Go Fund Me /Rozmiarek issues Highlight NEED for SC to address Social Media Challenges

social_media

The incident in another community involving former LHS Headmaster Rozmiarek and the example of the 2 Lowell School Dept. employees hosting a Go Fund Me pay for a Climate Change Course at LHS highlight the need for this and every School Committee to create a Social Media policy that defines how the name /brand of Lowell Public Schools is used and protected and define what not should be blocked from viewing (chat rooms for examples) but who and what can be posted in the name of Lowell Schools.

Right now ANYONE can create a Facebook or Twitter page and call it any school related name they want.

For Example on Facebook you can find Robinson Middle School Legacy Wall Project – (Which I created when I was involved with the PTO) /People Who Went To Robinson Jr. High School From 1975-1980 (an alumni page) /I donedidid survive the Robinson Jr High, and so did yous guys (A group that spells like I do!) and Henry J Robinson Middle (which says its an Unofficial Site.)

Any PTO can create a page and let people post usually without restrictions or some create their page requiring post to be approved but again that is NOT run nor in most cases authorized by the Lowell School Department. They can make it public or restrict viewing so not every parent in that school has access.

A parent contacted me over the past few days citing some concerns they had about Social Media and the School Department that included the following:

Hi Mr. Nutter,

I was wondering if you know of why the Lowell Public School District is allowing Private Facebook/Twitter/Webpage etc pages for some of the Individual Public Schools themselves and some of the PTOs?

This may not seem like a big issue but I have heard from a large number of individuals including current Students, Current Parents of those students and Families that were interested in attending Lowell Public School District but are put off by not being able to access these sites. We experienced it ourselves (for example when all of a sudden this past fall we were suddenly not able to even view our schools Facebook webpage for our children) when in fact we had always prior been able to. According to Facebook it was more than likely a result of an individual placing a filter for no longer Public (that used to share with anyone off of facebook ie not having a facebook account) We find this troubling! This is excluding Lowell Public Schools Students themselves who may not have a device (and use the public library), are not allowed to be on Facebook/Twitter/etc. This further excludes the Parents

I’m told that while every school has a City created Webpage that you can link to from the Main page of the Lowell School Department. The School Departments Technology Division have created FB and Twitter accounts for every school but have not made them available to the schools because there has never been an approval to a proposed social media policy.

I’m sure if they had their way the technology department would want all communication via social media to be done on official feeds to eliminate some of the concerns expressed by the parent who contacted me, also so they could retain the main administrative control to the various site(s).

It is a very tough thing to deal with because you don’t want to violate anyone’s freedom of speech but just like MOST MAJOR and smaller companies that have rules that protect their brand and names, the City and the School Department need to create such policies.

The School Dept does have a very loose policy in place now that needs to be re-examined and revised. Here it is

Social_Media_Policy_11-6-12

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