Should Schools Monitor What Students Post on Social Media Outside of School?Michael GilmoreEmily HoneycuttSarah Lilly
Brief Overview • Key Issues For: -Many argue that out of school behavior direct effects on in school behavior. Because the two are inseparable, the school has a responsibility to monitor out of school activity. -Unregulated negative interaction on social media can cause mental/emotional damage. Such negative interaction may go unnoticed unless surveillance measures are put into practice. -Regulating out of school behavior is a proactive measure that can stop negative student behaviors such as violence, bullying, drug use, etc. prior to this issue becoming a problem within the schools. -Other than regulating student behavior, observing out of school behavior can make school officials aware of issues that affect students such as child abuse, intentions to drop out of school, family drug problems, etc. -Implementing such practices can cause the school to become a positive influence in the community.
Brief Overview • Key Issues Against -School observation of out of school activity is considered an invasion of privacy by many who do not wish that their teachers and school officials know the intricacies of their personal life including personal values, religion, sexual orientation, social circle, etc. -Some feel that placing such a responsibility on the school diminishes the role of responsibility a parent plays in a child’s life. Some feel it is the duty of the parent to regulate a student’s behavior out of school, not school officials. -From the National School Boards Association: “Student expression occurring outside of school should be subject to school action only, if at all, upon a clear showing of disruption, or a violation of the rights of school administrators and officials, teachers and other school employees, or students.” (Kaminer). Many fear it will go beyond this. -A few students may be unfairly punished for activities that many students are engaging in.
Our Position • If an issue is brought to the attention of school officials, and they agree that it pertains to school activities or to the direct safety of a student, then the school can then monitor that student’s activity and intervene if necessary.
Acknowledging the Other Side: Regulating social media can eliminate potential harm to students, create a positive role of the school within the community, and help to stop cyber-bulling harassment.
Regulating Social Media can Eliminate of Potential Harm to Students: • Without regulation, social media can cause mental/emotional damage (Broderick). • Students could be assessing social media within the school; thus, bullying is essentially occurring in the hallways. • Having the ability to stop this bullying could save lives (Adams).
Create a Positive Role of the School within a Community • The way student behavior outside of school affects back onto the school which may lead to more disruptions and bad reputations in the school. • Schools should help students to become better people as school is a place where a lot of lessons on behavior are learned. • Should schools punish students for behaviour outside of school supervision?
School officials could help stop cyber-bullying and harassment in an effective and reasonable way’ • Then students may feel more comfortable going to these individuals if problems arise in the future. Right now, many students feel that involving them makes no difference or even makes the situation worse because no action is actually taken (Patchin). • Students may also take a stand against future cyber bullying if they know that it is wrong. • It reforms and corrects the behavior to help keep others from doing the same thing (Agaston). • With schools serving as monitors, some cases of extreme bullying and potential self-hurt may be prevented from slipping through the cracks (Mason).
Why That Doesn’t Hold Up: • Stan Davis and Charisse Nixon through the Youth Voice Projecttook a survey of nearly 12,000 students from 12 different U.S. states. Only one-third of the students who were significantly impacted by bullying said that telling an adult made things better • 29% of these students said that telling an adult made the situation worse (Patchin) • In 2006 on MySpace less than 40% of students had set their profiles to private. By 2009 this number had risen to 85% of students having their profiles on a restricted setting (Patchin) • If there is significant bullying on these sites, it is happening more where it cannot be seen. • Geo Listening monitors and tracks student postings, shares, and online activities – this costs a single district $40,500 for the school year (Patchin)
Argument for Our Position • Recall: If an issue is brought to the attention of school officials, and they agree that it pertains to school activities or to the direct safety of a student, then school can then monitor that student’s activity and intervene if necessary. Reasons -Protect student privacy and rights -Protect student well-being -Drain on resources and time
Protect Student Privacy and Rights - Saxe v. State College Area School District (2001) -Overturned Pennsylvania law prohibiting extensive regulation of offensive speech. -Pa. law violated 1st Amendment • Griffith Middle School example -Students can be suspended or expelled for using “innuendo” – even on Facebook -Ban on “using or writing derogatory written materials -3 girls expelled for joking on Facebook that they want to “kill” someone • Southern California example -Southern California school district uses Geo Listening contract company -Geo Listening reports inappropriate student activity including the use of profanity -Students report that they feel the need to censor themselves even outside of school. (NBC News)
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District • Students have a “First Amendment right to express themselves in public schools — even controversially — unless the school can show among other things that the speech will cause a “substantial disruption” of the school’s environment or violate the legal rights of others”(Agaston, 2012).
Protect Student Well-being Reasonable amounts of student surveillance, under appropriate circumstances can protect student safety and well-being. • Rebecca Sedwick, a 12-year old Floridian girl killed herself after being repeatedly cyberbullied for months. Two girls were arrested for aggravated stalking but their crimes could have been prevented with reasonable surveillance. -Many examples of students in similar situations (Broderick) - Monitoring can alert school officials to child abuse, drug use in the family, other issues.
Drain on Resources and Time Previously mentioned Southern California school district pays $40,500 each year to monitor student activity on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. (Wallace). -That is roughly a teacher’s salary Punishing students for minor offense will consume a tremendous amount of time. -Many students become suspended for minor offenses or offenses that are not related to school such as underage drinking (Agaston). More student punishments means that more students will be placed on suspension, meaning that fewer will be in the classroom and learning. -Strong connection between students with frequent suspensions and high school drop outs (Roscorla).
Our Recommendations to Address the Issue • To Inform School Policy: • Schools should make students aware of the effects of their actions on social media • Students should be warned so that they know that FB and other social media devices are not private – they are, after all, public sites. • If a parent calls with a bullying concern then the administrators should talk to the students and make it aware that they knew that this was occurring. The school can also contact the parents and notify them. • Schools shouldn’t be monitoring or searching for evidence or issues without cause. If an issue is brought to their attention and it pertains to the school then there are steps that they should take . • If it is causing a "disruption" to the school/ school employees or students at school then the school should take action. • Otherwise (inappropriate comments and personal ideas), the school shouldn't punish. • To Inform Our Own Practice: • Talk with students and notify administrators if a problem comes to our attention. • If we unsure what to do with concerns, we should go to administrators.
Instead of Monitoring, Teach Internet Safety • At Indiana University, the athletic department does not use a third party company to monitor students on social media. • Instead each year they bring in a third-party company to educate student athletes. • Student athletes learn how to use social media responsibly while still having their right to free speech. • "It seemed much more productive to spend our time being proactive and trying to help them learn how to use social media responsibly and as advocates for their own voice, as opposed to using those resources monitoring and trying to, if you will, clean up on the back end" (Roscorla, 2013)
Sources Adams, C. (n.d.). Cyberbullying: What teachers and schools can do. Retrieved from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/cyberbullying-what-teachers-and-schools-can-do Agaston, A. (2012, August 17). Parenting today’s kids: Parenting at the intersection of technology and kids. Retrieved from http://parentingtodayskids.com/article/can-public-schools-regulate-students-off-campus-internet-speech-yes-no-maybe/ Broderick, R. (2013, December 05). “That dead girl”: A family and a town after a cyberbullied 12-year-old’s suicide. Retrieved from http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/that-dead-girl-what-happens-to-a-family-and-a-town-after-a-c iSafe, The Leader in e-Safety Education: Students' Online Behavior. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.isafe.org/outreach/media/media_student_behavior Kaminer, W. (2012, April 30). What right do schools have to discipline students for what they say off campus?. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/04/what-right-do-schools-have-to-discipline-students-for-what-they-say-off-campus/256476 Mason, A. (2013, November 28). Manchester student arrested following cyber-bullying incident. Retrieved from http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Manchester-High-School-Cracks-Down-on-Cyber-Bullying-231798341.html NBC News: Privacy breach or public safety? teens' facebook posts monitored by school district. (2013, September 16). Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/privacy-breach-or-public-safety-teens-facebook-posts-monitored-school- 8C11167659 Patchin, J. (n.d.). Should schools monitor students’ social media accounts?. Retrieved from http://cyberbullying.us/schools-monitorstudents-social-media-accounts/ Roscorla, T. (2013, September 30). Center for digital education: Student social media monitoring stirs up debate. Retrieved from http://www.centerdigitaled.com/news/Student-Social-Media-Monitoring-Stirs-up-Debate.html Should schools punish students for behaviour outside of school supervision?. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.debate.org/opinions/shouldschools-punish-students-for-behaviour-outside-of-school-supervision Wallace, K. (2013, December 4). CNN Living: At some schools big brother is watching. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/08/living/schools-of-thought-social-media-monitoring-students/