A recent article explains how MySpace and Facebook postings are being used for discipline in schools. At my school the same thing occurs on a limited basis.
One problem we are seeing is that students will post pictures of athletic code violations. Often, students or coaches will print off MySpace pictures to reveal athletes or students in activities breaking the agreed upon code of conduct required to participate in high school sports and activities. This has become a fairly regular occurrence, and many students put on probation or suspended from events were caught because of these sites.
The other difficulty we have is that many confrontations at school stem from students airing their feuds on MySpace and Facebook. What started in cyberspace manifests in hallways, classrooms, and at events. It is not unusual to have students defend their actions by printing pages from these social networking sites and revealing patterns of behavior from their perceived antagonists.
I’m not sure where the line is drawn when administrators, security officials, coaches, and teachers search these sites looking for violations. Since we cannot access these sites from the school (web filters take care of this), everyone must be using personal computers to conduct the searches.
Should we be searching these sites? How do we use what we find? Where is the line?
I definitely feel that someone, at some point, has to begin teaching students responsible internet usage. If parents are not doing this, do we take the reins and add this to our lengthy list of duties? Do we eliminate something else we teach?
The cyber world is invading the educational world, so what are our responsibilities in dealing with this new wrinkle?