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Do you think this school is right to expel children under 13 who have Facebook accounts?

Posted by on May. 18, 2012 at 5:13 AM
  • 12 Replies

Principal Tells Students to Quit Facebook or Get Expelled

Posted by Julie Ryan Evans on May 17, 2012 

kids on computer The intent is admirable -- to crack down on cyber bullying that has become rampant among children. However, the means one principal is taking is more than extreme as she's threatening to expel any child under the age of 13 who has a Facebook account.

According to a story in The Sydney Morning Herald, Leonie Hultgren, the principal of Harlaxton State School in Toowoomba, Queensland, isn't just talking about children who use Facebook during school hours, or those who have been accused of using it maliciously, but rather ANY student that has an account that's not 13. She says those are the rules of the site, and for good reason. She believes children younger than that aren't mature enough to handle the responsibility of it, and she for one isn't going to tolerate it.

Never mind what those people called parents at home think. She's reaching beyond the school doors and into people's homes to dictate what they can and can't do. What a slippery slope that is.

In a pretty condescending letter to parents, Hultgren wrote:

It may seem insignificant to lie about your age to gain access to a social media site but where does it stop? Will they then think it is okay to lie about their age to gain a licence? Parents, you are your child's first teachers. What do you want them to learn? How do you want them live their lives? Is your example a socially acceptable example?

Now, I agree with her to some extent. Helping your kids get around rules and regulations is a dicey move and can set a bad precedent (but mom, you let me lie on Facebook, why can't I get fake ID ? ... ), but that's a parent's prerogative. Some may feel their children are plenty mature to handle it, just like some parents let their children watch R-rated movies. Is she going to expel them too?

As much as I think it's great that schools try to teach good, law-abiding behavior in the classroom, that's where it should end. It's the parents' job to take it from there and either reinforce it or not.

A report last year showed that 7.5 million children under the age of 13 have Facebook accounts in the United States alone, so clearly it's not just a few rogue kids who are the problem. There may not be many kids in school once she starts enforcing this practice. Not only that, it seems like she's taking the easy way out of what's a much more complicated problem. Social media is here to stay and is only going to grow as children grow, so instead of trying to ban them from it, we need to instead teach them more tolerance, respect, and boundaries in all situations -- whether online or off.

Do you think this school is right to expel children under 13 who have Facebook accounts?

by on May. 18, 2012 at 5:13 AM
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by on May. 18, 2012 at 11:08 AM

I think that is absolutely ridiculous. If a child under the age of 13 has a Facebook account, that's between Facebook and the parents. I think if the school found out that the child has one, they may perceive it as their duty to tell the parent, but an expulsion is going waaaay too far!  Does that school expel a child in high school with a valid driver's license who gets a speeding ticket? Probably not and that is breaking a LAW. 

by on May. 18, 2012 at 12:28 PM
No. That's too far-reaching into something that should be handled by the parents. And I agree that kids under 13 should not have fb accounts. We do not let our children lie about their ages. Not for fb, paypal, youtube, etc.
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by on May. 18, 2012 at 12:37 PM

 No that is the job of the parents!

by on May. 18, 2012 at 12:56 PM

No that is ridiculous that is the parents job.

by on May. 18, 2012 at 1:50 PM
1 mom liked this

That is rediculous!!  I agree maybe that she is responsible for letting the parents know but that is as far as a school should go.

My kids have had a facebook since a few months before they turned 12.  They are now 14.  I set it up for them.  We had rules in place.  I monitor their facebook at least weekly.  I am friends with them and also friends with many of their friends. 

They only wanted a facebook because they had recently changed schools and wanted to be able to talk to their friends from the previous school.  They also enjoy playing the games.  There were many times that they have been on facebook while sitting next to me and they would tell me to read something on their page.  It is all about talking to them.  Now they hardly ever get on facebook anymore unless it is to talk to their friends from their other school or if it is to ask a teacher something...

I agree that kids should be monitored.  Social networking is here to stay.  I believe that kids need to be taught to be responsible with social networking instead of making it completely bad. 


by on May. 18, 2012 at 4:48 PM
I don't think that is okay at all. I also do not agree with kids having Facebook pages, but don't believe it is the schools business. I have a couple nephews on my Facebook page who are 10/11 and I have to censor everything I post because I don't want them to see anything their parents wouldn't approve of. (then their parents shouldnt let them have the page, imo) In my case, it's things like homebirth and breastfeeding, not cursing, etc. unfortunately, they are "friends" with plenty of adults who do not censor.
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by on May. 18, 2012 at 4:50 PM

NOT the school's place.

by on May. 18, 2012 at 5:34 PM

 The school should not have authority to expel a child for something that did not happen at school or at a school function.

by on May. 18, 2012 at 6:28 PM
1 mom liked this
Well since this is the homeschool group I'll put my smart butt comment. LOL.

Maybe if the schools would worry more about what's happening on school grounds and worry more about teaching academics maybe less children would be homeschooled.
I'm not for children having Facebook but if I decided to let them, That's my decision not the schools.
Let the parents be the parents.
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by Sonja on May. 19, 2012 at 2:52 PM

 Having a facebook page is not breaking any local, state or federal laws, even when that person is under the specified age that facebook deems to be the appropriate age. 

  In my humble opinion, this is overstepping boundaries. It is not the school's, government's or any other outside entity's job to monitor what a parent allows their children to do.  If a law is broken, then and only then, should an outside entity step up and take action. 

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