Should MCPSS Monitor Students’ Social Media for Threats?

Fights on camera, drug solicitation and teens posing with what look like real guns, and all of these from students in Mobile County Public Schools.

These are just some of the disturbing images that have made their way to social media within the last year.  And it’s not limited to just Mobile, but all over Alabama.

Now one school district in Huntsville will be proactively checking for harmful or threatening social media posts.

“Two of the students in our view instigated it; they planed it.  In appropriate circumstances review of students public social media when such students have a history of violence, or in the community who’s conduct demonstrate a clear risk to students and employee safety,” said Dr. Casey Wardynski, Huntsville City Schools Superintendent.

Superintendent Casey Wardynski made those comments last month after footage of a fight taped at Grissom High School surfaced.

“Two students in our view instigated that fight,” he said.

So Wardynski took action.  But he heads a district of about 23,000, Mobile is more than double that, could that work out here?

“You know it’s Twitter, there’s many different kinds, and there’s some we don’t even know about, but trying to monitor those would be a daunting task,” said David Akridge, Mobile County Public Schools Chief Information Officer.

Even though it could be seen as something that crosses privacy lines, Wardynski believes it ensures safety.

“To make sure that we nip that in the bud, and that we’re applying our resources to ensure those threats don’t enter our schools.”

But as the Mobile County Public School explores the issue, Akridge says they’ll keep an eye on Huntsville.

“I mean it’s their own personal property and their personal accounts,” said Akridge.

So at least, for now, the warning is for parents to teach their kids how easily anything that is shared can follow them online forever.

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