Here’s a tragic story: a teacher convicted.
The six-person jury Friday … convicted Amero, 40, of Windham of four counts of risk of injury to a minor, or impairing the morals of a child. It took them less than two hours to decide the verdict. She faces a sentence of up to 40 years in prison.
Her crime? A computer in her classroom got caught in a porn spam pop-up loop (you know what they are, especially if you’re using that awful MS Internet Explorer—windows automatically open to spam sites as fast as you can close them). It’s easily fixed by using a decent browser or resetting the computer or even yanking the cord out of the wall, but Amero was apparently not very skilled with a computer, and was flustered as well. And for that, she may serve a few years in prison.
It is the 21st century, after all — lack of expertise with a computer is a crime, here in the future.
Oh, hang on—she isn’t being punished for computer illiteracy, it’s for impairing the morals of a child. That is, a bunch of seventh graders.
I know seventh graders. I remember being one. Middle school kids are a bunch of confused, sneaky, dirty-minded little bastards, and it would take a lot more than punching up internet porn to impair their morals; I suspect a fair number of the kids in that classroom knew more about the computer than Ms Amero, had been peeking at easily available porn before and after this event, and some of them are probably snickering about sending a teacher up the river for something they do routinely.
It takes a real prude to think flashing nude pictures at a seventh grader is going to corrupt them.
Let’s assume, though, that the entire classroom was occupied by naive little angels, perfect children with tousled curls who say their prayers at night and have been chemically neutered by their parents to suppress those burgeoning hormones. Then what? Do they get turned into sex maniacs by exposure to a bare breast or crotch? That’s an awfully low opinion of children these jurors had, or perhaps they just assumed a greater fragility than I can imagine.
This is a case of insane anti-porn hysteria, a grossly uninformed jury, and incompetence—the school district had let their filtering software lapse, and the police hadn’t even bothered to check the computer for adware. I am appalled that such a trivial error would have the consequence of sending someone to prison for years. This is not justice, this is lunacy.
I suggest that if the jurors really need a scapegoat for the uncontrolled spread of internet porn and the existence of sloppy and easily hijacked software, that it would be more appropriate (and perhaps just as injust) to send Bill Gates to jail.