Students Discover Access to Social Networking at School

All it takes is a little “s.”

Students at Penn Manor High School discovered Thursday a  new way to access their social networking websites.

And they were, every chance they got.

“It’s exhilarating because it’s supposed to be a restricted site, but now we can be able to have access,” said senior Julia Rios.

Julia Rios was surprised there was Facebook access at school. Photo by Jordann Stekervetz

Putting in “https://” instead of just “http://”  ahead of the address, students were able to access the sites. To jump from page to page, the students figured out to add the “s” to the “http” before they pressed “enter.”

“Well it’s kinda cool that you can get on Facebook at school, but I don’t think the school knows about it yet,” Alex Kirk, a junior, stated.

Interestingly, students were using Facebook at school to spread the word that it was available at school.

Social studies teacher Matthew Scheuing found out Friday by accident when he Googled a friend’s name and the friend’s Facebook page popped up.  He was able to click on it and get in.

“Technology is constantly evolving,” said Scheuing. “It’s all about figuring out the ‘next thing.’ People always seem to find out a way to get around it.”

Not only can students get on their Facebook page, but they can also get onto Twitter, Myspace, YouTube, and many other websites. E-mailing websites were still being blocked by the filter.

But are students willing to take the risk of getting caught and in trouble, just to get onto to check their pages?

“I wanted to get on once I found out, but I am afraid to get caught,” Rios also said, “but that is what makes it more appealing.”

However the administration is not quite sure how they are going to approach this situation, since the students are sometimes one step ahead of them.

“I think in this situation there’s a dilemma educators face when students need to use technology in the classroom, but the negatives arise when the students don’t use it appropriately,” Principal Phil Gale said.

“I don’t think they (administration) would allow it because it’s a pretty big distraction and it would take away from the class and it wouldn’t be good for grades and class work,” Kirk said.

“I feel like I’m not going to get anything done,” said Ella Perry.

“It is not good because kids are going to get distracted,” Mikah Farbo stated.

“I kind of don’t care, it’s not that fantastic,” senior Steph Slagel said, “I don’t need to get on Facebook in school.”

“We haven’t really looked at that (punishment), we’ve been pretty much been trying to figure out what is going on,” Gale stated.

By Jordann Stekervetz

Robert Henry and Alex Geli contributed to this report

14 thoughts on “Students Discover Access to Social Networking at School”

  1. I certainly appreciate the speed at which Penn Points student writers work and am impressed with how quickly the staff responds to fast moving stories. In regard to the open sites, we experienced a technical problem with our filter which briefly permitted access to websites that are typically blocked to both students and staff (MySpace, Facebook etc.) There wasn’t really much of a trick to “discover”. The blocked sites were simply open due to a problem with the filter. I should add that we have twice experienced filter technical issues in the past two weeks. My engineering team continues to research the root causes of those issues. However, our current filter has performed exceedingly well in the past 3 years since installation. The recent problems are an anomaly.

    Technical glitches remind us that even with extensive management and care, no technology is 100% reliable or infallible. As always, I trust that our students will be professional when utilizing district technical resources, both when systems and running smoothly and when we experience real-world problems such as the recent filter failure.

  2. I am always impressed with the fair and balanced journalism of our Penn Points staff. I’m equally impressed with how quickly you discovered the technical problem Mr. Reisinger described AND published a story on it. I would like to know if Alex and Julia sit at their computer all day and wait for a filtering problem. Good job Jordann!

  3. Actually, this was posed and I didn’t even sign on. But obviously someone is always trying to crack the system! Good story, Jord 🙂

  4. I am a writer for Hempfield’s newspaper, The Flash, and this is a really interesting article. It is interesting to see if students would be more likely to go onto these websites, knowing they may get caught, or to not go on.

  5. My name’s Sam and I’m a writer for The Flash, Hempfield’s school newspaper. I recently found out we can gain access to Facebook at school using the same trick. I don’t think many people know about it here yet though. I don’t see why you would need to be on Facebook during the school day anyway though, it’s just a distraction and you’d probably get caught eventually.

  6. Hi my name is Kyle Moser, I go to Hempfield High School and write for the schools newspaper. I thought this article was very well written and i thought the topic was something that also is happening here at HHS.

  7. This is an interesting article, it certainly caught my attention. But if it’s a secret, and if you want to keep accessing it, then why would you write an article about it and expose it to the staff?

  8. Hey, nice job of doing your article. It was awesome. I agree that it would distract students from their work and might get in trouble.

    -Austen Tram

  9. Wow, why would you write an article about such valuable, yet top secret information?

    Seriously, way to ruin it for others.

    Just thinking of yourself.

  10. I don’t even have a Facebook, which is probably a good thing because of all the time spent on it. It a distraction to students and hinders the school learning experience. All of the people who said “Oh wow, good job. Way to ruin it for everyone else” probably hate school and are just trying to find a way to get out of doing work. Facebook can be a good thing, but not during school.

  11. wow.this is half comical,ok so people know how to get on face book,let them,let them get caught,let them get it trouble,its their own fault,its not the big of a deal

  12. This article caught national attention from Converge Magazine. I interviewed Charlie on his response and thoughts on the topic. He couldn’t say enough positive things regarding the great work your district on-line magazine is doing. I agree. The articles are timely, well written and interesting. I appreciate the candor and enthusiasm that Charlie brought to the interview. He gets the award for “high energy”.

    Good luck with your magazine. I’ll add Penn Manor to my contact list for future interviews as your district is doing great work and this magazine is a prime example. All the best, Kari – maybe I can freelance at your magazine??? Visit me at and read our great special reports in education.

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