The Supreme Court Justices with the 2012 Constitution Day Essay Contest winners and finalists
In 2004, the Congress decided that "Constitution Day" should be observed in schools each year on September 17 with educational programs about the history and signing of the Constitution. To help celebrate Constitution Day, eight newspapers and the New Hampshire Supreme Court have sponsored an annual "Constitution Day Essay Contest" for grades 5-12 on a topic related to our constitutional rights as citizens.
Teachers and students take note! Here's a fun way to discuss and debate some difficult questions and learn a few things about the remarkable document that has governed our nation for 224 years.
Winning essays will be published in the participating newspapers and winners will be invited, along with parents and teachers, to a special reception at the state Supreme Court and to the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications First Amendment Awards.
|Read last year's winning essays »||See photos of previous years »|
Employers want to collect as much information as possible to screen applicants for jobs, especially to make sure there are no risks of bad behavior if that person is selected to join their workforce. A job application and a resume are helpful, but are there better sources of information about you? How about your Facebook account or your Twitter feed?
These days, millions of people, young and old, use social networking to get to know people. They share thoughts, photos, comments and ideas, to express emotions and find support from other people. Now, some employers want access to applicants' private social media accounts. They believe that what an applicant says or posts on social media -- and who their "friends" are -- tells them important things about whether an applicant is suitable for the job.
The media recently have reported instances where employers who want to check up on "online behavior" have asked job applicants for their user names and passwords to social media accounts. And they report that the practice is becoming more common.
- An applicant for a job as a corrections officer in Maryland was asked for his Facebook user name and password during a security interview. The interviewer - who said he wanted to make sure the applicant wasn't affiliated with gangs - went through this man's messages, his wall and his friends list and photos. The man felt this violated his privacy and his friends' privacy.
- In New York , a statistician applying for a job was asked to log on to her social media account so the interviewer could take a look. This practice of "shoulder-surfing" was the same technique used in the Maryland case and has been opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union which called it an invasion of privacy.
- Lawmakers in Illinois and Maryland , and two US senators, are working on laws that would make it illegal for employers to ask for user names and passwords. And the senators have asked the US attorney general to investigate whether employers who ask for user names and passwords are violating federal law.
- At the University of North Carolina , each athletic team must appoint one coach or administrator to have access to student athletes' social media accounts so that they can be monitored.
Employers say that asking for access to social media accounts is not an invasion of privacy or a violation of constitutional rights. If you refuse to provide the information, you are out of the running for the job. However, if you already have a job, some experts say that you do have a right to privacy when it comes to your social media accounts.
Consider this statement in a recent column in the Washington Post: "While everyone values the importance of privacy, we now live in an era where cyber behavior can have a huge impact on the real world and, as a result, social media screenings will become a fact of life."
Some things to think about:
If you don't have anything to hide, why don't you just voluntarily hand over your password?
Is the demand acceptable if the employer has made it clear on a job application that you will be asked for your user name and password as a condition of employment?
In the age of terrorism, what about employers who have concern about security? Doesn't that justify asking for your password?
If you don't want to give out your password, are you willing to have a potential employer stand behind you and watch while you scroll through your private Facebook account? Is such that "shoulder-surfing" an acceptable compromise for you?
In today's internet world, and expert hackers, is it naïve to think that anything that you post is really private? Can you really have an expectation of privacy in 2012?
The New York Times : Senators Question Employer Requests for Facebook Passwords
The Portsmouth Herald: Can an employer ask for your Facebook password?
United Press International : Schools want access to Facebook profiles
The Washington Post : Learn the Legal Implications before asking for Facebook logins
Bucknell University : Employers defy personal boundries by asking for passwords
Annenberg Classroom : Should employers be able to ask for employees' Facebook passwords?
Trend Watch : Employers Asking Candidates for Facebook Passwords
From POLITICO : Dem: Facebook passwords off-limits
National Public Radio : Resume, Cover Letter and Your Facebook Password?
Essay Contest Rules
Eligibility : All students in grades 5-12 in the circulation areas of participating newspapers.
Deadline for Submissions : Essays must be postmarked by Oct. 5, 2012
1. Each essay should be type written and no longer than 300 words. Submissions will be judged on understanding of the issue, clear writing and thinking, presentation, grammar and spelling.
2. Each essay should be the sole product of the student's work.
3. Submissions should include the writer's name, age, grade, school, home address, home telephone, parent e-mail address, teacher name and teacher e-mail address. Winners will be notified by telephone.
4. Employees of participating newspapers and immediate family members are not eligible to win.
5. One essay per student.
6. Each essay may be submitted to only one newspaper listed below. The student must live in that newspaper's circulation area.
7. Essays will not be returned.
Each participating newspaper will select a winner from essays submitted for grades 5-8 and for grades 9-12. A statewide winner for each group will then be selected by a justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
For information and to register for a workshop, The Constitution for Teachers, on Aug. 8 at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications, go to www.loebschool.org.
P.O. Box 1177
Concord, NH 03302-1177
|New Hampshire Union Leader
Shannon K. Sullivan
Community Relations Manager
Manchester, NH 03108
| Derry News
100 Turnpike Street
North Andover, MA 01845
111 New Hampshire Ave.
Portsmouth, NH 03801
|The Keene Sentinel
President & Editor
P.O. Box 546
Keene, NH 03431
Executive Managing Editor
Nashua, NH 03061
24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784
|Foster's Daily Democrat
150 Venture Drive
Dover, NH 03820
Learn all about the Constitution from a website created by retired US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Conner: http://www.icivics.org/
Text of the US Constitution
NH Department of Education
Constitution Day resources, programs and lesson plans for teachers
NHPTV Knowledge Network
Visit www.nhptv.org/kn/constitution for links to online classroom video on the U.S. Constitution, lesson plans, and reviewed websites.
Information from The Bill of Rights Institute
New Hampshire Bar Association
Find more online resources about the U.S. Constitution
Information from the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, PA
Education Resources for use on Constitution Day
Guide to the Constitution and "civic education in the real world."
Information on the US Constitution provided by the federal court system
Bibliography of sources at the NH Law Library