Teachers on Facebook for personal, professional use only

Meg Kirchner, Reporter

He posted his relationship status as “Married.” He listed “The Count of Monte Cristo” and the “Harry Potter” series as his favorite books. This is the profile page of history teacher Jim Fendryk.

But Fendryk isn’t alone. Many JC teachers have at least one Facebook account.  Religion teacher and Campus Minister Patti Murphy-Dohn has three accounts.

“I have three pages on Facebook.  One is professional, one is the JC campus ministry page, and one is a page for my class,” Murphy-Dohn said.  Murphy-Dohn said that her class page is used for group projects because of the easy to use tools on Facebook.

“It’s a really tricky scenario for teachers to get into,” Fendryk said.  Using Facebook can be difficult because most of the information on Facebook is public.

Librarian and senior class moderator Anne Baker also has multiple Facebook accounts, one called “Mrsbaker Jclibrary,” for JC purposes only, and a personal account.

“Most of what I do is posting pictures from dances, like the Sadie Hawkins, putting up information about book club, and the senior class,” Baker said.

Music teacher Daniel Briggs also has a Facebook account.  “I use my account to keep in touch with friends that I do not work with,” Briggs said.  “If I work with them, I’d much rather talk to them [than Facebook them.]”

Notice that none of these teachers said anything about using their Facebook to hunt down students for behavior outside campus.

“We do not have enough time, money, or staff to form a Facebook police force,” Principal Paul Barker said.  Barker also has a personal Facebook account.

“I’m not friends with [current] students on Facebook. After they graduate it’s fine but I try to keep the relationship between student and teacher professional,” Fendryk said.

“I don’t ‘troll,’” Baker said.  According to Baker, she follows the policy of the  Archdiocese that say teachers should only be friends with students through business separate from school for informational purposes.

Murphy-Dohn also follows this policy and thinks that teachers should not actively go looking for bad conduct online.  “It would be an invasion of privacy,” Murphy-Dohn said.

“When you post something on Facebook, it’s protected under the Constitutional right to privacy, so I’m not sure what [teachers] are supposed to do about that,” Fendryk said.

“If someone sees something illegal, immoral, or flat out dangerous [on Facebook,] they must do something about it.  There cannot be a code of silence,” Barker said.  However, he also said that the issue might be taken care of adult to adult or parent to parent.

Though the staff at JC is not trying to invade any student’s privacy, students wonder how incidents of inappropriate behavior on Facebook are reported. According to Barker, students usually anonymously, or through e-mail, tell a staff member about something on Facebook that is not in keeping with the guidelines in the JC handbook.

Barker says that he’s received screen shots of people drinking at parties from other students.  Barker also says this is how the bullying issue at the beginning of the year was brought to the administration’s notice.

Meg Kirchner is a reporter for “The Patriot” and jcpatriot.com.