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Students Told to Delete Facebook Accounts or Face Expulsion

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Facebook by marcopako on Flickr

Image by marcopako on Flickr

Officials at Beis Rivkah High School, an all-girls Jewish Orthodox school in Crown Heights in Brooklyn, NY, don’t want their students on Facebook, and they’re ready to expel anyone who doesn’t delete her account.

CrownHeights.info, a Crown Heights community website,  reported that an anonymous school official commented that “the purpose of the crackdown was to restore a certain level of Tznius that had been lacking among the girls, as Facebook accounts had been cited as a contributing factor to the decline of Tznius standards by many Mashpi’im and Educators.”

According to Wikipedia, Tznius “is used to describe both the character trait of modesty and humility, as well as a group of Jewish religious laws pertaining to conduct in general and especially between the sexes.”

The school gave about half of the girls in each class of 11th grade students written notice that they were either to get rid of their Facebook accounts and pay $100 to the school or face expulsion; the following day, a note was sent to 12th graders.

Shaindel Teichtel, the school’s principal, told Jewish newspaper the Algemeiner via email that the Facebook ban has been in place for over two years and that it is “[i]n keeping with the highest quality standards of educating our students, within the context of a pure and sacred Torah (Jewish law) environment.”

Teichtel added, “As always in education we are constantly striving to enhance our school and improve our chinuch (education). Consequently we have arranged that after pesach (Passover) an expert in this area will address all students and respond to all questions.”

Also according to the Algemeiner, an anonymous student said that “[p]eople on the board said it’s not proper for us to have Facebook because girls might be talking to boys on Facebook or they might be putting up immodest pictures.”

Some parents and students were reportedly upset about the Facebook crackdown because, they claimed, the school encouraged students to open such accounts in order to try to win a “Kohl’s charity giveaway” in 2011.

Teichtel calls that allegation “patently incorrect and hurtful.”

So are all students disturbed by the school’s recent action? One person who identified herself as “11th grader in Bais Rivkah High School” wrote the following in the comments of the CrownHeights.info article:

it was not about tznius it was about the fact that we sighed a contract stating that we would not have a Facebook account, and by having a Facebook account we were in violation of the contract in result having to pay a fine of $100, its like a ticket you do something that’s against the rules you get fined.

What do you think? Should a school have the authority to prohibit student use of social media outside of school and fine and/or expel them if they violate that rule?

H/t The Huffington Post.

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March 28th, 2012 at 12:16 pm