Principal accused of posing as a student on Facebook

A principal accused of creating a fake Facebook profile to monitor student activity has resigned.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Following her resignation, a principal is under investigation for posing as a student on Facebook.

Close to St. Louis, Clayton High School principal Louise Losos has been at the school since 2005. A recent graduate of the high school has accused Losos of posing as a student on the social networking site named "Suzy Harriston" in order to befriend both students and parents.

If someone sends you a friend request when you have a number of mutual friends, you are more likely to accept the request -- even if you don't recognize the person in question. According to reports, several hundred people linked to the school accepted the friend request before suspicions were raised.

As "Suzy" became accepted, it gave the principal license to track student and parent social networking activity, from comments and conversations to "likes" and group activity.

The district has publicly stated that "..the district and Dr. Losos had a fundamental dispute concerning the appropriate use of social media".

If true, it is possible that the principle's behaviour was spurred on due to a previous incident concerning school policy and a resulting student reaction. A popular physical education teacher had his football coach duties removed after giving strength training advice to students -- against a Missouri State High School Activities Association rule -- and later did not have his contract renewed.

As a result, angry students ignited a social media campaign to try and bring back Coach Horrell. A Facebook group dedicated to the cause attracted hundreds of supporters. It is possible that the movement, uncontrollable by the school, may have caused the first seeds of distrust to become planted -- which resulted in the principal taking an inadvisable approach to monitoring online student activity.

Richard Nuell, a Clayton parent, said:

"I don't know what’s taking place here, but I would be concerned with that going on without their knowledge. It's an invasion of privacy, I believe."

The principal's resignation will take place in June. However, Losos's behaviour may lead to lasting consequences. Further than potentially being a violation of trust and privacy, as well as breaking Facebook's Terms of Service through the creation of a fake account, it could become the catalyst for stringent rules to be put in place to protect both schools and students.

A meeting on Monday is scheduled to discuss the situation with both teachers and students.


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