When “Techies” Aren’t Really Techies

This was posted on Multiply Dec. 1, 2008, 12:47 am

This story really do touch hearts. Really. (Unless you don’t have a heart. :))

At a first glance, it seems so simple, as the principle of KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid): a teacher exposes her students to sexually explicit and unethical content, then gets a sentence that threatens her to go to jail. Simple. Concise. And the teacher’s at fault.

But it’s more complicated than that.

It turns out that Mrs. Amero, a Norwich, Connecticut teacher, is the real victim here: spyware, not her “lewd” actions, is to blame.

And the courts, acting as the techies, pressed that the teacher did not protect her students enough. Which caused the teacher a miscarriage and bouts of anxiety and a state of paranoia.

This clearly exemplifies the basic knowledge we have about justice: it is meant for the powerful, not for the weak.

OK, not all. But oftentimes.

It turns out that Mrs. Julie Armero is only a victim of spyware infection. And it is because of one man, Alex Eckelberry, that she gained a little ray of hope, and some confidence too, I suppose.

What’s somewhat amusing in this case is that justice somewhat made fun of her, as evidenced by the following:

I went into the classroom and the regular teacher was there, Matt Napp. He was on the computer and I talked to him about the work for the day and I asked him if I could use his computer at some point. I wanted to e-mail my husband because he had just taught me how to e-mail and was on a business trip.

At the end of the day, I ran into [the vice principal] and I told her [about the problem], ‘Hey did you hear?’ and she said, ‘Yes I did. Don’t worry about it. See you tomorrow.’

I finally got called down to the principal’s office. He sat me down, shut the door and said, ‘What is this?’ And he showed me a list on paper of a bunch of sites. And I don’t know what they were.

So anyway, he gave me a ration of shit and he said, ‘You’re going to go home and you’re not subbing for a while.’

That night he called me at home and said I wasn’t working for that school anymore.

Then all of a sudden, the police called. They asked me to come down and give a statement. They told me when I went in that I was going to be arrested for 10 counts of risk of injury. They just took my picture and said, ‘See ya.’

Is this how the feds should work?

I don’t really know much about how the justice system in America works, but what do I know is that a person should remain innocent unless proven guilty. But then, in this case, it seems like Mrs. Armero was already proven guilty, just because she does not know much about computers.

This is also somewhat echoed in the comments at the end of the article:

i think that she was giving an unfair trial to begin with. ill bet that many of the jurors but their own believes regardless of evidence. many probably thought about their own kids in that situation. if that was the point, it should have gone to a miss trail due to the fact that the they jurors were biased. also some of that spyware you do click out of it and more pops up. if anyone should get fired it should have been the principle for not listening to her issue with the computer and being in her office to handle it appropriately. i also dont think that she should have lost her credentials since things like this happen all the time(i know of several professors that this happen to them also; they did not mean to do it, it just happened). its the schools fault for not having proper anti-spyware software installed in the computers.(if anything, she should sue home depot(the job that she got after she was fired) for firing her. the lawsuit had nothing to do with her work at home depot. also home depot should be sued for allowing another worker to put private information of a worker in a bulletin board.)

– joe123456789

Where to begin.

Schools fault for not having appropriate filters on their LAN.

Schools fault for not having computers checked for viruses, spy-ware, and mal-ware before being allowed on the system.

Schools fault for not having a better IT department AND I’m surprised someone from the IT department did not speak up about it.

Home Depot should be sued for firing her (unless its an at-will state), but the person should of been terminated for posting the clipping in the firts place.

Prosecutors fault for not properly understanding the way computers and the internet works.

Although she should of turned the computer off, why does the school not have an IT department that the teacher or substitute can call for these issues.

– djsyntek

Your kidding me! This REALLY happened? And this woman is not suing the s**t out of the district, the principle, the person who posted the article in the break room, and the home depot?

There has to be another side to this story, right? Lets see how the retrial comes out.

If there is not (another credible side), we should start a write in campaign to the district and home depot for restitution. Not as much from the Home Depot, but big time from the district. HD maybe a year’s wages and a position at a different store. The district (and board) to drop charges and give her back her license plus all back wages for a full time teacher. Maybe even the DA to wipe her record clean.

If they really did this, someone should be held culpable. She lost a child! And the hand in the chipper thing sounds about right, it is normal to get in accidents when under such duress.

– bignumone

And you can sift through the comments if you like (44 as of writing).

I do really sympathize with Mrs. Armero, considering that newbies like her are often the target of these “conspiracies”.

The worse part is, as I mentioned earlier, is that the courts considered her a criminal, until Mr. Alex Eckelberry, the CEO of Sunbelt Software, came into view.

You might say that the school and the judges are only doing their job. But I say they are doing it for their own interests. Considering that the school itself is somewhat not that IT-capable, and the jurors themselves basing their judgment on the fact that Mrs. Armero is a noob. Simply stated, it is not worth the fuss.

I’m glad that Mr. Eckelberry came along. With his position as a CEO and his expertise on computer security, he helped turn over the judges’ former conviction and help Mrs. Armero live a somewhat peaceful life, away from prison.

But still, she had her teaching credentials revoked, and paid US$100 fine. Equivalent into losing a career she dearly loved, a very honorable job, close friends (who turned, I think, not very close when the trial was going on), being $100 poorer, and the worst, losing her credibility and dignity.

But then I do cheer for the fact that many people still want and believe in her, as evidenced by the comments and the fact that she somewhat became an instant celebrity, though in a negative way. I do wish her luck for her future, and do want that what happened to her will be replaced by great bounty in the future.

This is also bad publicity, btw, to the school employing her, the parents who sued her (though not technically), to the courts who handled her case, and to the people who believes firmly that she was guilty and supposed to be convicted.

OTOH, this is also good publicity to Alex Eckelberry in particular, and to the millions who believed that she is innocent.

Which gets me thinking: what if Mr. Eckelberry didn’t take heed? America ends again putting an innocent person in their jails.

Which is very contrary to the American motto, and to their famed Miranda Rights.

P.S. This is my very first article for the month of December.

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