chain of causation

a series of events in the life of a lawyer

Carefully Written Notes = Trash Fodder

Having spent the better part of 19 years in various types of educational systems, I have found that class notes of one variety or another are almost required if one intends to learn material. Especially law students, they’ll defend their case notes with force if necessary. Thus it seems rather odd that a teacher would require the surrender of class notes for destruction as an anti-cheating measure.

Since the alleged incident occurred in a high school, I think I can safely presume that there was no agreement beforehand that provided for this. But, as if to invite further ridicule from the Internet, this teacher allegedly took it upon herself to relive the student of his notes by removing them from his backpack. Irregardless of any copyright or broader claim to the contents of those notes, this would appear to be a textbook example of larceny – a taking and carrying away of personal property of another (the notes), without consent (the implication from the original poster was that at the very least was under threat of failing), and with intent to deprive the owner permanently of the property (the subsequent burning of the notes).

The whole reason why lawyers and the judicial system exist is because Humanity still cannot be trusted to get along peacefully and not do bad stuff™. In some circles, lawyers are considered to be the civilized method of dispute resolution as opposed to everyone fending for themselves with shotguns.

In any event, someone who upon information and belief is a lawyer (based on the conspicuous disclaimer), responded to the original poster and summed up the larceny and copyright angles much more eloquently on the original forum.

Legal issues aside, this is probably a sign that the teacher in question intended to recycle material from year to year in an effort to reduce her own work. While some material is designed to be reused from year to year (July 4, 1776 as the date for the US Declaration of Independence is unlikely to change next year) it is always preferable to ensure that this year’s students undergo examinations that reflect material covered this year. For example, the mandatory skills course for newly admitted attorneys in New Jersey, although most likely covering much of the same material as the year before, changes the assignments from year to year in order to ensure that the attorneys actually learn the material and apply it to this year’s new questions. I am quite thankful that my teachers did not take the lazy way out and have made me a better person because of it.

[Link to original post on Slashdot.]

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Written by Vincent Kan

January 26, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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