Posted in: In this week's e-newsletter, Internet, Latest News & Views
Some parents and students are in an uproar, claiming the school principal monitored his students’ activities on Facebook. But did he really cross the line?
In Michigan, All Saints Central School principal John Hoving created a Facebook profile. He said he uses Facebook to:
- promote the school
- connect with alumni, and
- increase communication with parents.
Hoving also friends students who send him friend requests. As a result, some parents and students have accused him of using Facebook to monitor students’ online activity.
Hoving says if he happens to see students posting questionable content in public forums, he feels it is his responsibility — as a concerned adult — to help students understand the potential consequences of their digital activity.
Several parents and students spoke out in support of Hoving, saying they are fine with his efforts to “look out for” everyone at school.
Others have said Hoving is “overstepping his boundaries as a principal of a high school.”
Richard Guerry, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Online and Cell-phone Communication (IROC2), weighed in on the debate, noting that “Facebook is designed for anyone of any age in any location to share thoughts, ideas and interests. That includes kids and parents as well as criminals and principals.”
Guerry posed an intriguing question: Would parents who have an issue with the principal’s actions really want him to ignore potential problems — especially when he has an opportunity to protect their children before something happens?
Hoving should “be commended for caring and protecting his students,” according to Guerry.
Consider real-life situations that have happened as a result of irresponsible online activity. Just a few examples include:
- Anthony Stancl’s Facebook scheme
- The Michigan Daily lawsuit
- Tim Perry’s uploaded video
- the YouTube bullying case, and
- the attempted kidnapping of a Kentucky student.
What’s your take? Is this principal crossing the line — or just protecting his students?