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- 10 Ways to Teach Like Ted Lasso: Part I - March 12, 2021
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers: Habit 3 - First Things First - February 26, 2021
The most arduous day of my education career was a day centered on Facebook. I was completing my principal practicum, and just before my hours were finished, a student made a death threat on that social medium. I spent the day calling an array of high school students to my principal’s office, where I took testimony about what was said but more so about what was typed. Twelve hours and hundreds of pages of notes later, I knew that I no longer wanted to be a principal.
But I also quickly came to the belief that our schools need to teach students the proper use of social media etiquette. The Millennial Generation spends a huge majority of its time online. According to Adweek, of the time spend on the Internet, 28% of it is on social media, easily the highest amount of all the categories. While there are some great benefits of constantly staying connected and using social media as a soundboard.
But whether we like to admit it or not, most people don’t know the power and lasting impact of words shared innocuously online. Here are just a few examples from the past year:
1. At Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, my alma mater, a local news station stated baseball player and student Joey Casselberry’s “life changed with one Tweet.” In that Tweet, he called 14-year-old Little League Phenom Mo’Ne Davis a “sl*t” because Disney is making a movie about her story.
2. A New Jersey school safety officer was fired calling someone a “black thug” on Facebook and inviting all white people to “riot to scare the hell out of them [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"][blacks].” He is now trying to reclaim his job.
3. At the Central Michigan University, a former adjunct instructor is suing one of his former students for creating a fake Twitter account, where the instructor and the student went back and forth sharing incredibly lewd comments. Editor's note: the language in this is pretty awful for both parties.
4. That being said, the International Business Times published an article this year declaring that schools really are failing to protect teachers' online presence, which includes 60% of respondents reporting online abuse, with 98% of it being parents trolling them on Facebook.
5. Most recently in the news, Trevor Noah, the newest host of Comedy Central’s Daily Show, is under fire for his online Tweets, which include twinges of anti-Semitism, sexism, racism, and so on.
6. Most infamous among these recent hate-filled social media bits involves YouTube and the brothers of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon at the University of Oklahoma, where they chant a song about never allowing “ni**as” to be part of their fraternity.
7. Dr. Wallace D. Loh, President at The University of Maryland, reacted to a racist-laden email at his own school by turning the debate into a Twitter discussion. What you’ll read is pretty interesting.
8. Just yesterday, a school principal near me sifted through racist comments between students and police officers.
I know, I know. We teach enough outside our curriculum already. Nobody would’ve ever thought we’d be teaching students how to be nice to one another, how to have manners, or how to write a thank you note. But with the recent behavior of college should be teaching social media etiquette. The evidence – just in 2015 alone – is that it’s not being taught to our youth neither at home nor at school. However, after you read a few of these articles, it’s easy to come to a conclusion that it should be.
Our youth are smart enough to learn how to properly use social media. Mo'Ne Davis, that young lady with the golden arm who was subject to the Casselberry's awful comment, recently said that "everyone [including him] should get a second chance." But what if we taught students how to properly use social media the first time?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]