The only behavior that the school is allowed to monitor are the “school-related” incidents. Therefore, even when they see disturbing social media content that is not school related but could represent a hostile school environment, they can’t act.
AUSTIN, TX, February 16, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ — Shootings keep happening at schools and the answer is under our nose, says a social media expert, attorney, and mom dealing with cyberbullying.
Valentine’s Day now has a totally different meaning for a Florida High School, after a student opened fire, causing the death of 17 people. As sad as it is, it doesn’t shock us. There have already been 18 school shootings in the U.S. this year.
Nikolas Cruz: Florida school shooting suspect’s ‘very disturbing’ social media posts revealed, as details of man arrested emerge. ‘A lot of kids threw jokes around saying that he was going to be the one to shoot up the school. It turns out that everyone predicted it’.
As a social media expert, attorney, and mom of 4, dealing with a teenager who has been a victim of bullying at school, Jessica Campos reveals, “the answer is under our nose”.
My daughter is in her senior year of high school and is facing consequences of cyberbullying. Last year, she was pushed by a kid who also got into a fight with another student and resulted in his having surgery. I shared the video and demanded consequences. The school could not do anything based on the content because “it was not school-related”.
You might want to see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VQgcaWWYpA&feature=youtu.be
I have seen students sharing pictures in social media with guns, drugs, and drinking alcohol. The only behavior that the school is allowed to monitor are the “school-related” incidents. This doesn’t mean that teachers don’t see it. They do! They just can’t do anything about it.
I have a copy of one of the emails that refers to “inappropriate content being posted on social media”, referring to a student sharing a picture with a gun and commenting that “he would use it the next day”. Because this picture with a gun is not school-related content, this student that has a gun and has expressed that he will use it goes to school, just like another normal day.
As an attorney, I can understand that a picture alone does not constitute a crime, but a student who shares content via social media, content that could create a hostile school environment, should have consequences. That’s where schools are failing.
In Texas, we have “David’s Law,” approved last year, in honor of a teenager who committed suicide. The new legislation amends Texas Penal Code 42.07, making cyberbullying a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up 180 days in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine. The offense becomes a Class A misdemeanor if the offender has a previous conviction for cyberbullying or if the victim was under 18 years old and targeted with the intent to make the victim commit suicide or hurt themselves. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum $4,000 fine. Cyberbullies can also face expulsion or be sent to alternative school. Prior to the passage of this law, cyberbullying did not carry any criminal penalties.
As more shootings happen in schools, it’s time to review the school’s social media policies to not only attack the cyberbullying problem, but also to prevent a hostile school environment.
As a social media expert, I encourage my corporate clients to have a strict social media policy. Most higher education systems have strict policies as well. When I check my kids’ school handbook, as far as the social media policy, there is still a lot of work to do.
Schools need to have a social media policy that allows them to: 1) observe content and 2) take an active role in monitoring such activities. Even when an activity is not literally cyberbullying, a strong social media policy should prevent a hostile school environment. We need more preventive action, if we want to learn the lesson from all the school shootings that we have experienced so far.
This is also a parenting lesson. I’m the first to admit that I can do a better job at monitoring my teenager’s content. She claims that it’s her privacy. Honestly, this won’t happen with my 3 other kids. No privacy! We pay for their phones. We must have access to all the channels and monitor their communication. We must be proactive. I’m so sad for the victims of the Florida shooting and their families. My prayers and best wishes to all of them during these difficult circumstances.
Jessica Campos is an online revenue strategist for professionals, the CEO of Marketing For Greatness, Inc., and founder of MySocialUniversity.com, an online learning center for business owners. In her latest publication The 6 Golden Rules of Social Media, she blends her 15+ years of experience as an attorney and online business owner. As a professional marketer, she created The Visibility Method, a social marketing resource designed specifically for professionals looking to grow their business (B2B, B2C) in a very simple and scalable way.
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