Social Media Statement

 

Dear Farmington Families, 

I hope your child(ren) experienced a smooth and joyful transition back to school. I am writing to you to keep you informed and to elicit your support and partnership in an ever-evolving issue that Farmington as well as all school districts continue to face. 

We are experiencing increased use of social media sites by students outside of school and this is occurring at the younger grade levels as well as in grades 7-12. Some of these sites allow individuals to be anonymous and students are not aware of who they are interacting with which is extremely concerning and potentially harmful. We have provided some resources below to help you navigate this ever-evolving time when it comes to social media. Through these social media platforms, we are experiencing an increase in mean behavior, disrespect and at times, cyberbullying. These posts often do not go away and live on forever, impacting the victim’s well-being as well as the individual who is responsible for the post due to immediate and lasting consequences for such actions. When these internet or social media issues impact the educational process in schools, we investigate these incidents when they are brought to our attention and we also engage the Farmington Police Department when the behavior escalates such that we must engage law enforcement. 

Our students mean the world to us and we are seeing the impact of social media on our students more and more each day. Together and in partnership, we must work together to support our students, especially those who are recipients of unkind words, disrespect or harassment of any kind. Even with our long-standing focus on equity, inclusivity, and belonging, we know that issues may occur that are counter to this focus. However, our commitment to safety, student belonging and well-being means that we all must respond quickly with an intentional focus on supporting each student, assigning appropriate consequences and creating an environment where all students feel they genuinely belong and are valued for who they are. 

Farmington students, administrators, faculty and staff are required to follow designated student and personnel Board of Education policies aligned to state and federal laws. We have well-developed procedures to investigate matters of student conduct in a timely manner. It is important to note that in the event we conclude that student misconduct has occurred, we are unable to share information about a student, including information about any disciplinary or consequences we impose with anyone other than that child’s parents or guardians. This is often frustrating to families, but we must follow our legal obligations regarding student confidentiality. 

A whole community effort, both inside and outside of school, is needed to address the challenges of an ever-evolving social media landscape. We therefore ask for your partnership in keeping students safe, assisting our students in making good decisions and reinforcing the importance of exhibiting empathy, care and kindness toward oneself and others. I know our strong partnership makes a positive and significant impact in the lives of our students. Thank you for your support related to this issue as we embark on this new school year. Please read through the resources below for more information about how you can talk to your child, set expectations and monitor social media use effectively to contribute to a safe and caring community. 

Sincerely, 

Kathleen C. Greider 

Please See Informative Family Resources Related to Social Media Below: 

11 Social Media Red Flags Parents Should Know About - CommonSense Media

Parenting, Media, and Everything in Between - CommonSense Media 

Parents’ Ultimate Guides (by platform) - CommonSense Media 

Safety Information for Families - Internet Safety Concepts, Scott Driscoll