High School Students Ordered to Remove Blogs from MySpace, Xanga

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Students at Pope John XIII Regional High School in New Jersey have been ordered to take down their blogs, such as those maintained by students at MySpace and Xanga, or face suspension.

And this isn’t just certain students, or certain content. The ban on student blogs is school-wide. And, under the order, they can’t maintain blogs anywhere, any time – not even from their homes.

Catholic and other private schools, unlike public schools, are not subject to the same strict scrutiny when it comes to bans on speech.

“When students post their faces, personal diaries and gossip on Web sites like Myspace.com and Xanga.com, it is not simply harmless teen fun,” explained one unnamed New Jersey Catholic school principal.

In announcing the ban at the school, Pope John XIII High School’s Rev. Kieran McHugh explained that “It’s an open invitation to predators and an activity that Pope John XIII Regional High School in Sparta will no longer tolerate.”

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Sounds like there’s trouble in River City!

Explained Rev. McHugh, “The primary impetus behind the ban is to protect students.”

Kevin Bankston, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, conceded that there is a long tradition of private schools regulating student activity outside of school walls, but added that “It’s an incredible overreaction based on an unproven problem. If they’re concerned about safety, they could train students in what they should or shouldn’t put online.” Bankston added that he believed that the real reason for the blog ban was that the school wanted to suppress negative comments about the school itself.


Probably not the best way to go about it.

Wrote one recently expelled senior, “pope john kicks you out once you think freely.”

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20 thoughts on “High School Students Ordered to Remove Blogs from MySpace, Xanga

  1. This is a stupid and backward move from the school, instead of teaching the students how to blog and express their thoughts and opinions online, they tell them to shut up, this is totally stupid.

  2. Wow at Mike’s comment (#7)

    It was very nice, and got GREAT points across

    I was reading the comments, and I’m like, this is stupid, someone should show these guys how dumb they actually sound. And you did :)

    Great job.

  3. guys, i used to go to school there, everyone has a myspace/xanga/everything else. the rule isnt rlly enforced unless u go onto myspace from like the library or a school PC, and you dont get “expelled”, more like a suspension.

  4. I totally disagree with the actions that the churches/schools have taken. It is the students’ right to have a blog if he/she so chooses and the right of the parent to tell the student they can or cannot have one. The school had no right to make them take the blogs down. It is the students’ freedom of speech and expression that is being compromised and in some cases even taken away. What is the use in having amendments if some people don’t intend on following them?

  5. It is the most idiotic theory in the world. How, by law, can a school be allowed to dictate what goes on outside of the school. I can understand it being blocked in schools, after all it can be a distraction. But why not, as mentioned before, offer a guide on safe use of the site, and give warnings as to what MySpace will do if you are caught using the site in the wrong way.

  6. i think that is dumb. if they are going to try getting rid of something try drugs and alcohol from studens first rather than blogs. that’s stupid. and whoever posted that comment that says that people bully people on blogs is dumb. people don’t bully people through the internet sillly unless it’s on AIM or Yahoo Messenger or MSN messenger. i think trying to limit a students right to what kinds of privacy they want is dumb. and it would never work because people don’t follow rulesl ike that.

  7. i think the whole thing about tell us students what we can and can not do OUTSIDE of school is stupid. i play volleyball and i recently got in trouble for stuff on not only my page but other pages and i had to run my butt off for it and i think its stupid. i understand that you should still respect people and shit but to have the coaches go and try and catch people is gay. they are going out of their way to catch us, how is this fair? we arent posting anything while we are in school, so how can we get in trouble???

  8. This is a free country , and its a bullshit what they said, we got freedom ,they dont care what we do in our homes , im a student at coral gables high school in miami , and thats the most stupid thing i had heard about myspace , come on! even my teachers have myspace , bye

  9. Some people say and think very bad things.
    So when my child starts to speak or think, I shut him up real quick.

    High schoolers should spend their time doing things more constructive than thinking or speaking such drivel.

  10. I find that I must agree. My school in Hong Kong, also a private school tried to ban some xanga sites. Unfortunately they succeeded. But there is no law in Hong Kong that says the school cannot do this. I must sadly agree with Marge. After all, we did say some pretty bad things about the school, inclusive of some pretty bad teachers

  11. Well, I live in Canada, and attended a Catholic school up until last year. If the school were to have ever tired some bullshit like that, I’m _certain_ it would have been taken to court instantly. I dunno about you guys, your laws put up with waaaayyyy to much bullshit like that.

  12. Aye, isn’t it a shame when these punk little bastards feel like expressing themselves? I mean, honestly. What next? Soon they won’t just keep it at the computer – they’ll be passing ACTUAL NOTES in school! The horror… For the love of god people. When will you understand – kids need to socialize. They’re gonna do it regardless, why not have them socialize with their friends in the safety of your own home? Oh wait, I must have forgotten – when you parents were in school you crossed every t and dotted every i. Never let loose a terrible word, prolly giggled at the word titmouse. You know as well as me that’s not true.

    Now to get to the comments already here…

    CA Bob : You don’t want ppl harassing you? You sound like a hated person – why make a blog when you know that’s coming to ya?

    Sam : The Pope is a good guy (even though he’s the antichrist ((not kidding about that either, do your homework)) ) Keep your childish rapist jokes to yourself, cause you’re the only one finding it entertaining.

    Kaa : I highly agree with you. There is no doubt there are predators on the net, but turning your back is a terrible way to go about it. I’d say arming the students with the skills necessary to avoid such things would be a much better way of confronting the situation. Kudos.

    Marge : I agree halfway with you on this. It is a private school, and it does make sense they could disallow such things inside school walls, but when that student goes home things are different. You wear a school uniform, but that comes off when you step inside the house. As should the policies.

    Mikkl : If this were a public school under discussion, this would be brought to national attention. That school system would be sued so quick I can feel my wallet getting nervous already.

    Mark : What else do you support? Canings in the classroom? Principal with a 17 inch paddle? This is no different. Regardless of your age, you all have the same rights. Your children have the same rights you have – don’t forget that. “Meaningless rants and raves”… Wtf do you want kids to talk about? The current economic struggle of the country? Yea right. They’re gonna be talking about sex and music. Do you know why? That’s the culture YOU left for us all. This paradigm that we’ve got in this country is based off of what the last generation affected. More constructive things… What are you doing? This bbs is the SAME CONCEPT as any blog/message board. Shouldn’t you be doing more constructive things than whining about how your children aren’t doing constructive things? Apparantly you have as much free time as they do, (posting this at FOUR IN THE MORNING on a TUESDAY, idiot) and obviously you are blind to the fact that you are just as bad as they are. “…more constructive than writing or reading such drivel.” Ah, so you must be against kids reading the paper as well. Get a life.

    Now, to the rest of the people who’ll be posting after me. You have just seen three idiots (Bob, Sam, and Marc). Sad how parents can agree on something so stupid, doing it in the same manner. Here’s an idea. SPEND SOME TIME WITH YOUR KIDS. If you aren’t on the net whining about them and actually spending quality time with them, they won’t be on the evil net. Even better – teach your kids how to wisely use the internet! Then again, odds are half of the kids out there know more about the net and computers than the parents do. Embrace that! This is a technological age – push your kid to take that through to college, make 40 bucks an hour as a net admin somewhere. Easy job, awesome pay. Later all, remember your kids are people too. Don’t shelter them, teach them.

  13. I think the school’s got it right; too bad our culture has reached the point where public high schools can’t enforce such rules as well. I’ve read some of the blogs published by my high school-age child’s friends and must say I’ve never seen such tasteless, meaningless rants and raves, some of it written in language that would make a longshoreman blush. When I found my child had started a blog I shut it down. High schoolers should spend their time doing things more constructive than writing or reading such drivel.

  14. I don’t see how any school, public or otherwise, can generically penalize a student for exercising their first amendment rights off of school property. The ACLU is going to eat this school alive for this one–and they should.

  15. Fact is, it’s the school’s prerogative; don’t like it? Have your parents buy you another education for which you aren’t grateful.
    It’s a PRIVATE SCHOOL. They make up the rules to their own game; don’t play if you don’t wish to abide by them.

  16. Typical. Instead of seeing the problem and arming the students by teaching how to cope with it, the school/church is burying its head in the sand and pretending that by saying “no” they can protect the students from the bad, bad people on the bad ol’ Internet.

  17. If (as I do) you knew any students who have been subject to unbelievable bullying and harassment by other students on one of these sites, the school’s reaction wouldn’t appear so extreme…

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