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Betsey Bruce, KTVI, Reporting
A dispute over the use of social media within the Clayton School District prompted the district’s veteran high school principal to resign.  Louise Losos had led Clayton High School, one of the top ranked schools in Missouri, for nearly seven years.
Clayton District Chief Communications Officer Chris Tennill issued a brief statement saying “The district and Dr. Losos had a fundamental dispute concerning the appropriate use of social media.”
Tennill would not answer specific questions about a rumor in the district that Losos had been posing as a high school student and trying to “friend” Clayton students and parents.A recent Clayton graduate issued a warning last month that a “Suzy Harriston” who had friended Clayton students on Facebook was actually Dr. Losos.

Clayton parent Andy Brown said Saturday he expects the district’s administration to be “upfront, honest and transparent  with all the students, parents and the entire Clayton community.”

High school junior Emma Riley worked on a school district planning committee with Losos.  “She was a great principal and she always urged me to do my best as a student.”  However Riley said if Losos had posed as a student on Facebook, ” I would feel a violation of trust.”

Richard Nuell, whose daughter attends Clayton’s middle school, suggested parents and teachers should create some “bylaws” to govern the use of social media by school officials and teachers.  If someone from the district had been misleading students by using a false Facebook identity, Nuell said he believed that would be “an invasion of privacy.”

Some parents believe a heated debate over the high school administration’s decision in May 2011 to remove a popular teacher as the football coach may have fueled a sense of distrust between the principal and some students.

Physical education teacher Sam Horrell lost his coaching job after he gave strength training advice to some Clayton middle school students in violation of a Missouri State High School Activities Association rule.  This spring, one year short of earning tenure with the district, his contract was not renewed on the grounds the high school did not need a third physical education teacher.

A Facebook group calling for the return of Coach Horrell drew hundreds of participants.  Some parents say they wonder if the principal did not create a student identity for Facebook to be able to read the comments on the Facebook page.

Losos did not respond to a call for a comment on the claims and her decision to resign.

Clayton District officials will meet with high school teachers before classes on Monday and also discuss the situation with students.