Middle school principal says 'no' to Facebook

May 11, 2010 10:22:34 AM PDT
The principal of Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood, New Jersey is on a crusade to take Facebook away from young students. Middle school principal Tony Orsini wishes his students would focus more on sports and friends and less on Facebook.

"It becomes much larger than when we were kids, it's impossible to control," Orsini said.

In a letter e-mailed to parents Wednesday, Orsini said: "Please do the following: sit down with your child (and they are just children still) and tell them that they are not allowed to be a member of any social networking site. Today!"

"It gives kids a chance to say things that are inappropriate, they can't handle it," parent Donna Hansen said.

"My daughter has a Facebook page, my wife and I are going to have to rethink that," parent Jeff Wolfer said.

The principal's letter echoes what many parents are thinking.

So far, he's received 37 e-mails, only one of which was negative.

The students, on the other hand, are not nearly as supportive.

"He's the principal in school and it's none of his business what we do after school," 7th grade student Colin Azzopardi said.

"The letter should never have been put out," 12-year-old Connor Gregory said.

Students at the school are blocked from accessing social networking sites from school computers.

Orsini says the nasty posts on Facebook are distracting and upsetting for his students.

"Our guidance counselors spend most of their time dealing with things that didn't happen in school, texting, etc.," Orsini said.

Orsini says his anti-Facebook crusade is motivated in part by the case of Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old from Massachusetts who committed suicide after being bullied, both at school and online.