- Editor's note: This is the second of a 10-part series of articles looking back at the Geneva newsmakers of 2012. The No. 1 newsmaker will be Geneva Patch's 2012 "Person of the Year."
Pam Broviak is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. She is extremely smart and very good at her job as the city of Geneva's civil engineer—more or less the No. 2 person in the city's Public Works Department.
She is also a mom, and it was in that role that Broviak found herself earlier this year at the core of one of 2012's most interesting and most-read stories, one which captured for a brief period of time both national and international attention for her stance on students' rights to Facebook privacy.
The discussion might have started on April 24, when Broviak wrote on a "Public Works Group Blog" about an incident that took place at Geneva Middle School South.
"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 went on to point out that Terry Bleau, the principal at GMS South who at the time had just been named Kane County Administrator of the Year, was among the administrators who had demanded that her daughter log into her Facebook page and show them personal information. It was a practice, Broviak said, that was common at the middle school level.
At issue was whether school administrators had the right to access students' private Facebook pages, and strong opinions were expressed on both sides. In a Geneva Patch poll in May, 61 people said, yes, the schools should change the practice because it violates students' rights, while 51 people said, no, administrators need such access to do their jobs.
Interestingly, in May, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill that protects Illinois workers from businesses that want access to their Facebook accounts and other social media.
Broviak, the mom, also was related (literally) to one of the top five "good news" stories of the year: her son, Thomas, and his girlfriend, Krissy, both special needs students, were named Geneva High School Homecoming king and queen 2012.
- MSNBC: Broviak Blasts GMS South Administrators for 'Rummaging' Daughter's Facebook Page
- POLL: Do School Administrators Have a Right to Demand Access to a Student's Private Facebook Pages?
- Kate Bennett: Kids' Facebook Is Parents' Business
- Jeff Ward: There is Nothing Private About Facebook
- Jeff Ward: Why Nothing Is Private on Facebook!
- Will St. Charles Schools Policy on Social Media Passwords Have Ripple Effect?
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 10: Jenny McCarthy
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 9: Pam Broviak
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 8: Todd Searcy
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 7: Steve LeMaire
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 6: Kevin Burns
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 5: Nicole Wiesner
- Geneva Newsmakers Countdown 2012—No. 4: Joe Stanton
- Geneva Newsmakers Countdown 2012—No. 3: Bob McQuillan
- Geneva Newsmakers Countdown 2012—No. 2: Carol Young
- Geneva Patch Person of the Year 2012: Mark Grosso
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