Today we met with all students during school assemblies. We discussed several topics regarding the appropriate use of technology. Being mindful of your digital footprint and reinforcing the notion that words and images posted online are potentially permanent were two of the topics discussed. In addition, we recently discovered that students are not only engaging in improper internet searches, but many students are involved in the dissemination of inappropriate images of students. Furthermore, students are using anonymous digital resources to post comments aimed at humiliating, teasing, bullying, and spreading rumors about students.
Yik Yak is a common application they are using to engage in such behavior. Yik Yak allows for anonymous, and often hurtful messages to be communicated to a large audience. We discovered that the posting and sharing of inappropriate images is more prevalent than we anticipated. Lastly, it became abundantly clear that some students were communicating about using and selling drugs.
We sent a very clear message to students. We are all proud of the climate and culture that is present in our building. We take pride in the respectful manner in which students and staff interact. In addition, we take pride in the manner in which students treat one other. So needless to say we were alarmed to witness such a high level of cyber bullying between GD students. We informed students that engaging in such activity would not be tolerated, and students willfully humiliating one another is not acceptable.
It has come to our attention that students are frequently using their phones during class without permission. We recognize it is our responsibility to police such behavior; however, if the problem persists more drastic action might be needed. Students often claim that the messages are from parents. Please use discretion when sending messages to your son or daughter during school knowing that it may cause an issue during class.
We would urge you to discuss the appropriate use of technology with your son or daughter, and reinforce the important concept that one digital mistake can carry with it severe and lasting consequences. Although much of this behavior transpires outside of school we are asking for your help and support to reinforce the important concept of using technology appropriately.