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Administration passes bill to allow Facebook access at school

by Jared Perlo
After nearly a month of debating and discussing, the Student Faculty Administration (SFA) approved senior Lucia Grigoli’s bill to allow Facebook access within the school throughout the school day, although further deliberation will take place next year.
However, Grigoli’s bill is contingent upon “the creation of a school social media policy” and “extending the Principal’s veto time to two weeks after the SFA meeting,” as stated in the motion made and seconded in Wednesday’s meeting.
The social media policy would be a contract that all students would sign, according to the bill. It would address cyberbullying and “how to behave responsibly online.” Grigoli says in her bill that it is “irresponsible of us” not to use Facebook as a way to teach students these lessons.
Principal Jennifer Price said that she was worried about what would happen to the bill if deliberations were not extended. She reminded SFA members of the organization’s purpose, which is to advise the principal on school-related decisions. The principal is allowed two weeks to consider a bill passed by SFA members.
As detailed in the SFA constitution, “If the principal fails to veto or to express the need for an extension within the original two weeks, the motion will be recognized as passed.”
With just about 15 minutes left before the end of the last SFA meeting of the legislative year, Price expressed concern that she would not have enough time to review the bill and come to a conclusive decision during that meeting.
Price also wanted to know if unblocking Facebook at this school would necessitate allowing Facebook throughout the Newton Public Schools. Price asked, “Do I want my seven-year-old to have access Facebook at her elementary school?”
NPS Information Technology department head Leo Brehm attended the meeting and informed SFA members that the IT department is working on a method to block or unblock certain websites in certain schools. However, this technology is still being developed and is not ready to be implemented.
Nevertheless, Grigoli said she thought it was important that the SFA do something to keep the bill’s momentum going into the SFA’s next season.
“If we don’t pass it, I feel like there’s no obligation for the SFA to continue this bill next year,” Grigoli said.
The SFA came to a vote about five minutes before the end of its meeting. The bill was passed almost unanimously, with one faculty member voting against the proposal.
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