Administration discusses possibility of unblocking Facebook on school computers

The Newtonite

by Jared Perlo
Senior Lucia Grigoli proposed a bill to allow access to Facebook on school computers to the Student Faculty Administration at Wednesday’s meeting.
In the bill, Grigoli outlines the positives of the social media service and why granting access to the website in school is warranted.
In one of the bill’s sections Grigoli writes, “Facebook’s ‘newsfeed’ has become the newspaper of today’s youth.” Grigoli references the Kony 2012 campaign, saying that its growth was rapidly disseminated online and quickly became a viral video much as a result of its spread on Facebook.
More importantly, Grigoli wrote, is the fact that many students depend on Facebook for educational purposes, including sending messages and helping each other out through Facebook’s “inbox” and “groups” features.
Grigoli wrote that using Facebook makes communicating much easier than using email, because finding a fellow student on Facebook is much easier than finding his or her email address, and students often check Facebook more often than they check their email accounts.
Junior Winston Huang agreed, saying, “The inbox is much easier than email.”
In addition, Grigoli said, “The ‘group’ function on Facebook is perhaps the most useful platform for which students can share their ideas.”
Grigoli herself belongs to a Facebook “group” for one of her classes. “We discuss prompts for essays and post homework for those that weren’t in class,” she said.
Huang later said, “Of my five core classes, I have three with Facebook groups.”
Although the bill seemed to garner student support, faculty members were wary of the bill’s implications.
Special education teacher Peter Cavanaugh shared his concern that opening up Facebook to the school could present harmful effects, including cyberbullying.
In addition to administrators’ already busy schedules, “I can see why the administration wouldn’t want to spend time breaking up cyberfights,” Cavanaugh said.
Other faculty members, including history and social sciences teacher Ty Vignone, showed their support for the bill. “Philosophically, intellectually and legally, I support this bill,” Vignone said.
However, he voiced concerns that the allowance of Facebook would increase students’ distraction and use of mobile phones, a point in which he made his stance very clear.
“The cell phone usage in my Close-Up class is unethical,” Vignone said. “I’ve had to stop a lot in class; I’ve asked for their respect. It is crazy. It is taking up tons of my time.”
Despite his concerns, Vignone could not help but admire Grigoli’s proposal, saying “This is the way a bill is introduced in our state house and in Congress. It’s the best proposal format that I’ve seen.”