Principal sees potential in Facebook

BAY CITY, Mich. — Principal John Hoving is using Facebook as a way to promote Bay City All Saints Central School as well as to head off possible cyber bullying, he told The Bay City Times.

Hoving created a Facebook profile this summer specifically to communicate with middle and high school students and parents and has asked them to "friend" him, he told The Times. He also created a school "fan page."

The idea is to promote school events and student achievement and to be aware of what students are posting at the popular social media site, particularly any negative messages aimed at individual students, he told The Times.

In one case this summer, Hoving sent a private message to a student regarding what he said could be a "hurtful" comment.

"After I did that, it stopped," he told The Times. "This can stop those confrontations before they escalate."

Justin Patchin, co-director of an online Cyberbullying Research Center, told The Times that educators must remain professional in their communication with students online, but that they should be willing to intervene if they spot inappropriate messages.

The Bay City Times, "Bay City All Saints principal uses Facebook to monitor student behavior, promote school," Aug. 29, 2010

Michigan Capitol Confidential, "Lawmaker's Facebook Fans Get Blow-by-Blow Stories of His Votes," May 24, 2010