It all started out quite innocently. My son was at a neighbor’s house and used their computer to access Facebook. When his friends saw he failed to log out before he left, they quickly posted an inappropriate status update on his profile. When my son later saw this, instead of taking it off he wrote in the comment section, “I left Facebook up on my friend’s pc and he wrote that.” If my son had taken the status update down, it all would have ended there.
Unfortunately, the update remained, although buried under several updates since. I told him to remove it at some point but then life got in the way, easily replaced by many other items on the forever “to do” list in my brain. Honestly, I had simply forgotten it was there.
Several weeks later my son mentioned he had been called in to the school’s office regarding his Facebook page. He goes to a private religiously-affiliated high school. Apparently a mother of one of the many friends on his Facebook list saw the comment and complained to the school. In turn, the school called him in and told him he had to take the post down. He did, and told me about it later.
My son should have removed the update that his friends had written, despite the fact that he obviously never wrote it. Upon reading it, there is no question that it was not a real update and that he did not write it. It had nothing to do with the school, our religion or anyone affiliated with the school. It was his personal Facebook page that they were censoring, simply because a parent didn’t like it. My question is, did our private school really have a right to call him in on the post?
I believe that if the mother does not like what is on my son’s profile, she should take charge and have her daughter remove my son from her friend list. In my mind, it is just that easy. The “unfriend” button is there for a reason.
I’ll take care of the fact that my son left the post up, even though he didn’t write it. It is my own responsibility to explain to him why it should be removed. I am sorry I had forgotten it was there and wish I had followed up. I take full responsibility for that slip.
Looking at the other side of things, it was a good lesson for my son to learn. “Everyone is watching, so don’t put anything under your name that you don’t want the world to see.” True, he didn’t write it. But he certainly kept it up, thinking it was funny his friends did it. I have nothing but good things to say about our school, but thought it was a little odd that they crossed this particular line.
Do you think a private school has the right to tell high school students what should be on their Facebook pages? Was it wrong for the offended parent to contact the school about my son and his profile? Should she have called me instead, or had her daughter cut the ties with my son? What are your thoughts?