Spy school vice principal slams "abhorrent" allegations

25 Feb 2010
Magnifying glass

The vice principal of Harriton High claims she has never monitored a student over webcam, or authorised the action

The Harriton High School vice principal at the centre of the webcam spying row has hit back at the "offensive, abhorrent and outrageous" allegations.

Lynn Matsko allegedly called 15-year-old Blake Robbins into her office and disciplined him for "improper behaviour" using footage taken through his laptop webcam as evidence.

The school is now being sued by Robbins' family, and reading a prepared statement, Matsko gave an emotional response to the allegations.

"At no point in time did I have the ability to access any webcam through security-tracking software," said Matsko. "At no time I have ever monitored a student through a laptop webcam, nor have I ever authorised the monitoring of a student through a security-tracking webcam – either at school, or in the home, and I never would."

"I find the allegations, and implications, that I would ever engage in such conduct offensive, abhorrent and outrageous."

Matsko also offered a defence of her meeting with Robbins, though stopped short of offering specific details of its purpose, claiming she had been advised to keep the facts to herself by counsel.

"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 school-related event. That is not and have never been and never should be my role," Matsko said.

The family responds

Shortly after Matsko issued her statement, the family responded with one of its own. "Nothing in Ms Matsko's statement is inconsistent with what we stated in our complaint," said Blake Robbins (PDF).

"Ms Matsko does not deny that she saw a webcam picture and screenshot of Blake in his home; she only denies that she is the one who activated the webcam."

The family also claimed that Matsko was not intended to become the centrepiece of the case. "This case is about the decision by the School Board of Lower Merion School District to place software in students’ computers, computers they knew were going to be taken home, which software could be remotely activated to take snapshots of whatever may be on the students screens and a picture of whatever may be in front of the camera."

"We need to learn to what extent the 'peeping tom' technology was used by the School District or any employee of the school district," Robbins concluded.

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