by Molly Zuckerman
Students don’t normally like getting F’s, but they certainly enjoy these three F’s: Formspring, Facebook, First Class. All of the new ways to interact, both anonymously and regularly, on the internet, bring up the question of where Chadwick stands on potential issues and interactions between students.
Formspring is a new phenomenon that has hit the internet over the last few years, rising quickly in popularity with the younger generation. It is unique in that anyone can ask any of their friends questions on their profiles, but they are all anonymous.
The website has the ability to bring out the worst in people, for they are now able to ask whatever secretive and offensive question that they have always wanted to ask but never dared. Even though the website is based on the basic human desire for drama, many Chadwick kids use the website religiously.
Sophomore Isabella Gradney said, “Being rude or cruel to someone over Formspring really just shows how weak a person is, that they aren’t strong enough it to your face. and have to hide behind the title of ‘anonymous’. It’s unnecessary and really naïve.”
Head of Middle School Charlton Jackson also has some opinions on the nature of Formspring and how it affects the Chadwick community.
He said, “an issue [that] we did deal with was apparently there was a student who was I guess received a lot of mean spirited comments on Formspring.”
According to Jackson, Chadwick’s policy on internet interactions is “if you are a member of the Chadwick community, then we expect you to abide by the core values in your interactions with other members of the Chadwick community, whether you’re at Chadwick school or are not at school […] the policy for Facebook or any other web service would be the same as face to face interactions, so if the was a student threatening another student outside of school, we would deal with it the same way as doing that on Facebook, or on any other online service.”
To put it as simply as possible, Jackson said, “in any type of interaction between student to student […] we would deal with it.”
However, some students have a different opinions.
Sophomore Jack Kirkpatrick says, “I don’t think it’s a school’s job to control online happenings that do not take place at school.”
Junior Jasper Burns agrees with Kirkpatrick’s views on school control; he said: “it seems that generally online social networking cannot be monitored, and also that the problem is not large enough to warrant a school intervention.”
Also in agreement about the potential overreaching of power is junior Raxon Cho, who said, “I think that the school shouldn’t control what happens outside of school. The school can like advise people to like not be involved in cyber bullying and stuff, but I don’t think they should try to monitor stuff that happens outside of school.”
FirstClass is another online source that the school is directly connected to.
Jackson says, “It’s not like your private account and that goes for teachers as well, so anything that is done through the first class system is considered school property.”
However, this in no way means that teachers spend hours reading your emails for fun.
“If an email were sent that was inappropriate or mean spirited or just not aligned with the school’s core values, and then typically, the way we find out about it is someone will bring it to our attention,” said Jackson, “we don’t go through and check all the emails because that would be way too many.”
Facebook is another online site that students should remember the core values on.
Jackson said, “If you were saying things that just weren’t true about the school, it is something that, that’s been dealt with in the upper school.”
An example of a case that involves that school dealing indirectly with comments on Facebook happened last year. Freshman Christie Lane had made a Facebook group called, “You know you go to Chadwick when,” as a forum for people to post funny stereotypes of jokes about going to Chadwick School.
However, she deleted the group after an announcement was made at assembly about having talks with people who let things that were bad for Chadwick remain on Facebook. She doesn’t remember everything that was written in her group, but in reference to a negative image of Chadwick, Lane says, “Someone wrote something racist on it but I can’t remember.”
This incident shows the line that Chadwick takes when protecting its image, and also upholding the core values for its students.
Jackson said, “It’s [online comments are] more a bigger picture of being a member of the Chadwick community, that’s what it’s basically about, so by being a member of the Chadwick community you are expected to abide by the core values.”