Friday, November 09, 2007

Ban on Laptops in Classroom to Create a Non-Hostile Environment?

One topic that generates a lot of controversy among law professors these days is how to deal with laptop use in the classroom. Some professors embrace it; others loathe it. In fact, a small movement has been brewing in which law professors ban laptops from the classroom altogether, calling them destructive to listening, note-taking and effective classroom participation.

A recent ABA Journal article notes that the decision of Suffolk law professor Kate Nace Day to ban laptops from her classroom stemmed, in part, from additional concern over women students feeling harassed at having to see their classmates surf the web for porn, or even sending them inappropriate text messages during class. According to Day, the use of laptops diminishes the learning potential of the class, and increases the potential for an uncomfortable classroom environment.

Title IX offers the possibility of bringing a claim against a federally-funded school for peer sexual harassment, if the school knows about it and neglects to take steps to stop the harassment.

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