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Friday, May 18, 2012

The Strange case of Principal Louise Losos, "Suzy Harriston" and Facebook

False Friend? High School Principal Resigns After Facebook Spying Allegation
Louise Losos
An interesting social media incident played out recently at a high school in Missouri that ended with principal Louise Losos resigning and hundreds of students at Clayton High School wondering: Who is Suzy Harriston?
Someone claiming to be "Suzy Harriston" from Clayton friended more than 300 people on Facebook, many of them from Clayton High School, without anyone really bothering to ask who Suzy was. On April 5, 2012, Chase Haslett, the former Clayton High School quarterback who had graduated in 2011, posted the following accusation on Facebook:
"Whoever is friends with Suzy Harriston on Facebook needs to drop them. It is the Clayton Principal."
According to St. Louis Today, the Suzy Harriston profile on Facebook quickly disappeared following Haslett's claim. A day later, so did Losos, as she was immediately placed on a "leave of absence." A few weeks later, Losos resigned, reportedly as part of a deal that paid her $140,000. The deal included Losos' agreement to take no legal action against the school district, the Columbia Daily Tribune reports. The Clayton School District stated only that her departure related to a "fundamental dispute concerning the appropriate use of social media."
Why did Losos allegedly friend hundreds of Clayton High School students under an alias? Parents of some of the "friended" students believe that Losos was using the access provided as a fake Facebook friend to secretly monitor students' communications and activity. One parent told the local paper that if that was, in fact, the case then Losos' conduct was a breach of trust.

Bottom line: High school principals "fake-friend" their students on Facebook at their peril.
Posted by Bruce Carton on May 17, 2012

Louise Losos, Clayton High School Principal, Resigns After Allegedly Posing As Student On Facebook

Huffington Post, 05/07/2012 

Students have long been warned against connecting with those they don't know on Facebook, but few at Clayton High School in Missouri could have anticipated that a presumed classmate requesting their friendship on the social networking site was actually their principal.
Clayton High School Principal Louise Losos resigned Friday, effective June 30, following a leave of absence that began April 9, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The School District of Clayton, however, has declined to confirm whether the move is related to an accusation that Losos had created a Facebook profile pretending to be a student named Suzy Harriston.
Suzy Harriston was popular, with 300 friends on Facebook, many of whom were Clayton High students. But on April 5, former Clayton High student Chase Haslett posted a public accusation on the Facebook group, "Bring Back Coach Horrell."
"Whoever is friends with Suzy Harriston on Facebook needs to drop them. It is the Clayton Principal," Haslett wrote.
The Facebook group was created in light of a separate incident, in which the high school decided last May to remove physical education Sam Horrell as the football coach after he gave strength training advice to Clayton middle school students. The move violated Missouri State High School Activities Association regulations, according to KTVI, and parents believe that community uproar in response to the school's decision against Horrell may have catalyzed distrust between students and principal Losos.
Soon after Haslett's post, Suzy Harriston disappeared from Facebook, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. One day later, Losos took leave of absence. The weeks between Losos' leave of absence and Friday's resignation were ones of silence from the school board amid investigations, but officials did confirm that no "Suzy Harriston" had been enrolled at the school in the last two years.
"The District and Dr. Losos had a fundamental dispute concerning the appropriate use of social media," according to a district statement provided to Clayton-Richmond Heights Patch. "She will remain on a leave of absence for personal reasons for the remainder of the 2011-2012 school year."

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