Since the resignation of Albuquerque Public School Superintendent Winston Brooks last week, the Albuquerque Public School district has unveiled a new social media policy, “If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online,” those describing the policy have said. KRQE reports:
“If you are to post something about someone that’s hurtful, you should get in trouble for it,” Estevan Hernandez said.
A Rio Grande High School teacher was suspended last year after what she wrote on Facebook, “Furious! This teacher is going to kill some children tomorrow.”
Former APS Superintendent Winston Brooks got in a lot of trouble last fall for his controversial Twitter comments about Education Secretary Hanna Skandera.
“If you’re like talking crap about someone or just acting up, you should be held responsible,” Michael Charles said.
APS wants to make it clear, if you wouldn’t say it in person don’t say it online.
“Discipline options are the same for inappropriate behavior online or in person,” APS Communications Director, Monica Armenta said.
A new social media policy is now part of the district’s handbook. The guidelines are easy, if you use social media to disrupt the school day, you could get in trouble.
All users should use the computers in a responsible, ethical and polite manner. That means at school and at home. And that includes teachers:
“We will do online training with staff once a year,” Armenta said.
If you are connected with APS don’t say it on social media, if you wouldn’t in real life?!
We know what happened to APS Superintendent Brooks, but what about others who are breaking the policy? One very offensive account comes to mind…which has sent the following tweets.
By the new social media standards, should this account be investigated?!
These are just a few tweets that I find troubling. John Robertson of the Albuquerque Journal wrote about even more of the unhinged tweets in January:
A Twitter response to an innocent-sounding tweet by Skandera illustrates my concern.
The controversial education secretary-designate tweeted in the morning that her “little sister” — referring to the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program, a longstanding volunteer youth mentoring program that I much admire — was joining her for a day at the Roundhouse.
“Excited to have my little sister join me in the Capitol today (Big Brothers, Big Sisters day)! Happy to be a part of such a great program,” Skandera tweeted.
Fourteen minutes later, someone identified as @AngryNMTeacher, tweeted a response, attaching it to Skandera’s cheery note.
“Are you teaching her to lie to our citizens or ignore research, teachers, and parents like you do?” asked @AngryNMTeacher.
My point is not to defend Skandera’s policies, so intensely opposed by many educators. I’m just here to say that lack of respect, or hate, doesn’t help advance or resolve any debate.
Here, insults are perceived by both sides.
Many teachers think it was disrespectful for Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to appoint someone with no regular classroom teaching experience to mandate policy to the people who are doing the work every day in New Mexico public schools. The administration and many government observers think Democrats in the New Mexico Senate are disrespectful in trying to deny the governor the choice of whom she wants to carry out her administration’s policies.
My argument is that you have to bury the hatchets somewhere, that respect has to be given wherever possible, in order for debate to proceed and resolutions to be reached. Otherwise, it’s just Hatfields and McCoys, just a gang war.
And look at who gets caught in the crossfire. I can only hope that Hanna Skandera’s “little sister” didn’t see the tweet from @AngryNMTeacher.
I know it’s only a tweet. But tweeting clearly has become an element of public discourse, available for anyone to see.
While it’s fine for any teacher to voice her disagreement and opinion in a respectful manner, the attacks we see coming out of this particular Twitter account are disparaging, disrespectful and down-right rude. Ultimately, it appears to be against the “if you wouldn’t say it in person don’t say it online” policy at APS.
Allegedly the AngryNMTeacher account is run by Albuquerque Public Schools teacher Lauren McDougall who teaches high school English at El Dorado High School in Albuquerque.