School Facebook Pages


I’ve noticed a lot of schools now have their own Facebook pages.  Here are some examples: Ramblewood Middle School; Da Vinci Arts Middle School;  Lincoln High School.  These pages are generally created by teachers, school administrators, or school counselors as a virtual gathering place to students and staff.  Does your school have one?

I can clearly see many advantages of connecting with students using the medium they are using.  Teens are on Facebook everyday, and creating a portal from which they can connect with their schoolmates could certainly be a positive thing.  School Facebook pages can create online communities for current and former students where they can communicate about various issues and display school pride.  Furthermore, important school information can be posted to these pages (sports schedules, early dismissals, lunch menus, etc.).  Student creative work, such as art, writing, or videos, also can be uploaded for all to see.

All that said, there could be problems or potential issues associated with having a school Facebook page. For example, if a student becomes a fan of the school Facebook page and has evidence of violations of school policy or the law on her own Facebook page, does the school employee moderating the school page have an obligation to report that evidence to the school or police?  What if a teacher sees a message on a student’s page that says there will be a party where alcohol will be served at another student’s house on Friday night?  Should (or must) the teacher call the parents of students with questionable material or would there be school consequences (such as removal from sports teams) for inappropriate information?  Is it better that teachers simply don’t know what their students are doing away from the classroom?

In general, I believe the potential benefits would outweigh the risks and challenges associated with school Facebook pages.  To be sure, school officials who set up Facebook pages need to clearly understand their responsibilities in the event they observe inappropriate conduct or information and students too need to understand these issues as well.  As long as appropriate guidelines are established and adhered to, school Facebook pages could be a beneficial way to communicate with students (and parents) using a medium they are already very comfortable with.  What do you think?


  1. I heard danah boyd speak on this very issue and her take was interesting. She said that, like any communications that pass between educators and their students at school, online communications should be handled with an open door policy. That is, if you were to talk with a student privately or address a classroom of students, you leave the door open and make sure you communicate your expectations to the students. I think the Facebook pages are no different. Communications should be out in the open and students should know that their public communications related to that school space are subject to any repercussions that would occur within the school walls. Overall, I give a thumbs up to Facebook pages for schools. Um, have you ever tried emailing a high school student???

  2. I think this is a very interesting topic.

    For one, there are a lot of teens or tweens with facebook pages that shouldn't even have one. Facebook's policy is that you need to be 13 but many students are lying about their age to gain entry and facebook is the first one to say they will not 'change' your age later. They will delete your profile. My personal research has led to be believe that parents either don't know about this age restriction, don't understand the consequences of lying about it, or simply do not know the facebook page exists in the first place. Facebook offers a "form" which can be used to report age-violators. I strongly encourage authority figures to use this – which includes school district employees.

    As an educator, I also take some issue to teachers befriending students, unless it is purely for educational purposes. Teacher standards have pretty clear guidelines about developing personal relationship with students – why should online be any different?

    As public employees and employees responsible for the safety and welfare of kids, we should all be every careful about what we do online.

    I recently sat in on a facebook/online safety seminar hosted by members of the local FBI bureau. They told the parent community that a frequent college application question today is "what will we discover about you when we look online?" I think this is very interesting.

    The message we should be teaching and modeling is "you are what you facebook!"

  3. I manage both the website as well as the Facebook group for the technical school that I work for. What I am finding thus far is that students, graduates, and the community-at-large don't have a problem with Facebook and in fact have kept communication overwhelmingly positive and respectful–however Administration isn't comfortable with the "openness" of Facebook. They want the marketing capability of Facebook but the level of control and moderation that we have over our own website. Certain individuals go so far as to think that the poor grammar students have used is a reflection on us and should thus be deleted from out Facebook page.

    In my opinion if you want control over every post that makes its way to your page, then you probably don't want it on Facebook.

  4. As the moderator for Ramblewood Middle School's FB page, I'd like to give some advice. We started our page as a "fan" page, which most businesses and schools do. The problem with this is that there is absolutely no way for you to prevent "fans" from commenting on what you post. For example, if I post a status that reminds students of a field trip money collection, they can comment anything on that post. I have had to "babysit" the site in order to delete any inappropriate comments. FB allows you, as a moderator of a "fan" page, to block anyone from "writing on your wall", but there is nothing to stop fans from commenting on your posts.

    As a teacher, and school representative, that is a huge problem for me.

    After speaking to my principal, we decided to take down our page and recreate it as a regular FB page. When you create it as a "person", you can block any and all communication on your page.

    The above link does not exist anymore. If you'd like to check our new one out, you can go to (link defunct) or search Ramblewood Middle on FB. I'm happy to say that we have over 830 current students, alumni, and parents as "friends". Join us and check out what we're doing.

    I'd obviously recommend to turn off the "chat" option and ignore any type of messages that may come to your inbox. If you have any other questions/comments, please let me know!

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