2.

I had a chance this week to speak with the accused, Windham, Conn., resident Julie Amero. Amero described herself as the kind of person who can hardly find the power button on a computer, saying she often relies on written instructions from her husband explaining how to access e-mail, sign into instant messaging accounts and other relatively simple tasks.

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 ***ographic 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."

Amero said she panicked and ran down the hall to the teacher's lounge to ask for help. "I dared not turn the the computer off. The teacher had asked me not to sign him out" of the computer, she recalled. Amero said none of the teachers in the lounge moved to help her, and that another teacher later told her to ignore the ads, that they were a common annoyance. Later on, prosecutors would ask why she hadn't just thrown a coat or a sweater over monitor. On that day Amero hadn't worn either.

Several children told their parents about the incident, who in turn demanded answers from the school's principal. Three days later, school administrators told Amero she was not welcome back. Not long after that, local police arrested her on charges of risking injury to several students.

The case came to trial this month, and computer expert W. Herbert Horner testified for the defense that the images were the result of incessant pop-up ads served by spyware on the classroom computer. The prosecution's expert, a local police officer, said time-stamped logs on the machine showing adult-themed images and Web pages accessed by the Web browser at the time she was in the classroom proved that someone had intentionally visited the sites by clicking on a link or typing the address into the browser address bar.

An explanation for this is that Web browser logs will keep records of sites accessed whether they were generated by internal pop-up serving software or clicked on by a user. Also, try not to dwell on the fact that the judge in the case barred Horner from presenting technical evidence to back up his claims. Horner on Monday published a summary of the facts he would have presented were he allowed to at trial.

I checked out theInternet Archive's view of the site referenced in this case, and it is clear that the page was a gateway site for the type of products typically promoted by spam ... my anti-virus program alerted me that it was trying to drop a Trojan horse program on my machine (Trojans are generally used to download malicious software to your PC). The spyware was attempting to load itself onto my computer despite the fact that I was using Internet Explorer 7 and up-to-date anti-virus software.

Try also to ignore that the computer in question was a Microsoft Windows 98 machine running an outdated version of Internet Explorer Web browser (IE 5.0), or that the school's license for its firewall program prior to the date of the alleged incident. Likewise, the machine's anti-virus software (Cheyenne Software) was expired and it lacked any anti-spyware tools. In short, the Windows 98 computer was completely exposed to the Internet without any kind of protection.

Then there is the admission by the prosecution that it had failed to conduct even a rudimentary scan of the computer's hard drive with anti-spyware software. Amero's defense said that had it been allowed to present its full testimony, it would have shown the results of spyware software scans on the PC she used, which found two adware programs and at least one Trojan horse program. The logs showed that all of the unwanted programs had been installed weeks prior to the alleged incident, the defense claims.

...

I spoke briefly with Amero's attorney, who said: "I sincerely believe that had we been allowed to present our testimony in full, Julie would not have been convicted. This is a grave miscarriage of justice." With no prior convictions or criminal history, Amero was eligible under state law for "auxiliary rehabilitation," meaning she could have the charges expunged by agreeing to a short probationary period (provided she didn't get arrested again during that period). But, insistent upon her innocence, she chose to fight the charges.

A number of blogs have recently spoken up on Amero's behalf. Also, a former Massachusetts school administrator recently called on the state governor to pardon Amero and expunge the conviction. Even the local paper, firmly convinced of Amero's guilt, called for lenience in her sentencing.

...
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/secur....html#comments
Jan 26, 2007, 03:56 AM
Registered User
There must be a heck of a lot more to it than that for it to have gone that far.

In 2004, using W98 with IE5, expired AV software etc on a machine that has access to the internet - well its hardly surprising it picked up spyware (and probably a few other things).

The school would seem to be more guilty for not having proper web filtering/AV etc sytems in place.

The only thing she would appear to be guilty of (on the evidence presented in that post) is of not keeping control of the class - by the fact they were using the pc on her desk to access the internet while she was momentarily out the class (unless this is accepted practice in this school). But certainly not "four counts of endangering a child".

Had she been a little more computer competant (which in this day and age - especially being a teacher - she really ought to be [though many people of that 'vintage' sadly fail in this respect]), she could merely have switched off the monitor and continued taking the class (and delt with the problem later).

Again with a little more computer competancy, if the incident had really been a problem to the kids in the class, it could have been used as a learning opportunity - even as simple as a short class discussion on internet safety/'bad' websites. And probably become a non issue.
Jan 26, 2007, 06:36 AM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
Another case of guilty until you prove yourself innocent?

It has always amazed me that if you are charged of something, but are innocent. If you stick with pleading your innocence but can't prove it, you could go to jail for a long time. Yet if your willing to plead guilty to something you haven't done, you could get a reduced sentence.

As to the header, 'Why would you want to be a teacher', no way, even if the job was well payed, you were allowed to carry a gun, an electric cattle prod, and body armour, still no way.
Jan 26, 2007, 07:21 AM
Out of Time
Nah, I think this is a simple case of the defense not knowing what they were doing.
All that happened here is that the defense FAILED TO EDUCATE the jury about how that stuff can happen and take over a computer.

All the jury could think about was "objectional material in a classroom and the teacher did it" instead of being taught about what really happened.

Chalk this on up to "ignorant jury" brought about by "poor defense" on the part of the teacher's attorney.
She'll get acquitted on appeal.

Highflight
Jan 26, 2007, 07:29 AM
Registered User
AndreyT's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce_c
There must be a heck of a lot more to it than that for it to have gone that far.
Of course there is. "[Child] p**n on the computer" is currently used as a very popular and very convenient "cause" used by the current regime when it wants someone arrested. Virtually any computer connected to Internet will have p**n stored on the hard drive in one way or another, without any assitance form the actual user. (Just mistype an URL, get to the wrong site and you have it. Remember, not so long ago 'whitehouse.com' was a p**n site?) Of course, the regime doesn't want to loose this convenience. And this woman teacher is just a poor accidental victim of that. Of course, the prosecutors received specific orders to ignore any arguments that suggest that the user of the computer is not necessarily responsible for the information that got to the compuler without his/her knowledge. They don't want to create a precedent that would allow an innocent person to defend itself.
Jan 26, 2007, 09:00 AM
Out of Time
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreyT
Of course there is. "[Child] p**n on the computer" is currently used as a very popular and very convenient "cause" used by the current regime when it wants someone arrested.
Right On Brother!
And hey, how about that thing where we all know that what hit the Pentagon on 911 wasn't really an airliner, it was really a rocket that Bush himself authorized to be fired at it.
Then add that to the well known fact that there were no Jews in any of the Twin Towers, factor in this teacher who Bush framed for doing nasty stuff on her computer, and we're really getting somewhere with the TRUTH.

Gotta love it.

Highflight
Jan 26, 2007, 09:17 AM
You win again, gravity!
Muxje's Avatar
I'm sure the law doesn't work like this intentionally, but it's still a scary thought that you can get 40 years for a few popups on a classroom computer.

Even if she wins on appeal, she'll still be out a substantial amount of $ in legal fees... all for a case that I think should never have seen the inside of a court house.
Jan 26, 2007, 09:54 AM
I believe much more fault lies with the school and its IT department (if it even has one), than with the teacher.

Whoever maintains (or doesn't, in this case) the school's computers is at the very least, grossly negligent in allowing such a situation to develop in the first place. Knowing what nefarious viruses, spyware, phishes, inappropriate websites, etc. are out there on the web--and doing nothing to prevent them finding their way onto a school computer and eventually in front of kids--borders on criminal, IMHO.

OTOH, if the people in charge of these PC's aren't familiar by now with the dangers presented by web connectivity, they should not be in a position of being responsible to guard against them in the first place.

This is an unfortunate case of a teacher being set up, due primarily to gross negligence and incompetence on the school's part, and/or a lack of a comprehensive school policy and set of procedures in place to prevent such incidents (and far worse ones). The school should be held responsible and liable right along with her, IMHO.

Additionally, whatever nimrod defense attorney she had ought to be disbarred for not proving her case and getting an acquittal. It should have been a cakewalk for him were he anything resembling technically savvy with the internet. Ignorance of stuff like this is inexcusable in this day and age--it's not a new or isolated phenomenon by any means.

GWB and his policies have absolutely nothing to do with this, Andrey. But I found your inane, unsubstantiated, and wildly absurd conspiracy theory quite amusing. Thanks for the chuckle.

Rick
Jan 26, 2007, 10:19 AM
Why has no one questioned why a person who lacks the basic skills to keep order in her class, the mental capacity to take charge of such a situation, and the ability to pull the plug on the computer was allowed the responsibility of teaching children in the first place.
Feb 17, 2007, 07:03 PM
Registered User
I work with a bunch of teachers as I am one and I must say that there are quite a few that are total idiots. And substitutes are either really old retired teachers who know nothing about computers, or they a recently graduated from school and too incompetent to get hired for a real teaching job. Personally, I sleeped through college and graduated with high honors. It boggles my mind how many teachers I've heard complaining about how tough college or how hard the certification exams were. The computer teacher at my school refers the whole computer tower as a hard drive. It is beyond her knowledge that the tower is not just a hard drive but rather it is the computer. I once tried explaining to her that there is also a power supply, a mother board with a cpu on it, a sound card, a video card, a network card, a cd drive, and some memory in that box she refers to as a hard drive. Did she get it, nope! And she is the schools computer teacher and also in charge of solving computer problems for other teachers and the school. I once asked her if she had a 100ft network cable so I could move my computer to the other side of my room, she brought me a 5ft cable and said, "is this long enough?" Stupid people anoy me!
Feb 17, 2007, 07:13 PM
Get One Up!!!
leccyflyer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skysailor
I work with a bunch of teachers as I am one and I must say that there are quite a few that are total idiots. And substitutes are either really old retired teachers who know nothing about computers, or they a recently graduated from school and too incompetent to get hired for a real teaching job. Personally, I sleeped through college and graduated with high honors. It boggles my mind how many teachers I've heard complaining about how tough college or how hard the certification exams were. The computer teacher at my school refers the whole computer tower as a hard drive. It is beyond her knowledge that the tower is not just a hard drive but rather it is the computer. I once tried explaining to her that there is also a power supply, a mother board with a cpu on it, a sound card, a video card, a network card, a cd drive, and some memory in that box she refers to as a hard drive. Did she get it, nope! And she is the schools computer teacher and also in charge of solving computer problems for other teachers and the school. I once asked her if she had a 100ft network cable so I could move my computer to the other side of my room, she brought me a 5ft cable and said, "is this long enough?" Stupid people anoy me!
That's curious.

Your profile says that you are a student, not a teacher.

Which is at least consistent with your post.
Feb 17, 2007, 08:01 PM
Suspended Account
sarge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skysailor
I work with a bunch of teachers as I am one and I must say that there are quite a few that are total idiots.
Not English, I assume?
Feb 17, 2007, 08:23 PM
Registered User
Sorry, I haven't updated my profile in years. I just did, does that make you happy.
Feb 18, 2007, 04:48 AM
Get One Up!!!
leccyflyer's Avatar
I'm fine. Not sure of what your teaching colleagues would make of that attitude as expressed in your rant though.
Feb 18, 2007, 05:43 AM
sensitive artsy type
Treetop's Avatar
You know, the best teachers I had in school never had discipline problems with their students. Funny how that works. They kept us interested.


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