The decision by the all-girls Beis Rivkah High School in Brooklyn, New York on Thursday to demand that all students delete their Facebook pages has continued into Friday, according to numerous students at the school.
“It happened to the 11th grade yesterday and today they gave out papers to the 12th grade,” a student said.
All students The Algemeiner spoke with requested anonymity.
“People on the board said it’s not proper for us to have Facebook because girls might be talking to boys on Facebook or they might be putting up immodest pictures.”
The student says that while some girls might be engaging in what the board considers to be inappropriate, it’s a very small number of them.
“There are girls but it’s not a big percentage. There’s a very small amount that the school would be upset about,” she told The Algemeiner.
Another student of Beis Rivkah said that what the school is trying to stop will be done regardless of whether Facebook is allowed.
“For the girls who do put up those kind of pictures and talk to boys, they’ll talk to boys anyways,” she said.
However, the principal of the high school Mrs Shaindel Teichtel says that the Facebook rule has been around for a while, “There is nothing new about Beth Rivkah’s Facebook policy, which is over two years old. In keeping with the highest quality standards of educating our students, within the context of a pure and sacred Torah (Jewish law) environment,” she said in an email to the Algemeiner.
Teichtel explained the school’s policy saying, “we always face the challenges of balancing the gifts of an open society and the free-flowing information on the internet with providing our students with the best possible focus on their studies and spiritual growth. Indeed, we are not unique in dealing with this challenge. I am sure that parents everywhere — and other schools as well — are also struggling with the same dilemma: How much access to give their children to the internet and other new available channels of information.” Teichtel added: “As always in education we are constantly striving to enhance our school and improve our chinuch (education). Consequently we have arranged that after pesach (Passover) an expert in this area will address all students and respond to all questions.”
Crown Heights community blog CrownHeights.info reported on Thursday that parents and children were upset about the school’s decision to demand the deletion of Facebook accounts because it was the school that encouraged the accounts to be created in the first place, in an attempt to win funds from a “Kohl’s charity giveaway” in 2011.
Mrs Teichtel denied this allegation as well, saying that, “This is patently incorrect and hurtful.”
An automated massage relayed to parents of students at the school during the Kohl’s contest stated: “Dear Parents, although the policy of our school is not to allow the use of Facebook and it remains the policy of our school not to use Facebook, after consulting with Rabbonim (rabbis), due to the financial situation of the school, it was decided to make an exception. We are asking parents and alumni to vote for our school in the Kohl’s Facebook Contest.”
Girls at the school however don’t seem to be concerned with the rule, “I don’t plan on deleting it, I really like my Facebook,” one of the students said.
“They get all into something, they make the rule, they enforce it and after a little while girls will start getting Facebook again, or using different names.”