facebookAs high school students flock to social networking sites, campus police are scanning their Facebook and MySpace pages for tips to help break up fights, monitor gangs, and thwart crime in what amounts to a new cyber beat, reports the Washington Post. Some students object to police looking over their shoulders. But officers responsible for school safety say routine checks of the online forums often add to the knowledge they glean from hallways or schoolyards. “I can’t tell you how many fights we’ve been able to prevent,” said Officer Freddie Rappina, who is based at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax County, Va. In Rappina’s small office, a flat-panel computer screen offers him a portal into student life. Students who have run away from home occasionally check in with their friends on the sites, giving Rappina information he can use to help get the kids to safety. But he said the computer is no substitute for face-to-face contact with students…

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