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Illinois schools can demand students' social media passwords

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(CNN) - In Illinois, a new law aimed at curbing cyberbullying gives schools access to kids' social media account passwords.

But some are saying the law goes too far.

Previously, Illinois schools could take action against students if online bullying occurred - such as something posted on Twitter or Facebook during the school day.

However, with the new law that Illinois legislators approved, school districts and universities in Illinois can demand a student's social media password.

The new law states that if school authorities have a reasonable cause to believe that a student's account contains evidence that a student has violated a school's disciplinary rule of policy, even if posted after school hours.

This week some school districts in Illinois sent home letters to notify parents and students to explain the new rules.

"To get into a social networking site, either be at school or at home,” Triad CUSD #2 superintendent Leigh Lewis said. “And it would be password-protected. That we would be able to get that password."

Some parents who received the notice say the new law raises some concern about privacy.

"It's one thing for me to take my child's social media account in there and open it up for the teacher to look at, or for even a teacher to make a child pull up their social media account, but to have to hand over your password and personal information to your accounts to the school is not acceptable to me," Sara Bozarth said.

Some students we talked with on campus believe there still should be some separation between schools and what students do on their own time and their personal device.

"I think it's unreasonable,” college student Nathan Sterling said. “I think it's an invasion of privacy to the extent that, if a student wishes to share something with a university, it should be to their discretion."

Other students, though, say the new law sends a strong message that threats and cyberbullying will not be tolerated.

"It'll help stop bullying by raising awareness and stopping those kids that have been bullied or will get bullied in the future," student Keanna Williams said.

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