Public schools are beginning to monitor the social media accounts of their students. The schools are arguing that it is to prevent bomb threats and other threats that could be circulated online. This program, reported on Today, is monitoring Facebook and Twitter, among other social media applications. They monitor for certain key words such as “kill,” “death,” or other threatening-sounding words. Social media can be used to bully as well. But, the parents are saying that the schools are over-stepping. The parents should be responsible for watching what their kids are posting. This could lead to the schools overreacting, such as a student getting suspended, or worse, for tweeting “I’m going to bomb my math test.”
We’ve seen plenty of crazy things done under the “zero tolerance” policies that most public schools have adopted. Unfortunately, this “zero tolerance” is not a new practice. Fairfax Zero Tolerance Reform says that the policy started with the Improving Schools Act in 1994. The “zero tolerance” policy was meant to keep schools gun free. After the Columbine shooting, schools started applying the “zero tolerance” policy to a host of other actions and items.These policies lack benefits, they use the same strict judgement without evaluating each case individually.
Just recently, there was an incident where a boy is facing assault charges for kissing a girl. It was a thirteen year old trying to kiss a fourteen year old. The girl definitely deserves her personal space, but assault charges? There are so many other ways to discipline that don’t involve getting a criminal record.
We also have the case of an eleven year old boy who had a pot leaf in his book at school, got arrested and charged with drug possession. Problem is…it was not a pot leaf! The parents are now suing the school district. He was suspended for a year and charged in juvenile court.
I agree we need to keep students safe at school, but some of these cases are absolutely ridiculous. They need to exercise judgement in each case.