Foursquare unmasks schools officials who spank students

March 9, 2011 at 10:55 AM ET

Foursquare now warns users if they check into a school with a history of corporeal punishment.

Whether you think corporeal punishment — in other words spanking or paddling — is an acceptable form of discipline in schools or not, you certainly should be aware whether or not your child's educators are prone to using it.

Location-based social networking service Foursquare will help you keep track.

FastCompany reports that billionaire fashion designer Marc Ecko is launching Unlimited Justice, a national campaign to end the practice of corporal punishment in schools, and that he's using social media to aid his cause.

He has teamed up with Foursquare to encourage the service's users to add tips — notes that can be viewed by those who "check into" particular locations — which will alert folks if they're walking into a school where corporeal punishment is used.

Ecko isn't the first person to think of using social networking to support a public cause, of course. We've seen that Facebook and Twitter were powerful tools for protestors in Egypt and that Google's crowd sourcing tools aided the search for missing people during natural disasters. It's almost surprising that Foursquare hasn't been widely used for similar causes as the combination of its tips and alert features could certainly help bring people together, but we're glad to see that such applications are getting some publicity with the Unlimited Justice campaign.

Now, we're definitely not certain that many Foursquare users are actually prone to checking into primary schools, but we still believe that this is a clever use of the social networking service's features. After all — unlike a paddling — a bit of additional information about your child's educators rarely hurts.

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Rosa Golijan writes about tech here and there. She's a bit obsessed with Twitter, loves to be liked on Facebook, and doesn't approve of spanking in schools.