Rant Part II

31 Aug

Who am I?  Negative Nellie?  I’ve got my dander up yet again – this time over a meeting at the public junior high!  Here’s my version of the story.

Our 6th and 7th graders get iPads to use if they pay $100 tech fee.  The 8th graders get MacBooks – again for the $100 tech fee.  I have a 6th and 8th grader so, besides paying the fee, I had to attend a technology meeting.  During this meeting, parents voiced concerns about how these devices were being used in the school.  One topic:  Facebook!  Kids are posting to Facebook during study hall and during class.  The superintendent said that he believes that if the kids have free time, they should be able to post to Facebook.  He said that he used to play paper football in study hall when his work was done.   He then deferred the question to the technology coordinator who said valid uses of Facebook included grabbing pictures and quotes to use in projects.  Really?  REALLY?  Parents argued against blocking Facebook saying that was a parental responsibility as to whether a child can use Facebook in school or not.  REALLY?  (for the third time!)

Here is my email letter to the superintendent:


Mr. xxxxxx,
I kept my mouth shut during yesterday’s tech meeting because I didn’t think it was the time or place for the “Facebook” discussion.  I’d like to voice my point of view on the subject and ask that the administration and board seriously consider this issue.
The question was asked, “Does Facebook have an educational place in the classroom?”  The question was never answered completely by you, Mr. yyyyy, or Ms. zzzzz.  I think the answer is NO.  Here are my reasons:
1)  Although it is a parent’s right to decide whether or not a child should have a Facebook account or not, it is not the parent’s right to determine if the child can use that account in school.  We ban cell phone use currently using the same logic.  If a parent allows their child to dress a certain way at home, or smoke, or use drugs, it’s their right in their own home.  But at school there is a dress code and we believe that smoking and drug use is not permitted on school grounds.  (By drug use, I even mean over the counter drugs such as Advil, or prescription drugs like asthma and allergy medicines.  Those have to be administered by a school official even though at home the child may go into the cabinet and get them for him/herself.)
2)  If a child has free time during a study hall and all his/her work is finished, there are other things that considered educational that can be done.  I’m sure that you were talking in jest when you said that your teachers willing allowed you to play paper football in study hall.  That would be disruptive to the OTHER students who are still doing their homework.  What about reading a book?  🙂  What about working ahead in a class?  Or double checking your work to make sure it’s complete?  I’m sure that there are educationally sound things for the students to do during study hall.
3)  As far as grabbing pictures or quotes from Facebook for an assignment, that is not a legitimate source.  To take pictures from the Internet without permission is copyright infringement.  If Wikipedia is not considered a “quotable” source in high school and college, then we should teach correct sources that can be used as early as junior high.
4)  There are other collaboration sites that can and should be used (wikis, etc) instead of Facebook for group projects. I know if you Google “Facebook uses in the classroom” there will be some positive hits about how to use Facebook effectively.  MOST of those suggestions are for high school and college classes since there is an age limit for Facebook membership.
I feel very strongly that Facebook and other social media sites should be on your list of blocked sites.  I also feel that game playing sites that have no educational value should also be banned.  Students have plenty of time to post on Facebook and play non-educational games at home.
I would be happy to voice my opinion on this subject at an open forum or at a board meeting if you’d like.  However, I think it’s an administrative policy decision similar to cell phone use or dress code.
Thank you for your time and please let me know when a decision has been made on this matter.
I signed my name here
Too harsh?  Maybe.  I feel like the monkeys are running the zoo here!  My hubby asked why I cared since our kids don’t have Facebook accounts.  It’s the principle of the thing!

2 Responses to “Rant Part II”

  1. Sonia September 1, 2012 at 6:02 PM #

    I am 100% with you on the Facebook ban. Dear school board…please be in charge of education and not in charge of “being cool.” 100% of your efforts should be providing an education in real subjects, not LOL, OMG, etc.

  2. Bri September 2, 2012 at 8:37 PM #

    Amen. You summed it up perfectly. I wish I was as articulate as you Gina!

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