This is why private schools are a bad thing.

When students post their faces, personal diaries and gossip on Web sites like and, it is not simply harmless teen fun, according to one Sussex County Catholic school principal.

It’s an open invitation to predators and an activity that Pope John XIII Regional High School in Sparta will no longer tolerate, the Rev. Kieran McHugh told a packed assembly of 900 high school students two weeks ago.

Effective immediately, and over student complaints, the teens were told to dismantle their accounts or similar sites with personal profiles and blogs. Defy the order and face suspension, students were told.

I don’t even know what to say about this, except that it’s the most flagrant (and stupid) abuse of power I’ve ever seen. Here I thought the local Catholic school’s ban on facial hair was harsh….

In fact, I have the wonder about the legality of this, even for a private school. All the more impetus to go to a public high school like normal kids anyway. I can think of few things more effective at stifling creativity and expression than parochial schools.

§815 · October 26, 2005 · Tags: , , , ·

3 Comments to “‘kin Catholics”

  1. Iris says:

    That’s very absurd. What are the chances of a predator abucting by only reading their diary. Provided the person isn’t dumb enough to post their school, full name, picture, and other stuff… wait, some people are that dumb. Although that isn’t a reason to shut down a very effective coping tool and a way to keep in touch with people. More like a reason to give courses on iNet and personal safety.

    No one could ever find me using my journals. Hehe. I’d keep em.

  2. Ben says:

    The concern is a very real one, though. Lot of teen are pretty flagrant about putting personal information on their Xangas (& al) because they don’t think of it as being publicly accessible: it’s more like a non-realtime chat with them and their friends. Add frequent references to real names, schools, friends, personal problems, &c., and it’s a goldmine for a potential predator.

    That being said, it’s ridiculous for a school to try and legislate that, nor can I perceive concern for students’ safety to be the big factor hear. I’ve heard grumblings that the ban is a way to quell badmouthing of the school online.

  3. Iris says:

    That is true. I have seen some people who put their full names, homecities, many pics, references to where they work, places they hang out at, their kids pictures, etc. And not just teens. The whole free find-a-school feature on livejournal makes stalking or online harassment/bullying even the more easier.

    I do think the last is really what they are trying to do and it is quite ridiculous.

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