Videos spur talks on technology policies

first_imgWhile social networking Web sites have caused many problems, Salerno said parents and students are more aware of the potential for bad behavior and some of the danger that these Web sites can attract. School officials acknowledge that policing Web activity is difficult. If district equipment was used, then it is easier to fix the situation. More often though, students post and update their user profiles on their home computers. And most school districts are not actively looking at student profiles; school administrators often become alerted to a situation when someone complains. Officials have to balance the rights of students to express themselves online with the safety of students exposed to ridicule, said Cindy Bird, assistant superintendent for Bassett Unified. Some administrators are concerned that students are not respecting the privacy of their peers. “It is our responsibility to educate students to be responsible citizens,” Kennedy said. Officials add that monitoring behavior of faculty is difficult and they rely on principals and vice principals to be on alert if a teacher mistreats students. School districts, including El Monte Union High School, Baldwin Park and Glendora Unified, require students to sign a contract where they agree to use district equipment only for education-related projects. Web sites like MySpace and YouTube can’t be accessed on school computers; education sites or news sites can be viewed. Officials are concerned they could be hit with a situation of unsuspecting teachers finding video of themselves online. Many noted there is a heightened awareness among faculty of electronic gadgets, but the districts can only be vigilant to a certain point. “This could happen in any city,” Salerno said. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2108160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Many San Gabriel Valley school districts have adopted technology and electronics policies over the last few years in response to students’ increasing reliance on cell phones and Web sites to communicate with each other. After unflattering videos of some Southern California high school teachers began appearing on the Web site YouTube, educators have been discussing what types of technology are allowed on campus and asking how districts can shield themselves from similar controversies. Cell phones with video recording devices ultimately led the Baldwin Park Unified School District to review its cell phone and technology policy in 2004, said Lynne Kennedy, associate superintendent. District officials saw students could potentially record testing information or videos of their peers and teachers. “We saw in the community that many people had cell phones and saw they could record anything,” Kennedy said. Some districts restrict cell phone use to before or after school and during lunch. During class time, cell phones must be turned off. Teacher permission is required if a student wants to record a lecture in many districts. IPods and other music devices are banned, largely because of the potential for the gadgets to be stolen. Many of the problems scrutinized by media outlets and facing administrators are related to social networking Web sites like MySpace. Postings on a student’s profile have led to fights, culminating in suspensions, said Nick Salerno, assistant superintendent for education services at El Monte Union High School District. last_img

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