Are teachers / faculty overreacting over what students post about them on Facebook?


Are teachers / faculty overreacting over what students post about them on Facebook?

  1. YES - Students are just blowing off steam. They're not on school property or using school eqipment.

  2. NO - Some of those remarks are embarrassing. They don't get a free pass over the internet.

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  1. Father: school too harsh on son for online remarks

    Updated Mon. Apr. 30 2007 5:58 PM ET
    The father of a student disciplined for posting negative remarks about teachers on the Internet says the school went too far in its punishment.

    Five Grade 8 students from Willowbrook Public School in Thornhill have been banned from a year-end trip to Montreal because of comments posted on, a social networking site.

    David Koch, father of disciplined student Bram Koch, said the school essentially invaded his "property" by looking at what his son wrote.

    "My son was not involved with any school activity, it was not on school grounds, nor was any school equipment used," Koch told CTV Newsnet.

    "He was sitting at home in the basement. Now that, as far as I'm concerned, is my turf. Now when he goes on the Internet, yes, it's arguable that a part of him is out there. But if that's the case, then a part of school went into my house, and the moment they did that, they crossed a boundary."

    Last December, his son wrote a message to friends on joking that he saw his science teacher masturbating in class.

    Koch said that his son's comments were "totally inappropriate," but that because he's only 14 years old his remarks should be placed in the context of his young age.

    Kathleen Wynne, Ontario's education minister, said the issue shows that schools need to educate students about privacy issues on the Internet.

    "We have to have the conversation about what's private, what's public, what are the protocols, what are the rules, because I think it's very unclear," she told The Canadian Press.

    "We need to realize that these technologies exist, and we need to be realistic that they're not going away, and we need to help our students to deal with them."

    Bram Koch told The Toronto Star that he did not meant to cause others harm by his remarks. He said there were as many as 30 students conversing on the site, some of whom were posting anonymously.

    He also said derogatory remarks made about other teachers, including one about a phys-ed teacher who "gives masturbating tips."

    Toronto has the highest number of Facebook users in the world, with a network roughly twice as large as New York.

    Ontario recently introduced a bill that lists bullying -- including cyber-bullying -- as an infraction for which suspension must be considered.

    School principal Kelly Fassel sent a letter about the "misuses of the Internet" to the parents of 20 students last week.

    "There were some inappropriate comments made about teachers," Fassel said Monday. "I guess it calls respect into the forefront that this has been a disrespectful action (and) its caused embarrassment."

    Fassel added that schools in York region have safe schools, respectful workplace and appropriate use of the Internet policies. It is her responsibility to enforce those policies and Fassel believes they were all broken in this case.

    Parents were asked to meet with her about their children's conduct and that's where Fassel explained at least five of the teens would not be welcome on next month's two-day trip to Montreal.

    Koch said he doesn't believe the school's punishment fits the crime. His son has since written and posted an apology to the teachers involved online. Despite that, the school says it's sticking with the decision to ban him from the Montreal trip.

    A number of students in the Toronto area have been suspended recently over comments posted on Facebook.

    Last month, five teenagers from Birchmount Park Collegiate in Scarborough were suspended for writing inappropriate remarks about staff. A student protest days later led to the arrests of four boys who allegedly threw objects at police.

    In February, 19 students from Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary School in Caledon East were suspended after complaining online about school policies relating to cellphone use. They blamed the principal for a board-wide policy.

    And in Quebec this past week, at least five students were suspended from St. Thomas High School in Pointe Claire for comments on Facebook. The posts were discovered by a teacher at the school.

    The students ranged from Grades 8 to 11. Unconfirmed reports suggest the comments may have been racist and that one teacher was called a pedophile.

    "We must make sure that everybody understands that they are responsible for what they say and for what they do," Nancy Hain, of the Lester B. Pearson School Board, told CTV Montreal.

    "You don't get a free pass on the Internet."

    With a report from CTV's MairiAnna Bachynsky

  2. I think there's a problem when the school invades a social medium on the internet for everyone. Facebook is not a school tool, there are other platforms for that. I'm not really approving of what these students wrote, but the nature of facebook as of now taken into consideration, it should not be "moderated" by schools.

    Another issue is that if writing on facebook get these consequences, then children will simply move on to the next similar service, or a chat / BBS. OR these students could appear on facebook under aliases. Then what would the school do? Punish entire classes?
  3. I agree. If I were a parent, I'd rather my student rant about a teacher/principal on their private page than pull some cruel, elaborate prank on school grounds or say these things to their faces.

    And I don't like the idea of the school administrators monitoring what students post.

    But 'Principal xxxxxx is an ass' is more acceptable than 'Principal xxxxxx is a pedophile.'

    Hopefully parents and students know the meaning of the word 'libel,' though.
  4. Ummm....what the hell were the teachers doing looking up their students on Facebook anyway????? Sounds almost perverted to me!!! What student DIDN'T have something negative to say about at least ONE teacher. Oh please, these teachers should be punished for practically stalking their students! Yuck!!!
  5. When my brother was in middle school, he was at lunch and ranted to his friends about a particular teacher to his friends. That teacher overheard him and suspended him for a few days.

    (Granted, he was on school grounds at the time, but he was at lunch and talking to his friends.)

    My parents weren't mad. They reasoned that it wasn't like he said it to her face. They DID warn him to watch where he was when he said things like that, though.
  6. ^^Unfortunaltely, lots of teachers at my school have facebook accounts, in the beginning I thought it was kinda cool, but it seems like they're trying to spy now tht I think about it... Alot of teachers know these sites exist, so my school has enacted its own teacher rating site because some teachers commented that the comments on were offensive... I mean its a free site, but yes, on the internet everyone is free to come and go to whatever site they please..
  7. If the student did that on a school website, I'd say the school had the right to punish him. But he was on a public forum that had nothing to do with the school. Granted his remarks were tasteless but are we going to go around now allowing every authority figure to police public remarks? thats very Nazi Germany scary. If I were the school, I would be more concerned with what teacher was giving students masturbation tips?!
  8. There is a difference between free speech and slander in my opinion. It's one thing to say a teacher is a jerk, or idiot something along those lines and quite another thing to attribute an action to a person, like "he gives masturbation tips"

    I am a big free speech advocate. But lies and bullying do not belong on the internet.
  9. 4 kids from my brother's high school were kicked out of school for remarks they made on mySpace and facebook. They were in a private school, which always makes rules up as they go, but I think their remarks actually were scary- like toned-down death threats. So they did deserve it, but sometimes it goes too far. People, especially kids, tend to say things that are over the top. I just wonder when we draw the line to stop...
  10. Even though I uphold the first amendment with a militant fervor, I still believe we should all practice discretion. I'm all for freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but some of the stuff that's floating around the facebook is downright disgusting. Perhaps the parents should encourage the children to be a bit more diplomatic and self-edited. Don't post anything on a public board that can come back to bite you in the butt. That's just simple manners. The student used poor judgement. Lesson learned, hopefully. We all know that nothing we type is every really private, especially over the internet.

    I wonder if the public would have been less sympathetic with the student if they had posted racial slurs or homophobic remarks about their teacher.
  11. The boy needs his mouth wash out with soap! Everyone has the rights to express them self, but it is morally WRONG what he did. When the parents make excuses for their child, it sets a bad example. He will never hold him self accountable to his wrong deeds in life. It will always be "someone else fault." Do wrong and take the consequence.
  12. It is sad to think that our teachers bust their butts teaching our kids, get paid very little doing it and know that horrible things can be said about them online and have absolutely no recourse. I think the school was absolutely correct in what they did.

    What would you think if the tables were turned and the teachers started posting horrible things about your kids on their facebook site? Should they be fired?(dam straight they should be fired!) But we could use the same argument here that it was on their own time, had nothing to do with school.. ..and what were those kids doing looking on their teacher’s accounts anyway?

    I know I can be fired from my job if I were to post anything negative about them or my coworkers. As well let us not forget the TPF member who is fighting a legal battle as her name was smeared all over the internet (as well as other things).

    Thanks and I’m getting off my soapbox now. :smile:
  13. I agree with twinkle. Anyone can google your name and get a match with these crappy comments. Slander is very real and can be very harmful to a person's reputation. The problem I notice with these young people who use myspace and facebook is that they have not been taught about discretion. They could voice the opinion by saying "Mr. X sucks" or whatever. They don't need to name names. I personally think they ENJOY naming names. I doubt they'd like it if the tables were turned on them though. But if they are students then Mom and Dad are probably footing the bill and they don't have to worry about their professional reputations and livelihoods being threatened, either. IMO this behavior is a form of harassment and at least in the state I live in, it's illegal too.
  14. It's simply the teacher's bruised ego that led to the boy getting in trouble. I don't see why they overreacted so badly to a 14 year old making a joke that was a little offensive. If someone said that they saw george bush and dick cheney masturbating together, should they be punished? I know not all of the laws of the constitution apply on school grounds, but this was not school grounds.

    What's next? They're going to start tracing ip addresses from and suspend students for negative comments??
  15. Well-said. ITA!