NEWBERRY — Social Media and the use of technology among those under 18 is growing but with good intentions and results pop up unfavorable intentions.
The Newberry County School District does not have a specific social media policy but they do have a policy which covers all technology resources including social media and the internet.
At the beginning of the school year, students and their parents or guardians are made aware of the use of technology in the Newberry County School District.
The technology use encompasses access to inappropriate sites, online behavior, cell phones and other electronic devices and social media is incorporated into this rule.
Technology resources instruction and use are generally outlined and when inappropriate behavior strikes, the schools deal with the students as intended.
“Improper use of technology can put students as well as their peers at risk. We try to educate them on the proper use and provide opportunities within the instructional program that will enhance their skills. We want them to be as prepared as they can be when entering college or the workplace,” said Newberry County School District Superintendent Bennie Bennett.
Parents or guardians do have the option to opt out of technology use on campus, according to Bennett which means the student would not have access to the internet.
The letter offers students, and staff, network access while on campus and responsibilities are encouraged to be reviewed.
The information is also available on the school district’s website at www.newberry.k12.sc.us.
In the classroom and on school property, the school district acknowledges the positive aspects as well as risks of using the internet for educational resources.
For example, the district lets minors know about appropriate behavior online. This includes social networking interaction and cyberbullying.
Bullying prevention awareness is made available through the district, Bennett pointed out. Last year, select staff members at each school went through a bullying prevention course.
Cyberbullying does not stop when the last bell rings and the school district realizes this.
If there is inappropriate behavior such as cyberbullying happening outside the school’s hours and it affects students or others in a negative way at school, the school district will deal with it, points out Bennett.
Another technological device that is limited are cell phones or other personal electronic devices such as tablets.
Despite the positive use of these devices, such as a Newberry High English class using Kindles in the classroom last year, the devices are instructed on the appropriate uses.
Cell phones are not banned on Newberry County school campuses but they are not to be used during school hours unless the okay is given otherwise by teachers or staff.
As for the violations, there are three levels which include a warning for the first time, removal from classes or suspension for any continued patterns and finally expulsion if the violations are ignored or disruptive.
As for student-teacher friendships on social media sites, it’s not illegal in South Carolina.
He acknowledges that social media can be helpful with teachers or coaches letting students about a meeting or something of that nature but Bennett errs towards caution.