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Author Topic: Teens' work gets teacher in mess  (Read 621 times)
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« on: March 03, 2006, 10:41:25 AM »

A presentation by two Lakeview High School students trying to warn classmates about the dangers of putting personal information on the Internet led to their teacher being escorted from the St. Clair Shores building because administrators thought pictures used in the project were too risque.

The segment, roughly eight minutes, that was broadcast to the entire school Tuesday on its in-house TV network featured pictures students in the district had posted on MySpace.com. They showed students drinking, posing provocatively or partially nude, and in one case kissing a vodka bottle.

Devon Fralick, the teacher who approved the project, was not at the school Wednesday and declined to comment when reached at her home. District officials would not discuss her status, and representatives of the teachers union did not return calls Wednesday on the matter.

"The point of the presentation was to show that kids are being irresponsible when posting their profiles," said Neil Willoughby, 17, a junior at the school who helped put together the presentation.

But Lakeview Public Schools Superintendent Sandra Feeley Myrand apologized to students and staff who were offended and said in a written statement Wednesday that "the message of the piece ... was lost because of the selection of photographs, language and music that were included."

MySpace, introduced a little more than two years ago, is an online community where members can network. But it has come under media scrutiny in recent months, with reports that the site has been used by students to make anonymous threats and bully others, and by online predators.

Realizing that some students are not aware of the dangers, Willoughby and classmate Scott Sobanski, 16, created a presentation for a broadcasting class.

"Mrs. Fralick said it was a bit risque, but maybe that's what's needed to hit home with teenagers," Willoughby said.

Not long after the presentation was shown, Fralick was escorted from the building, Willoughby said.

"It's ludicrous," Willoughby said. "I think that if anyone should take the heat for this, it should be me."

The district mailed a letter Tuesday from Principal Bob duBois to the homes of every high school student, telling parents that "appropriate action will be taken."

"It's not fair what they're doing to the teacher," sophomore Shannon Close, 15, said Tuesday. "All that was shown was already on the Internet."

Willoughby said he hopes that, if anything, students will be more responsible when posting pictures or personal information on the Web. The faces -- and in some cases, body parts -- of students were distorted in the presentation, but some students said they feared classmates would be disciplined over the photos.

"I think it could've been done a different way," sophomore Stephanie Love, 15, said Tuesday. "It should've been shown, but it could have been edited better."


Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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