Spring 2014 F.E.E. Topic Pool

Tuesday Classes


1.     Online Anonymity

A large number of online news sites and social media outlets allow users to post comments anonymously. Some have criticized this practice because they believe this anonymity emboldens certain users to make racist, sexist, or threatening remarks without fear of discovery or consequences. Recently, however, more websites are requiring any users who wish to make comments to first submit their real names and email addresses. Should all websites require this kind of identification before allowing people to post comments online?

2.     Monitoring Students’ Online Behavior

The Glendale Unified School District recently hired a firm to monitor the social media postings of their students because they want to “protect students from harm” resulting from cyber-bullying, suicidal feelings, and drug or alcohol use. Supporters say this action will enable the district to intervene when students post troubling or threatening messages online, but some fear that students may feel spied upon or may forge postings just to get other students into trouble. Is the Glendale School District’s decision to monitor their students’ online behavior sensible? 

3.     Spanking Law

A representative from Kansas recently proposed a bill to the state senate that would make it legal for educators and child caregivers to spank a child “up to ten”  times in a way that might result in “redness or bruising.”  The bill’s sponsor says she merely wants to provide clear legal guidelines for certain kinds of corporal punishment that are already permitted in the state, and she notes that 49 states legalize parental corporal punishment.  Should laws clearly defining acceptable forms of physical punishment for children be considered by more states?

4.     Teenager Sues Parents

Recently, Rachel Canning, an 18-year-old high school honors student, took her parents to court because they allegedly kicked her out of the house when she turned eighteen. Ms. Canning asked the court to force her parents to pay her private high school tuition fees and living expenses, as well as to help pay for her college education. Her parents, however, insist that she left the house on her own because she did not want to abide by their rules. Should teenagers be permitted to sue their parents for child support and college costs?