TRURO – The Chignecto-Central Regional School Board is reminding its students to play nice on social media.
The school board sent a note home with all students recently reminding them of the responsible use of social messaging tools such as Facebook and Twitter.
“It’s a little bit of a reminder to be a good digital citizen and a good social media user,” board spokeswoman Debbie Buott-Matheson said. “It’s one of those things in which we’re trying to be proactive and addressing the issues become they become an issue.”
Bullying and cyberbullying have both come buzzwords of an issue facing school boards across the province following several high profile teen suicides that were related to harassment and bullying on social media.
Buott-Matheson said the board supports steps taken by the province to combat bullying and wants to reinforce it by reminding students, parents and guardians that using social media to send hurtful messages does come with consequences.
“There’s no doubt it happens. For those it has happened to, hopefully this will provide some support. For those who engage in it, it’s a bit of a reminder that’s not tolerated,” she said.
Buott-Matheson said the board’s code of conduct calls on all members of the board to be respectful, kind and understanding to each other and that the same basic ideas should be applied to using the Internet and social media.
Even if something happens outside school property, Buott-Matheson said the code of conduct still applies if it affects things on school property.
“Most schools don’t allow social media access so when you’re seeing social media and it’s involving student on student it’s generally done off school hours. From our perspective if one student tweeted a negative comment about another and that interaction is beginning to have a negative effect in the school then that’s when the school would get involved,” she said. “We’re saying that just because you are in cyberspace and the Internet it doesn’t mean that rules don’t apply.”
The note also reminds students to talk to a teacher, principal, guidance counselor or another adult if they are having a problem at school. It also suggests parents and guardians to contact the school with issues and then contact the family of schools supervisor. Posting disparaging comments to social media sites won’t help resolve the issue.
Although there hasn’t been any response from parents or students, Buott-Matheson said feedback from principals has been positive.