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A Teacher Asking Students To Destroy Notes?

Soulskill posted about 6 years ago | from the learn-until-the-test dept.

Education 931

zwei2stein writes "I found this question with far-reaching implications in the off-topic section of a forum I frequent: 'My economics teacher is forcing us to give up all of our work for the semester. Every page of notes and paper must be turned over to her to be destroyed to prevent future students from copying it. My binder was in my backpack, and she went into my backpack to take it. Is that legal?' Besides the issue with private property invasion, which was the trigger of that post, there is much more important question: Can a teacher ask a student not to retain knowledge? How does IP law relate to teaching and sharing knowledge? Whose property are those notes?"

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Notes? (5, Insightful)

nametaken (610866) | about 6 years ago | (#26586123)

You wrote them? They belong to you.

Re:Notes? (-1)

Tyrannicalposter (1347903) | about 6 years ago | (#26586189)

You copied them, they still belong to the original copyright holder. I guess your "use" license expires at the end of the semester.

NO (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#26586251)

You don't "copy" class notes, you write class notes. In your own words. There is a big difference. You are the author.

Re:NO (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 6 years ago | (#26586521)

You don't "copy" class notes, you write class notes. In your own words. There is a big difference. You are the author.

But what if you wrote them and I paid you to give me a photocopy?

Re:Notes? (5, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | about 6 years ago | (#26586395)

School used to be so much easier and less complicated before the RIAA started influencing things.

Re:Notes? (4, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 6 years ago | (#26586253)

Ask a lawyer, it could prove interesting. If the lawyer smells a chance of winning a case it may be even more interesting.

But this means that you shall always have a backup of your work. A copying machine will do fine!

Re:Notes? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 6 years ago | (#26586451)

Tell us more about your situation. Did you refuse to give her your notes? Did you tell her not to rummage through your bag? How many students did she do this too?

What she did was probably illegal, but you've got to be really assertive about protecting your rights. And please note the word "assertive", not aggressive, meaning that you tell her you're not giving her the permission to go through your bag, or that you do not want her to go through your bag. For further reading on assertiveness and setting boundaries, I'd suggest you read When I Say No, I Feel Guilty [amazon.com] by Manuel J. Smith

Also, one last question. How old are you? Personally, I know that age shouldn't matter, but age does matter. Adults are much more likely to bully young people, people they have authority over, or very old people, just because they know that those types of people are less likely to fight back -- or call the cops on them.

File a police report _now_. (5, Insightful)

NNKK (218503) | about 6 years ago | (#26586127)

This is called theft, there is no other word for it. File a police report immediately.

Re:File a police report _now_. (-1, Offtopic)

julienthjamminjabber (1241742) | about 6 years ago | (#26586241)

This is called theft, there is no other word for it. File a police report immediately.


Property is theft in the first place. Haven't you read Proudhon??

And yeah, yeah, man, go narc to the pigs!!

What a square.

Re:File a police report _now_. (5, Insightful)

cerberusss (660701) | about 6 years ago | (#26586427)

I always had run-ins with teachers because I thought they were being unfair or something. Until I realized that things would work smoother for myself if I just assumed I lived in a tyranny and I'd have to work hard to be able to escape it as soon as possible.

Your advice is not going to make things simpler for the topic starter. Best is to question the situation politely and in firm terms. If no response happens, leave it the hell alone and get the hell out as soon as possible.

Re:File a police report _now_. (1, Interesting)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | about 6 years ago | (#26586511)

Until I realized that things would work smoother for myself if I just assumed I lived in a tyranny and I'd have to work hard to be able to escape it as soon as possible.

This is probably really good advice, as cynical as it is. The truth of the matter is, freedom is one dead dog.

Re:File a police report _now_. (1)

fishbowl (7759) | about 6 years ago | (#26586541)

It is definitely theft. It may also be assault. In my state, and in particular at the University where I work, the action described would certainly be characterized as assault, and the victim would have a strong justification for using force to stop the attack. That's exactly how it would be treated too: Forcibly stealing papers from a student's bag is pretty much on the same level as a teacher sexually assaulting a student. On the other hand, the policy being described would never be allowed. There is a very complex system in place for dealing with copyrighted course materials. Nobody would get away with making up their own rules like this. For one thing, students here are not sheep, and would *know* it's a violation of their rights, no need to ask slashdot.

Isnt it learning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586129)

I would definetly say they are the students. I cant understand why a teacher would do this. Isnt the whole purpose of the course to learn?

Easy solutions (5, Insightful)

AchiIIe (974900) | about 6 years ago | (#26586131)

easy solutions:
a) photocopy the notes
b) type them up to begin with
c) leave ITT TECH and go to a real university

Re:Easy solutions (0, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#26586223)

d) take a gun to school and shoot the teacher.

I keed. I keed.

Easier solutions (1)

jsimon12 (207119) | about 6 years ago | (#26586317)

The easier solution is to refuse to give them up, assuming this person is an adult in their state and didn't agree to this "give up your notes thing" before the professor has no right to take the notes any more then the professor would have rights to take the students wallet.

Definitely an invasion of privacy (2, Insightful)

DeadPixels (1391907) | about 6 years ago | (#26586133)

Even American public schools, which don't offer students the same protections against search and seizure as other citizens, still require reasonable doubt for a search - and that's for illegal materials. Even if you were in a high school, it would still be illegal for her to go into your backpack and take your property.

I'm assuming you're at a college or university, in which case it's extremely illegal.

That's theft. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586137)

You pay for school to learn, and what you write down is your work not hers. I would definitely contact the higher ups at your school and the police for theft.

Re:That's theft. (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 6 years ago | (#26586233)

This is in a high school. The student didn't pay...but they're still that student's property.

Re:That's theft. (5, Insightful)

Smitty025 (948638) | about 6 years ago | (#26586291)

Perhaps he himself didn't pay, but his parents, if they are law abiding citizens, did pay their taxes to fund his education.

Re:That's theft. (1)

shadowkiller137 (1169097) | about 6 years ago | (#26586301)

The parents and everyone who pays taxes pay for the students to learn.

Re:That's theft. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 years ago | (#26586373)

The students didn't pay. Their parents did. Their parents and every other taxpayer. Provided it's not a private school, in that case only the student's parents ... anyway, however you want to put it, the student's parents, and thus their legal guardian, paid for it, in part or in whole. Thus, through a proxy (or two, rather), it is the student's money. You get child support also paid to the parents, with the intention that this money goes to the child's benefit. Tax money works the same way. You don't get to spend it yourself, but it is still supposed to be spent in your interest.

So however you want to put it, the student paid for it, or his respective legal guardian.

Re:That's theft. (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 6 years ago | (#26586383)

I was working and paying taxes in high school at age 15.

Also, plain and simple. Did the teacher buy the physical resource (the notebook?) No. That is therefore the student's property, and the teacher is guilty of petty theft of property. Ripping the notes out would be willful destruction of property to add, plus vandalism under $500.

In this case I'd have the police immediately arrest the teacher under those charges, were I the parents.

Syllabus? (1)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | about 6 years ago | (#26586141)

Was there something in the syllabus about it? Usually the teacher puts all that stuff in there to prevent liability in the event that something happens.

If there's nothing in the syllabus, I'd say your professor cannot require your notes back.

However, your professor had no right to go through your personal property. Your professor sounds like that asshole receipt checker at Wal-mart that gets all pissy when you refuse to show your receipt...

Re:Syllabus? (1)

UNIX_Meister (461634) | about 6 years ago | (#26586303)

I had a professor who would take all quizzes and tests back after we had looked how they were graded. This procedure of his was documented in the syllabus, but didn't make it any less a pain in the butt. He didn't want his tests ending up in a test file but it made it hard to study the material you were weak on.

It made it that much more difficult when I felt he was singling me out by putting questions on tests that I had missed in on the quizzes.

You payed for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586147)

Your tuition payed for those notes.

I kept all my college notes for future reference. In my opinion, you spend the semester memorizing the general layout of the book and your notes, so that you can quickly look it up in the future. After a year, you don't remember much else.

Go nuts! (5, Insightful)

Swordopolis (1159065) | about 6 years ago | (#26586149)

Theft, unlawful search and seizure, destruction of property..... You could go nuts with this. This can't possibly be legal.

File a complaints. (5, Insightful)

TokyoMoD (1425399) | about 6 years ago | (#26586155)

1) With the school. 2) With the local police. 3) Contact a major news outlet. 4) Refuse going to that class until settled. 5) Contact local ACLU type outfit. Write down the event now, while it's still fresh.

Re:File a complaints. (5, Funny)

feepness (543479) | about 6 years ago | (#26586259)

Write down the event now, while it's still fresh.

And make sure to not let anyone steal it!

Re:File a complaints. (1)

TokyoMoD (1425399) | about 6 years ago | (#26586293)

true that!

I would go further: (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#26586289)

Make sure to do all these things on the same day. Make sure the news story goes out before school officials have time to react. That is what they deserve.

Re:I would go further: (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 years ago | (#26586403)

Hold it. You may actually deal with a sensible school board. Yeah, sounds funny, but such things exist. They may be very interested in settling this quietly, return the notes and do what they love to do: pretend nothing ever happened. And that's basically what the OP wants, if I got him/her right.

Once you blow it up and it gets news coverage, they can't simply return the notes and sweep it under the rug. They'll probably start to make up some big excuse why this is necessary in an attempt to save face, the student gets all sorts of troubles... Realize that schools have a lot of abilities to make oyur life really miserable if you're a student there.

So far, the principal could still be unaware of the problem and be on the side of the student.

Re:I would go further: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586449)

... Realize that schools have a lot of abilities to make oyur life really miserable if you're a student there.

Yeah, they can give you trouble, so let them do whatever they want. What kind of a f*cked up reasoning is that?

The thing is, it's still easy to say "the teacher acted on their own authority, sorry, we'll warn him" and just sweep it under the rug.

Point taken, but only partially. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#26586531)

Okay. Complain to the school, AND the school board (they need to know about it, even if the principal is sympathetic). DEFINITELY file a police report. But hold the press unless the principle and/or school board do not give satisfaction.

Go paperless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586159)

What I do myself (having been in college way the hell too long anyway) is scan my notes at the end of the week/month as I need them, thereby going paperless.

And what I would suggest to you (or further versions of you in that class) is to scan your notes, print to pdf, and post online with keywords so that everyone can grab them.

Worked for DeCSS, right?

Reasonable in only one case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586163)

There is one related situation where this would be reasonable: Preprint versions of textbooks. I've taken a few classes where the professor hadn't published his textbook yet and so made pdfs or handout versions available. Were those the notes, I could understand requiring purchase of a real copy to keep them as this is the electronic analogue to loaning out a "classroom set" and demanding its return at the end of the semester. Still, this is why professors need to make new assignments/tests.

IANAL, but... (5, Interesting)

DaHat (247651) | about 6 years ago | (#26586165)

... back in my undergrad days I had an issue with a professor who tried to pull his own stunts, even trying to call me out (while claiming to not know who he was calling out) publically in class. After a conversation with couple of lawyers and a few folks at the university after making a complaint of harassment (me being a white male who at the time was in his early 20's) and which at one point resulting in the university president calling me on my cell personally, it was decided that given the professors work was a paid for by the university, they had effectively no rights to it... so my copious note taking, and eventual whole scale recording of classes what perfectly legitimate and up to the university... and not the individual professor who was being paid to perform for the classes behalf.

As sad as I am to say it... a tape recorder, obvious or not (ideally obvious be it in public or private) can be your best friend... though in my case I also had a laptop recording everything as well.

Let me give you the advice I was given when I was dealing with an overzealous professor who thought they were god in the classroom and eventually was threatening to sue me and the school... talk to a lawyer.

Remember though... I am not a lawyer, I've just talked to a few over this issue and think you should to.

Re:IANAL, but... (3, Interesting)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | about 6 years ago | (#26586285)

i would like to add to this that in many countries, it is illegal to record audio (but not images) of someone without their permission. if you don't have the professor's permission to record the class, you could be in some legal trouble if you are caught.

note: this didn't stop me from making recordings of several of my courses.

I've archived every single note from every class, and even now, 3 years later, i will review a random class from time to time to keep it fresh in my mind.

your written notes are yours, and yours alone.

Re:IANAL, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586367)

I too live in one of these countries and I'm not entirely sure that applies to lectures as its a somewhat semi-public setting and recording someone in public are perfectly legal.

I am not ANAL, either, but... (3, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#26586365)

This is a weird situation (in the case of a public University) because arguably most of the money for the lecture comes from the public... but it is not a public forum. The University has the right to restrict the lecture to students who have paid tuition.

However, if you are a student, and you have paid tuition, you have every right to all materials that are presented in that lecture.

My University (after some legal wrangling) recognized this and thereafter allowed the Student Body Association to record (on paper) and sell "official" lecture notes for recurring lectures, and in fact found it to be a valuable educational tool for those who could not take good notes, or could not keep up due to language or coordination problems, etc.

Everybody benefited as a result.

Study is study. Lecture notes do not help people "cheat", except in the sense that they might not have to physically be present at the lecture in order to benefit from them. They still have to read the notes and learn the material. Heck... that's what televised lectures are all about anyway!

Teacher is too lazy to change tests etc. (1, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 6 years ago | (#26586167)

She is trying to prevent frats etc from building up a set of 'files' on her class.

It's pointless as now that the word is out students will simply keep extra copies.

What kind of class is so unimportant that you wouldn't want to keep your notes and maybe texts.

The notes belong to you. But that's not the only issue.

Is the teacher tenured? You might want to pick you battles or at least join a group of students to protest to the dean.

Don't file a police report.

Re:Teacher is too lazy to change tests etc. (4, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#26586407)

(A) Let me know when high schools start having fraternities. The origin of this story was a high school student. But regardless, in the case of colleges:

(B) Frats and so on have been building up files on her class for years already, and will continue to do so. My University found that it was pointless to fight this and allowed the Student Body Association to print and sell copies of "official" lecture notes, approved by the professors, for recurring lectures. As it turned out, it was a very positive thing and everybody benefitted except those who were too poor to spend $10 for a semester's worth of notes.

(C) Yes, self-taken notes belong to the writer.

(D) This is a matter of legal rights, not University rules, so whether the professor is tenured or not is irrelevant. Lawyers and police can nail a tenured professor for theft and invasion as easily as one with no tenure.

(E) "Don't file a police report", my ass. If somebody steals my property, I am going to report it. Again, this is not a matter of rules, it is a matter of the law. The more illegal activities you allow someone to get away with, the more they begin to feel they have the right to do it.

Re:Teacher is too lazy to change tests etc. (1)

religious freak (1005821) | about 6 years ago | (#26586475)

Maybe it's getting late and I missed the obvious... but where exactly did this story state that it occurred in a high school?

Re:Teacher is too lazy to change tests etc. (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 6 years ago | (#26586419)

It's a high school, not a college. No frats, no dean, etc.

Re:Teacher is too lazy to change tests etc. (2, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | about 6 years ago | (#26586433)

"Don't file a police report."

Are you fucking kidding me? Did YOU pay for that notebook? No? Then I'm filing that police report, and I'm having your ass arrested for THEFT OF PROPERTY. Ripping the notes from my paid-for notebook will result in a willful damage and vandalism charge or two being put on you as well. Let's see how high and mighty you are after spending some time in jail, not to mention what that would immediately do to your career as a teacher in any capacity.

Don't file a police report, my ass. Nobody's going to take you seriously until one gets filed. Not the media, who need something to latch onto. Not the Dean, who probably wouldn't care until an arrest actually happened, which means a judge saw a reason to have the teacher jailed.

As for a class so unimportant you wouldn't want to keep your notes? Keynesian economics.

Re:Teacher is too lazy to change tests etc. (4, Insightful)

Selanit (192811) | about 6 years ago | (#26586455)

Agreed. Her goal is to prevent cheating. That may be laudable in and of itself, but this is a stupid way to go about it, for all kinds of reasons. It's probably illegal. And ineffective at stopping cheating.

Also, the teacher has put herself into a lousy position. If she gives the student a poor grade at the end of the term, then he can file a grievance claiming that she actively prevented him from earning a higher grade by destroying his notes. That's solid grounds for a complaint. Furthermore, it sounds as if she did this to the entire class. They've all got grounds for that claim.

By destroying the notes, the teacher has also destroyed any trust the students might have had in her, and seriously undermined her own credibility. She's lost any claim to impartiality here. No one can teach effectively under those circumstances, even an otherwise good teacher. It's stupid.

And worse, it's destructive. She's actively preventing her students from learning. As a college teacher myself, I am outraged. This is not acceptable professional conduct.

The student should immediately file a formal complaint with the teacher's department and the dean. I strongly suspect that the teacher will be removed from the class and replaced by someone else, as she is in no position to finish out the term now.

It's too early to file a legal challenge, but the student would be well advised to consult a lawyer immediately to discover what the legal options are in case things go badly.

Don't file a police report, fight back! (1)

dimension6 (558538) | about 6 years ago | (#26586169)

Scan all the docs into .pdf and put them all online (after you have safely received your passing grade, preferrably). Write a little note explaining the probably illegal policy and what happened.

Re:Don't file a police report, fight back! (1)

Swordopolis (1159065) | about 6 years ago | (#26586179)

Absolutely. Your greatest possibility for revenge is through the Streisand Effect.

WRONG (4, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | about 6 years ago | (#26586193)

*Do* file a police report, *do* talk to a lawyer.

*Also* scan all the docs into .pdf and put them all online.

Letting criminals like your prof get away with their crimes (theft is a crime, and illegal) only encourages their deviant behavior (normal people don't steal, your prof is a deviant).

Re:WRONG (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586217)

theft is a crime, and illegal

A surprising number of crimes are illegal.

Mod up. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#26586425)

This is a legal matter. It has nothing to do with University rules.

I'd punch her in the face.... (1, Insightful)

pandaman9000 (520981) | about 6 years ago | (#26586171)

As soon as she violated my space or property, i'd treat her like anyone else not in my family or friends circle. She'd back the fuck up, or i'd clock her right there. You don't steal from me. Yes, i'd go to jail over it if need be.

Re:I'd punch her in the face.... (1, Insightful)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | about 6 years ago | (#26586261)

No you wouldn't, either that or you're a violent idiot.

I would. (4, Funny)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#26586453)

If someone is stealing from me, I have every right (in my state, anyway) to prevent that theft, with "reasonable" violence if need be.

My state law specifically states that I have the right to defend myself, other people, and my property with a "reasonable" amount of force. And by damned, I would do exactly that. A punch in the nose is more than reasonable for a semester's worth of lecture notes.

If recent police action is any indication, then it would be "reasonable" for me to taze her and beat her with nightsticks as well! After all, standards are standards.

Re:I'd punch her in the face.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586311)

I'd punch her in the face too! At least somebody's got the huevos to say it.

Re:I'd punch her in the face.... (1)

hosecoat (877680) | about 6 years ago | (#26586361)

we demand the OP name names

Re:I'd punch her in the face.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586399)

That's because you're an idiot.

I'd vocally refuse and protest and try to leave, but otherwise do nothing to physically prevent her from taking them. Then I'd charge her with assault and theft and sue the living hell out of her and the university.

Trust me. It's going to hurt her a lot more than a punch in the face. And you might get a free education out of it.

Re-type them and post them anonymously (1)

StandardCell (589682) | about 6 years ago | (#26586173)

Seriously, how is she going to track this down? If you're afraid of being found out, post it to Wikileaks where they are beyond any court order. If she tries to pull anything on you, tell her that she needs to prove it was you, and if she can't that the university will be on the financial hook for it (i.e. back off).

As a former lab instructor, my job was to share my knowledge with students, not to prevent them from taking it with them. Hard-ass instructors like this just pissed me off because they think people won't show up to their lectures if they have their notes. There's no better way than to return the favor than to do exactly what they tell you not to.

What rubbish (-1, Offtopic)

kaos07 (1113443) | about 6 years ago | (#26586177)

Obviously the teacher can't do this. But WTF is happening to Slashdot. Since when is a question posted on an unnamed off-topic forum a reasonable story?

Re:What rubbish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586267)

It's not a "story," dumbshit, it's ASK SLASHDOT.

You know, where any old yokel can ask for advice about any old thing he thinks Slashdot readers might know about??

Re:What rubbish (4, Insightful)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 6 years ago | (#26586435)

Does it actually matter if the story is true or not, as long as it gives a topic for discussion? It is claimed to have actually happened, and it provides a good topic for exploring the community's beliefs about personal rights.

Totally outrageous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586181)

First, the notes belong to the student. The teacher can't prevent the student from publishing, sending, using them as lyrics to a sing, tattooing them on his/her ass etc.

Second, so what if other students use elder student's notes to learn the material; isn't learning the point? That teacher needs get his/her head examined.

Purpose of the class (4, Insightful)

Varitek (210013) | about 6 years ago | (#26586185)

Is the purpose of a college class to give a student knowledge of a field of study? Or is it to just award a credit towards a degree?

Sound to me that the lecturer thinks it's the latter, which is a problem. Those notes are a valuable resource to any student who wants to retain that knowledge, whether for future classes, a job after college, or just for the pure love of knowledge for its own sake. The student has paid for those notes in time, effort, and money. Asking him to give them up is short-sighted and stupid. Taking them from his backpack is theft.

Psh Economics (4, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | about 6 years ago | (#26586187)

Not like you're going to use anything taught in there after that class anyway...

Next time, pick a proper University (1)

igb (28052) | about 6 years ago | (#26586197)

The idea of a university is to learn, not to pass courses. Learning involves taking away, in your head and in physical form, knowledge. If your teacher believes that the only output from her course is the grade, and after that the entire set of things she has taught are worthless, that's telling you something: what she's teaching is, in fact, worthless. If the university backs her position, they're saying that the knowledge they impart is fit only to be thrown away. Anyway, the copyright in your notes vests in you. She's welcome to try arguing that notes taken in a lecture belong to the lecturer, but she's wrong.

Re:Next time, pick a proper University (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 6 years ago | (#26586443)

From my own experience, the point of a university may be to learn, but passing courses is the measure of success. There's correlation between learning and doing well in the course, but they aren't the same. I could learn all the material in a class, but I'm screwed if I only finish learning after the test is done.

Re:Next time, pick a proper University (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 6 years ago | (#26586461)

High school.

Sad to say, the information probably is worthless.

Assault (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586199)

Working as a TA one of the MAJOR rules we have is to never, EVER touch a student or their property. Doing so can be classified under assault.

The solution is obviously to... (1)

senatosa (1453155) | about 6 years ago | (#26586201)

egg the teacher's house. Got an address?

Galindo? (4, Informative)

Vrallis (33290) | about 6 years ago | (#26586203)

I'll venture a quick guess... Ms. Galindo, Harlandale High School, San Antonio, TX? (I'm surprised she's still teaching if so, she has to be pushing 70 by now. I graduated in 1996..didn't have her for classes, but knew of her antics far too well.)

If it isn't her, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that someone else would do the same.

Besides being anal about exactly how students take notes, she was notorious for making all students turn in their notebooks at the end of the year. She would make sure they were complete (you'd fail the entire class if not) and then make you shove it through an industrial shredder she had brought in just for this task.

Fun fact: She was teaching there as far back as the 70's...a family friend had her back then. The friend ended up out of school due to medical issues. An hour after waking up from a major surgery that had her gutted like a fish, that teacher was on the phone making sure she was doing her homework.

Re:Galindo? (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | about 6 years ago | (#26586471)

So why has nobody ever gone to the police?

Why was she never arrested?

Seriously. Why did people tolerate her? The police exist for a reason, and putting criminals like her behind bars is one of those very good reasons.

you fail at revenge (-1, Troll)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | about 6 years ago | (#26586205)

tie the bitch up and steal something from /her/ if you catch my drift. Then vacuum it out and remind her its yours and that she can't just go around making use of it. also...dude...tell her no alternatively, slash her tires or set her house on fire or put one of her kids in an oven holy shit...I'm a fucking psychopath

Re:you fail at revenge (1)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | about 6 years ago | (#26586211)

let it be known that this is what happens when you don't sleep for 4 or 5 days

Head Shot (-1, Flamebait)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | about 6 years ago | (#26586209)

Not only is this absolute bullshit, but your professor needs a good, old-fashioned head shot. Who the fuck does this person think he/she is?

You paid to gain knowledge (4, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 6 years ago | (#26586213)

You paid your tuition so that you could gain knowledge.

Forcing you to give up your notes is effectively saying that you must retain everything in your head, which is ridiculous.

They're your notes, you paid to be able to take them. She has no right.

And even beyond that, it's unreasonable search and seizure by a civilian (what would that fall under, larceny?) for her to go into your backpack without your permission. File a police report and involve the administration of your school.

Re:You paid to gain knowledge (1)

wdsci (1204512) | about 6 years ago | (#26586437)

The poster said this is an American high school, and assuming that high school is public (as most of them are), there is no tuition charged. It's completely publicly funded (i.e. tax money pays for the school). It's been pointed out already that that may or may not make a difference.

Re:You paid to gain knowledge (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 6 years ago | (#26586505)

I don't see your point. The tax payers pay the teacher's salary so the kids can take the class, which rationally includes taking notes.

If the class wasn't worth keeping notes from, then why even offer it? Why waste the students' time like that?

Arguably, the notes are hers (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586221)

Under U.S. copyright law, she's the creator and you are acting under her direction so your writing is her work, fixed in a tangible form.

Of course, there's an exception to copyright law for facts and odds are that the school has a clause in her agreement ceding the rights to her work product to them, so only non-factual portions of the notes are copyrightable and the school probably owns the rights.

Then again, we're not talking about copying yet. Just the disposition of the medium. It's your paper and ink, so you own it.

OTOH, those drug-search and metal-detector cases demonstrate that students surrender many of their civil liberties when they walk through the door of a school, so the search is probably legal and the seizure may be perfectly legitimate.

Then again, in the Tinker case, the Supreme Court determined that schools "may not be enclaves of totalitarianism" and in subsequent cases it was established that while schools may limit civil liberties to maintain order and discipline their special legal status ends there so your teacher may well have gone beyond her authority and subjected herself and the school to an ACLU lawsuit.

OTOH, you could just T-P her house and be done with it.

Re:Arguably, the notes are hers (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 6 years ago | (#26586401)

Even if they owned the content, it's still your notebook, and the instructor has no right to it.

The choice to take notes or not and what sort of notes to take if they choose to is completely the student's. The "class notes" are not a work for hire, they are a learning aid the student develops to suit them, and primarily for their personal benefit.

Notes are not analyzed by professors or by other students. Their construction is neither directed nor absolutely essential.

It's also your work, unless you are copying every literal word given by the instructor, you are paraphrasing, and thus making a creative effort.

It may be a derivative work (in that you include forms derived from the instructor's work of some form). But actually it's kind of hard to have a derivative of a work that's not actually in tangible form.

And the fact that something may be a derived work doesn't mean someone else can steal your personally written manuscript without recourse.

The original author of a book doesn't own the "cliff notes" summaries of it.

Or even articles that summarize what happened in the book at length.

By taking their own notes, the student goes through their own writing and organizational process that results in a creation that describes what sort of things transpired in the classroom from their point of view, BUT is fundamentally distinct.

Re:Arguably, the notes are hers (1)

timmarhy (659436) | about 6 years ago | (#26586489)

notes are definately your own work. this is like a dictionary publisher demanding you remove the word "the" because they own it. if was this was high school i'd play dumb and say i didn't take notes, and when she went for my bag i'd scream rape or something like that. if i knew it was comming i'd hide a 12" black dildo in there, maybe a steaming turd.

if it's university wouldn't let her near my bag, and accuse her of attempting to snatch my man purse. really what is she going to do, wrestle me to the ground and rip the notes from my steely clutches? failing that she might send me to the counselor, in which case you've got more gold in the form of faking emotional distress.

god i can't stand people who try run your life.

Re:Arguably, the notes are hers (1)

xZoomerZx (1089699) | about 6 years ago | (#26586409)

You have to be an AC to post this brainless crap. Shes the creator? Are you even on the same planet as the rest of us? No teacher in any public school for the past 50 years has had an original thought. Everything they 'teach' is a pre-thought thought, carefully written in a textbook, and a matching teachers book, vetted by a battery of federal and state bureaucrats. Teachers don't teach, they regurgitate facts and figures, and expect you to do the same, with no original thought or examination. Ask yourself, are science teachers scientists? Are economics teachers economists? Are math teachers mathematicians? Hell no they aren't, they are indoctrination specialists. If this is a college level issue, even worse. You paid out of your own pocket for that knowledge, its yours. BTW, you paid for the public schooling too, its called taxes.

uncool (1)

madcat2c (1292296) | about 6 years ago | (#26586239)

Your paper, your binder, your property. File a police report, go register for whatever sort of "whistle blower" status the school has.

Absurd and Outrageous (1)

Scotland Tom (974094) | about 6 years ago | (#26586263)

Absolutely absurd. I would've ripped my bag out of her hands and walked out of the class before I let her take anything of mine. If your instructor did in fact take and keep your binder - your propery - I would contact the department head (in a level-headed and calm manner), describe the situation and (if necessary) threaten to get the police involved. If that fails... go over the department head's... head... and get the police involved.

No instructor has the right to take and destroy any materials they didn't provide you with in the first place. You did the work, you wrote down the notes. Anything and everything that you created to assist your learning is your property.

Attempting to control the flow of information coming from that course in such a totalitarian manner is a fallacy anyway. Any instructor operating under the delusion that she can prevent her students from passing on information learned in her class lacks a grasp on reality.

Is this college or are you in high school? (3, Informative)

jsimon12 (207119) | about 6 years ago | (#26586265)

Assuming you are NOT a minor and are in college then they have no right to take your notes. As stated before you wrote them so they are your property. I would at least file a formal complaint even if the professor is tenured and talk to a lawyer.

On the other hand if you are a minor and this isn't college then your rights (if any) will depend. In this case it really depends on what your parents are willing to do and or back you doing.

I suppose an argument could be made... (1)

Rollgunner (630808) | about 6 years ago | (#26586275)

In favor of the teacher's stance. While I cannot agree with her *methodology*...

The concept being that the content of the lectures you attended has an agreed upon finite value: You paid a semester's tuition for them.

Therefore, providing that same content for free (or at reduced cost) to another person could well be construed as a devaluation of that content, and hence, actionable.

Appears to be this post from guildwarsguru.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586279)


Answers for you (1)

Howzer (580315) | about 6 years ago | (#26586283)

>>Can a teacher ask a student not to retain knowledge?

No, that's a stupid question. To be more specific: yes a teacher can "ask", but what possible good would it do?

>>How does IP law relate to teaching and sharing knowledge?

It doesn't, unless there is a contract between you and the institution. Is there? That thing you signed when you became a student, perhaps?

>>Whose property are those notes?

Yours, unless you agreed before the class started that you wouldn't keep any notes you made.

Why is this stuff "hard" or even "interesting"?

Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586299)

Even if the textual IP was hers isn't the paper and ink your property? Do not give her the paper. Contact a lawyer, file a complaint. Just DO NOT give her the paper.

that's just unsane! (1)

austinpoet (789122) | about 6 years ago | (#26586351)

Say something, make your teacher repeat it, then slap their face telling them that you're trying to get your property back out of their mouth.

this is incredibly stupid and asinine.

Slam Dunk (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | about 6 years ago | (#26586353)

If the circumstances are as described by you, then go to court and have a field day. Your teacher has no right whatsoever to go into your property. Period.

IP facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586391)

Intellectual Property rights apply only to innovative knowledge. This means that you have to produce knowledge in your notes in order for their content to be protected. As for the text itself, since it is written by you with your personal style of writing, it could be considered a piece of literature, so you might be able to pretect the way in which the notes were taken. Keep in mind that the teachings of the said person themselves are not original either and do not belong to the teacher intellectually. As for the notebook or clipper, since it was paid by you or it resided in your backpack or schoolbag, taking it without your consent must be considered theft and destruction of private property. That's all about the legal issues. Imo, it's just lame to expect students (highschool or university) to remember everything said in a classroom without taking notes...

For god's sake, STAND UP FOR YOURSELF (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586393)

Are you serious? You allowed the teacher to go into your backpack, which is your private property, and take something which belonged to you, while doing nothing about it? Not even the cops can go into your backpack like that.

Why are so many people so freakin spineless?

I don't want to sound like an internet warrior here, but dude, if a teacher tried to do that to me, I would prevent them, pushing / punching / kicking them if I had to as a last resort.

(No, this does not make me a 'violent idiot' as someone else stated, it just means I have enough backbone stand up for myself in person with ACTION rather than on the internet with words. ACTION is the only sort of standing up that really matters, when it all comes down to it.)

You do know that you have the right to defend your personal property, right? Man up.

Yes, I know this could lead to repercussions from the university, such as being threatened with expulsion - that's when you get lawyers involved.

There's no way to say how it would pan out, but you have the advantage that, in the eyes of the law, you are in the right and they are in the wrong - provided you don't pull a weapon or beat them to death, anyway. That equates to a lot of potential negative publicity which the university probably doesn't want.

If you make a big enough stink about it, they'll most likely just let it slide eventually - though it will be tough for a while.

You might get kicked out, but Jesus H Christ man, you cannot go through life acting like a minnow and bending over when you know what someone else is doing is wrong.

STAND UP for yourself for god's sake. Let the chips fall where they may. When you get to the end of your life, you aren't going to wish you were nicer to that teacher (instead of punching them square in the solar plexus), but you will probably regret allowing people to trample all over you and never quite getting what you wanted.

This has been a public service announcement.

Teachers should prepare notes for students... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#26586459)

It's a theft. My father, who was a highschool math teacher, gave printed version of his own notes after each lesson - because students usually make really bad notes. How cool is that? :P

Re:Teachers should prepare notes for students... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 6 years ago | (#26586485)


Writing the notes facilitates the memory much better than merely having the notes. The students need to learn to A) take good notes and B) take lots of notes.

The "bad notes" bit is relevant, but you have to be really careful about how you make a crutch like that available.

tl;dr (1)

rincebrain (776480) | about 6 years ago | (#26586467)

tl;dr of all the IANAL posts:
It's not legal, but it's possible the school could punish you if you refused.

Since she went in without asking explicitly, THAT is illegal s&s, and you can hand her ass to her legally, though they'd make an implied consent argument.

Your notes are copyrighted (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | about 6 years ago | (#26586519)

You wrote them and *you* are the copyright owner.

Release them under CC attribution-sharealike / BSD / GFDL and upload to ThePirateBay.

Or get a real lawyer ;)

Public school or private? (0)

SwabTheDeck (1030520) | about 6 years ago | (#26586525)

If you're a minor in private school, your parents almost certainly signed some sort of agreement that allows the faculty there a great deal of freedom when it comes to handling your property. Confiscation of various items was fairly common the private high school I attended. They also could (and often did) search student lockers and backpacks. This was usually done under the pretense of finding illegal drugs, but the scope was not limited to illegal activity.

I think the Beastie Boys have your solution... (1)

mr_josh (1001605) | about 6 years ago | (#26586533)

"My teacher had beef so I gave her a smack" Seriously, and I have worked in schools and am studying to be a teacher... what a gross -disgusting, really- use of power. I respect educators 100% when they make the noble effort, but good-gravy, someone needs to sit that woman down and read her the riot act.
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