Friend Request AcceptedMonday, May 07, 2012 By Jasmina Lukolic '14
Imagine being a teacher and owning a Facebook account; you complete your normal routine of checking your Facebook daily and login in one day and can’t help but detect a red box next to the friend request link on the upper left corner of your screen. You notice it’s one of your students that you teach; will you accept or deny? This is a normal day for teachers as students believe that it’s acceptable to add teachers. As Mark Zuckerberg once said about Facebook, it was “built to accomplish a social mission -- to make the world more open and connected.” So is it really okay for students and teachers to be connected through Facebook? Technology advancing daily is becoming a big chapter for not only this time period, but for generations to come, however problems also occur with these advancements. As said in Metro New York , about 61% of Americans living in America use the internet for social media. Many people are so dependent on Facebook, that Obama once said that “ We are a nation of Facebook and Google”. One problem is teachers and students interacting through Facebook, is causing a national debate about whether it is right for one of them to add the other on Facebook. When confirming/ viewing a “friend’s” page on Facebook you are able to view information about that friend such as photos, hobbies, thoughts that they write on Facebook, mutual friends and more. This is also viewable to students and teachers when they become friends on Facebook. As Jennifer Mangone, the teacher’s union representative at The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria, said “Teachers are meant to be role models and mentors and social media does not always portray the most positive image of a person.” Some teachers all around the country have not been exactly the “role model” that teachers are supposed to be. For instance, teacher Ashley Payne of Georgia lost her job after posting pictures with alcohol in her public pictures. Christine Rubio, another teacher, once stated in her Facebook, “After today, I’m thinking the beach is a good trip for my class. I hate their guts,” and lost her job. Ginger D’Amico, a teacher from Pennsylvania appeared in pictures with a stripper and was given a 30-day suspension for the post. These are just some complications between teachers and students. A Bronx teacher named Chadwin Reynolds become “friends’ with 6 female students and wrote sexual comments to them under their photos. Actually, from early-2011 to mid-2011, 3 U.S. teachers were fired for having inappropriate conversations with students on Facebook according to scribbal.com. Teachers and students becoming friends through Facebook has become inevitable lately. According to scribbal.com, 10% of Facebook users are only high school students, making teachers and students friends on Facebook even harder to avoid. CrimejusticeandAmerica, a website catering to Criminal Justice readers, posted a poll stating “Should teachers be allowed to “friend” students on Facebook?” About 68% voted “Yes” (121 votes out of 178) while 32% voted “No” (57 votes). The 68% believes that there is no problem with teachers and pupils being friends through Facebook. They might believe that Facebook is a better way to interact with students as it is popular and almost every student owns a Facebook account. For example, whenever a student needs help on homework or needs to clarify something with a teacher, they can simply send a message and the teacher can respond back in a matter of hours. The answer to whether or not students and teachers should be friends through Facebook is still unknown. Brooke Carey, a 10th English teacher at The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria, believes that teachers should create a “specific page and/or account for that purpose, which is only used for school.” Other alternatives of Facebook are SchoolRack and Wikispaces. A student at The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria, Brooke Lopez, said “There should be a boarder between friend and teacher.” She adds, “If you were to add your teacher, you would have to take extra precautions on the things you put on the internet." However, at the end of the day Facebook will always have teachers and students being a supporter of Facebook, all you have to do is have safety measures before adding someone on Facebook.