Social Media – A School Issue?

It’s no surprise that students have a habit of using social media throughout their daily lives, but how does this affect them at school? Can they get in trouble for what they post during the school day? Perhaps more importantly, can they get in trouble for things they do at home in the privacy of their home?

The Monitoring Itself

Before tackling the issue itself, it’s important that we understand exactly how much, if at all, a student is monitored on their laptop. The answer, is yes, you are monitored, and yes, it does happen in a few different ways.

“Students are monitored on every keystroke that they type using the high school-issued laptops, and any other computers that they access that they access through the school district. It’s not specifically for social media,” said Principal Tom Chambers.

Now, you may be wondering why. What’s the purpose for monitoring what a student types and what sites they access? Well, to put it simply, it’s the law. Our Congress passed the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) in 2000.

CIPA dictates the way that our government gives out internet discounts to schools and libraries. It requires that any school seeking these discounts block sites that are considered harmful to minors. It requires that students’ internet use be monitored. This is a big factor in both the blocking of sites and the use of a keylogger.

This monitoring follows you outside of the school. Chambers explained that due to the fact that the laptops are issued by our school, they are held responsible for anything done on the laptops before, during or after the school day.

What About Discipline?

We’ve already seen a bit of internet discipline on a wider scale through the crackdown on students who were working around the blocks put up by the school (an act that violates CIPA) , but can you get in trouble for simply saying something on Twitter or Facebook?

“The social media problems I become aware of are when kids are picking on other kids [on] Facebook,, Twitter, and I don’t see it all the time but clearly something is going on,” said Assistant Principal Jason Janke on the issue.

When asked exactly what will land you in the principal’s office, Janke had this to say.

“You guys know the phrase I use is “do the right thing.” I think when you don’t do the right thing it’s  things like using foul language, sexually suggestive, searching of, shall we say, illicit sites.”

Janke also stated that anything that could be considered harmful to yourself or others may also be grounds for taking you to the office.


Our school does monitor social media usage, but it’s for legal reasons outside of the district’s control. Discipline comes for the same reasons it comes in any other medium. As Chambers put in his interview, “that goes for cell phones, for social media, for that matter paper and a pen.” Safety and watching out for your fellow Tigers is key on the internet in the same way it’s key in your average day.