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Missouri High School Principal Resigns After Posing As Student On Facebook 190

longacre writes "Suzy Harriston wanted to be friends on Facebook. The profile said she was from Clayton [Missouri] and had more than 300 friends, many of them from Clayton High School. No one seemed to question who Harriston was. That is, until the night of April 5, when a 2011 grad and former Clayton quarterback posted a public accusation. '"Whoever is friends with Suzy Harriston on Facebook needs to drop them. It is the Clayton Principal," wrote Chase Haslett.' Suzy Harriston quickly disappeared from Facebook, and Louise Losos, the principal, subsequently took a leave of absence, and then resigned."
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Missouri High School Principal Resigns After Posing As Student On Facebook

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  • News for nerds (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 05, 2012 @03:34PM (#39903397)

    Slow news day eh timothy?

  • Re:principal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Barbara, not Barbie ( 721478 ) <barbara...hudson@@@gmail...com> on Saturday May 05, 2012 @03:48PM (#39903513) Journal

    He just wanted to know whats in, and whats out. Who's having sex and who's not. Who's going out on Friday nights and who's staying in. A principal that truly cares for his pupils. Either that, or he wanted in on those sexy beach pictures the cheer leading captain took with all her friends this summer.

    Could you at least read the summary, if not the article? The principal is Louise Losos, a woman.

  • by parallel_prankster ( 1455313 ) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @04:02PM (#39903589)
    I would say this one is still an okay story to put on Slashdot compared to some of the other constantly anti-Apple stories ( really, have we all come to a consensus Apple is evil and others are not? and I am not an Apple fan either ) and the anti-TSA stuff (how many stories do we need of that? We all are in agreement about that one for sure). Why is this particular story interesting? IMHO , how bad is faking your identity online ? I mean did she solicit students for sex ? or was it just to know the current vibe among? Did she just wanna be a cool principal by knowing what goes on among her students ? I briefly read the above article about the whole PE teacher thing. I dont know. Has no one used a fake name in real life ever? Does Facebook have a policy that you cannot lie about your age to underage kids ? I think it raises some interesting questions about online identities. I mean what if she was friends with some kid in the school and she got that kid to give her the username/password of their fb account (hypothetically speaking) and just looked at all her friends profiles and walls etc. Wouldn't that be similar to this?
  • Know your friends (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bbartlog ( 1853116 ) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @04:20PM (#39903725)
    When I was on Facebook, I didn't friend anyone unless I actually *knew* the person. If you friend someone on Facebook just because they friended you and you want a really big number of friends, well... the joke is probably on you.
  • by rogueippacket ( 1977626 ) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @04:22PM (#39903737)
    Yeah, Facebook "creeping" seems unscrupulous, but it is much, much better than the alternatives. A nosy person is a nosy person - they'll get into your business if they want to, at least Facebook keeps them across a digital divide. Besides, it teaches the kids a valuable lesson - if you put it online, it's never private.
  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @05:07PM (#39904087)

    Yeah, Facebook "creeping" seems unscrupulous, but it is much, much better than the alternatives.

    It's a boundary violation. Passing as a student creates inappropriate relationships between kids and people who are supposed to be authority figures and professionals.

    "The alternative" is what, exactly? Spying on kids without probable cause and something resembling judicial oversight is just teaching them to expect the same behavior from law enforcement or other authorities once they become adults and make it out into the real world. Its probably different for 10-year-olds. But kids have to have a continuum of responsibility and autonomy. High school is right next to adulthood and people need to behave as such.

  • by maccodemonkey ( 1438585 ) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @05:10PM (#39904109)

    "or was it just to know the current vibe among?"

    JUST to know the current vibe amount?


    There are so many reasons this is wrong no matter the reasons. Whatever the principal's intentions, you'd still have access to information that if the principal even sees is a possible professional violation. Who's dating/sleeping with who, possible inappropriate pictures for an administrator to see (even kids in their swimsuits is extremely questionable), and yes, opinions on school staff that could bias her opinion in ways that it should not.

    Whatever her intention, there is absolutely no professional excuse. She can't just filter out the safe information from the unsafe without seeing everything, which is the problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 05, 2012 @06:04PM (#39904477)

    even taking age out of consideration, yes, it is still considered bad. why? because at the very least it is a conflict of interest.

  • by outsider007 ( 115534 ) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @06:28PM (#39904635)

    Well it wouldn't have been this day in time would it? Glass houses, genius.

  • by Kreigaffe ( 765218 ) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @06:33PM (#39904681)

    There is a WORLD of difference between snooping into business practices to make sure they're on the up-and-up, and snooping into the PRIVATE LIVES of citizens.

    We accept business intrusions because it ensures that businesses (well, intends to ensure..) aren't exploiting workers or insider information.

    We should never, ever accept snooping into private lives -- especially when that snooping is used to punish citizens for actions that took place outside and apart from the authority punishing them.

  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @06:53PM (#39904773)

    She pretended to be a student? Doesn't sound that wrong to me if that's all she did.

    If she had time for this crap then her salary was useless overhead anyway.

    Ever wonder why schools always need more and more money? Adjusted for inflation, expenditures for students and salaries for teachers haven't changed much at all relative to the far higher amount we pay for public schooling compared to 20-30 years ago. What has changed? The number of administrative staff has drastically increased.

    And this is how they use their time?

    Also, it bothers me the way you think it's acceptable for an authority figure to deceive impressionable young people in order to learn about things that happen outside of school that those young people would not have voluntarily shared with said authority figure. If you're a fan of authoritarianism and the use of surveillance with no justification, please explain why. Somehow I doubt you would personally like for your life to be subject to such people, but maybe I have that all wrong.

    It's possible they'll never admit it, but many young people would love to see an authority figure who is honest, noble, and genuinely respectable. For most of them it would be the first time they have ever witnessed such a thing.

  • by rohan972 ( 880586 ) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @07:05PM (#39904825)
    Not that wrong? As an agent of the government at best it's a 4th amendment violation, it she was aiming to take action against people who criticized her that should be a 1st amendment violation.

    There seems to be no possible motivation for this behavior that isn't pretty creepy. Maybe we just have different definitions of wrong.
  • by maccodemonkey ( 1438585 ) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @07:38PM (#39904939)

    It's the information students share WITH THE WHOLE WORLD ONLY?

    No it's not. Facebook has privacy settings to select who you share information with. No, that's not ironclad, but it's also no excuse for the principal to misrepresent herself to acquire this information that she could have not easily acquired without friending the kids.

    If the whole world could get at the info, she wouldn't have needed to friend them in the first place, would she?

  • by theArtificial ( 613980 ) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @07:49PM (#39904985)
    "Private" information posted online, especially to Facebook, is not private. It's like writing something in a public (the internet) and saying I can keep a secret but the people I tell cannot. From the same generation who posts their exploits to Youtube/Twitter/Facebook.
  • by robbo ( 4388 ) <slashdot@@@simra...net> on Saturday May 05, 2012 @08:06PM (#39905057)

    The real alternative is to teach our children not to accept friend requests from strangers. I find it shocking that 300 people accepted her friend requests without so much as raising an eyebrow.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 05, 2012 @09:23PM (#39905425)

    Is a principal considered a teacher here in the US?

    The word "principal" is short for "principal teacher", from way back when.

    I'm not quite sure when principals stopped teaching as a matter of course.

  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @10:10PM (#39905577)

    I find it shocking that 300 people accepted her friend requests without so much as raising an eyebrow.

    Probably not so obvious as all that. I expect that after the first half dozen or so had accepted her friend requests, after that everyone knew she was a friend of [someone they already knew]...

  • by robbo ( 4388 ) <slashdot@@@simra...net> on Sunday May 06, 2012 @01:23AM (#39906173)

    It took 300 people before *any* suspicions were raised...
    Seriously- I don't care how many mutual friends I have with a random invite, I'm not going to share my personal life with them until I know who they are. I have been known to accept LinkedIn requests from strangers, where I see some professional value in doing so, but I don't post pics of my family on linkedin...

  • by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @03:29AM (#39906515) Homepage Journal

    1) You're a kid. You've spend most of your life trying to get a high score on computer games. Facebook is fun, interactive, and on a computer, so your instincts are telling you to do well at it and get a high score. It's hard *not* to look at the friends count as a 'score', measuring how good you are at Facebook.

    2) Ever been an unpopular kid in school? Social hierarchies mean a lot to kids, and Facebook makes 'being the unpopular kid' a measurable statistic. Add a few more people and you are measurably, provably, not the unpopular kid.

    Facebook's exponential growth certainly isn't due to good design, strong privacy or those oh, so enjoyable farmville requests, it's down the the intense pressure on all students to have an above average number of friends.

  • by Phroggy ( 441 ) <slashdot3@@@phroggy...com> on Sunday May 06, 2012 @04:11AM (#39906637) Homepage

    When I was on Facebook, I didn't friend anyone unless I actually *knew* the person.

    I feel the same way. That's why Facebook is completely useless to me and never appealed to me. Make sense? If I had some unhealthy need for the casual attention of strangers and distant acquaintences then I would have a case for using Facebook.

    If I wanted substandard Web hosting or if I wanted to play frivolous mini-games I can do that without the long list of downsides that come with using Facebook.

    Yes... Facebook is pretty useless if you don't actually have any friends, and I certainly wouldn't suggest that you should use it. For those of us who do have friends, though, it's a convenient way to stay in touch (particularly for friends I can't see regularly because they don't live nearby).

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell