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MSNBC: Broviak Blasts GMS South Administrators for 'Rummaging' Daughter's Facebook Page

City of Geneva Public Works Assistant Director Pam Broviak says Geneva Middle School South Principal Terry Bleau and other administrators traumatized her 13-year-old daughter by demanding access to her Facebook page, according to a story posted on MSNBC.

A story posted Friday morning (May 18, 2012) on MSNBC and USEC Network International Magazine says the city of Geneva's assistant public works director is at odds with Geneva Middle School South administrators for forcing her 13-year-old daughter to log into her Facebook page and show them personal information.

Pam Broviak, who also is the Public Works Department's civil engineer, says Geneva Middle School South Principal Terry Bleau and other administrators were anything but civil when they demanded that Broviak's daughter reveal personal information on the 13-year-old's Facebook page—according to the article written by Bob Sullivan and posted shortly before 6 a.m.

Sullivan is "a consumer reporter at msnbc and author of three books on consumer affairs. His blog can be found at http://redtape.msnbc.com/ and his books at http://bobsullivan.net/.

According to Sullivan's story, the principal of Geneva Middle School South forced the 13-year-old to log in to her Facebook account and show pages, including those containing personal information. The story did not say why administrators asked for that access.

The story said Broviak's daughter "ended up crying through most of the day," and Broviak said that other parents are "scared to talk about" the practice.

Bleau was recently named , and was nominated in part because of his ability to connect with students on a personal level.

According to the article, Broviak says the administrator's actions were a violation of privacy that traumatized her daughter.

"Schools should not violate kids' privacy," Broviak said this morning on her Twitter page, which links to the story.

Broviak wrote about the incident in detail on her "Public Works Group Blog" posted on April 24. 

"Normally I don't like sharing the nitty gritty details of my family's life, particularly on my blog. But I'm doing so because it brings to light an issue government agencies need to be made aware of and only by sharing can we convince legislators there is a real problem," she said.

Broviak said the actions taken by the administrators "have been appalling."

According to the blog post, "It started because a teacher heard another student spreading rumors about my daughter—all of it unrelated to school and nothing against the law."

She said a school official called her daughter to demand to know if rumors were true. There are penalties for spreading rumors, but the seriousness of the punishment depends in part on whether the rumor is true, Broviak said.

The post says the GMS South vice principal "called me to demand I come to the school immediately to read through her (Broviak's daughter's) private messages."

Broviak was out of town and so called Bleau the following day, according to the blog post.

"I told him not to pry into the private lives of my children. And he said he cannot do that—it is his obligation to look out for the morals and ethics of the children at his school. And if he feels they are not leading a moral life (obviously according to his standards), he is going to launch an investigation."

Broviak said she considered pursuing legal action but now she and her daughter are just "trying to get through the last part of seventh and hope to make it through eighth with no more problems."

Broviak said in the blog post that, at that time in April, officials were "still regularly taking kids into the counselor's office and telling them they cannot leave until they open up their Facebook accounts to their scrutiny."

"That is just wrong," Broviak said.

Rick Anderson May 20, 2012 at 02:58 AM
This story is a huge train wreck. What was the editor's intent to identify Pam Broviak as a city administrator? Being a city administrator has nothing to do with this story. The school administration acted on gut feel and impulse rather than considering all the consequences and after-effect. Where are the metrics and process guidelines laid out for an adminstrator to follow so the facts will prevail and it doesn't get blown out of proportion. Hoepfully, the editor, parents, and school adminstration can learn from this.
Stacy May 20, 2012 at 03:24 AM
In all honesty we can debate over and over if putting this information out there was the right thing to do, but every parent that I've talked to about this agrees that the school has NO place asking a student (and not just asking, coercing a student) to give out their email or Facebook passwords without their parents consent and presence. Administrators here have stepped WAY over the line by diving into a personal issue brought to their attention by way of rumors. The school can discipline bullies and people who make poor decisions, but in all reality, unless there is a law being broken (and in this case there was not), there should have been parents present. In the case of a legal matter, the police and parents should be present. Schools are WAY crossing the line in all of the wrong cases.
Pam Broviak May 20, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Rick, I appreciate you questioning the inclusion of my work into this - I was also surprised to see that mentioned here. What I do to support my family has absolutely nothing to do with this matter, and my concern over my child's education has nothing to do with my work. The original story did not mention my work at all.
Tony Pronenko May 21, 2012 at 04:55 PM
There is a lot I agree with in this story as well as the follow-up that was done. I must say though that I have instructed both of my children that attend GMSS, "should ANYONE at the school attempt to force you to give up ANYTHING personal or anything you don't feel comfortable with just flat out refuse and tell them to call your father." I guess that is a last ditch effort to insure that if the school does not notify me on their own, they will be forced to should they wish to take any "assumptions" further.
S May 21, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Time to get facts straight is more like it! A 13 year old having sex IS ILLEGAL! Even if it is with another minor - 720 ILCS 5/11-1.50 calls it Criminal Sexual Abuse. The school is a mandatory reporter and did the right thing to investigate what was going on. It seems strange that this happened last fall and is only blogged about when Mr. Bleau received the administrator of the year award. My GMSS students have told me that this case is the only one they know of where a student was asked to open their Facebook page - not a regular occurrence as alleged in this article. I'm glad Mr. Bleau cares enough to make tough, unpopular decisions that are in the best interest of the students.

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