Students and accountability for social media posts

By The Tower Editorial Board

The Tower (Grosse Pointe, Michigan)

With recent social media posts within the district leading to arrests, trips to the office and athletic consequences, students need to be reminded that what is posted on the Internet may lead to serious repercussions. However, there needs to be a line drawn between when administration should be allowed to issue punishments and what should be considered student property.

Administrators this year have been taking action to reprimand students whose online posts have been questionable. The most recent of these social media posts happened within the varsity football team. A player posted a photo on Instagram of two other football players in their uniforms using  illegal substances and school officials punished the students accordingly.

In previous years, students were hardly reprimanded for their online activity. This school year, there have already been numerous consequences handed out.

At North, for example, a student was taken into custody following a Tweet that contained a bomb threat, and at South, a student has been called down to the office regarding a drug-related tweet. As these incidents show, students need to remember that what goes online is at the disposal of virtually anyone with an Internet connection, including parents, administration and colleges.

While students believe that they can either delete or hide their online activity, retrieving online activity that is supposedly private or locked is easier than one would think.

However, social media is abundant in the daily routines of young people; administrators needs to consider that online activity is normal for the student age group. There is no accurate way to determine whether something put online is meant to be serious or humorous. For this reason, school officials need to clearly outline what online activity will provoke consequences and what will be left without administrative or police action.

Students must keep in mind that something that is easily put on the Internet today can just as easily be uncovered later. College admission offices and employers can access the information tied to social media accounts no matter when they were posted or even if they were deleted. This not only applies to pictures portraying students participating in illegal activities, but also could relate to online bullying or harassment, sexting and threats.

With the ability to filter what they upload on social media accounts, students should be wary of questionable photos or comments. They are held accountable for their online activity; the second a student posts online, they take the responsibility for the contents. No risky post will ever be worth its potential consequences.

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (www.wantnewsforteens.com).

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