Interim Boston Latin headmaster to focus on social media

WBUR interviews Michael Contompasis on his return to the school he once led; he says he's trying to figure out a social-media policy for "acceptable behavior" online. Also, BLS has hired a full-time staffer just to communicate with parents; whom he promises will be notified as soon as some sort of incident happens at the school.

Contompasis is serving as interim headmaster until Superintendent Tommy Chang hires a permanent replacement for Lynne Mooney Teta, who resigned in June after several months of turmoil

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    Social media?

    By on

    This seems like it could only be selectively enforced and therefore problematic. Language and behavior within the school and school hours - this is under the purview of the school. Stuff that happens outside of school - how? There are 17,600 high school kids in BPS - can everyone who's not in BPS act like they want on social media because who cares?

    Old man yelling at cloud comment - kids should keep their phones in their lockers (do they have lockers) during school hours) anyways.

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    Voting is closed. 15

    Vaughn K.

    The Bullying in Schools law (MGL Ch. 71 s.37O), says that:

    (Bullying shall be prohibited): at a location, activity, function or program that is not school-related,or through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased or used by a school district or school, if the bullying creates a hostile environment at school for the victim, infringes on the rights of the victim at school or materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. Nothing contained herein shall require schools to staff any non-school related activities, functions, or programs.

    So long story short, if a hostile environment is created at school because of what happens on social media outside the school, the school has a responsibility to protect the student and can discipline those responsible, along with a million other things in this statute that the school and district needs to do regarding "investigations", "plans", "procedures", "strategies", "policies", "provisions", and "notices".

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    Voting is closed. 14

    Thanks for the info

    By on

    I do not have a kid in HS (yet).

    I don't know how to state this without sounding like a BLS apologist but... is this a BLS problem or just a BPS problem? I have no idea if there are kids at English or the O'Bryant or wherever who are also getting bullied on social media but based on human nature, I'd guess yes.

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    Voting is closed. 16

    Different kind of "bullying"

    From what I see, the racial "bullying" at BLS is what you would see at similar schools in the suburbs which have an African American population in the 10%-25% range. If you looked into it, I bet Newton South and Brookline High probably have the exact same issues.

    There aren't cliques of white kids at other BPS schools which cause problems like the ones at BLS. Bullying is widespread I would say in BPS as much as it is at BLS, but racial bullying is in a different category and is more inflammatory and caustic for administrators to deal with. Plus, the media loves it which makes it more public (causing us to talk about it more)

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    Voting is closed. 16

    Well yes and no

    By on

    They're not allowed to have the phones on. We got our daughter a smart phone last year because some of her teachers were expecting the students to have internet access during class (used when directed only). And some faculty allow them during study hall, some don't.

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    Voting is closed. 5

    Remember

    That what set off the whole flap was a bunch of kids arguing about BLM on social media, outside of school.

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    Voting is closed. 19

    Oh Great

    By on

    Nannying kids at home commences. So that kid who went with his grandparents to Europe and legally hoisted a stein in Germany and grandma posted the picture on FB will be suspended for "school policy violations", and kids will be prevented from discussing their school in any way that might lead to administrators being fired.

    Great.

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    Voting is closed. 7

    Actually no.

    The statute is specific to bullying victims so the school legally won't be responsible for any of those other actions (although alcohol an tobacco use can effect your athletic status).

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    Voting is closed. 4

    So if a Boston Latin student

    By on

    So if a Boston Latin student makes a comment which could be interpreted as bullying on social media while at home at his / her parents' house, will the parents be held criminally responsible as well since the offending child was under their supervision? What if the student was playing outside in a neighbor's yard with friends, will the owner of that yard be held accountable as well?

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    Voting is closed. 2

    No.

    Because again, the statute holds schools responsible to protect students at their schools, not parents.

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    Voting is closed. 10

    Analogy

    If a BLS student follows another BLS student back to his house and beats him up, he will have consequences at school.

    Should it be different if he does it digitally rather than physically?

    Today's students could benefit from a good explanation of why not to say idiotic things in print or online. The policy could be a helpful component of that explanation, a concrete demonstration of how your words can follow you, and bite you in the ass later.

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    Voting is closed. 10

    What are people so upset about?

    By on

    Just be kind to one other. Or at least pretend to be. Their parents or family members or role models should be teaching them that anyway. Just be nice. If you're not nice and you do or say some mean or racist things, own up to it, learn a lesson, have a conversation, apologize and try to do better. That's all the school rules are really asking students to do. "Be kind or we will hold you accountable for not being nice." I'm sure most parents at all schools want members of our society to be held accountable for their actions. That's all the policy is. If your kids don't do anything wrong there shouldn't be anything to worry about. Why am I trying to make a coherent and simple point in the comments section? That never works.

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    Voting is closed. 3

    It may seem like nannying,

    By on

    It may seem like nannying, but part of a school's purpose is to prepare kids for the real world, and a lot of these kids have absolutely zero sense about how the internet can affect them: how long things stay on the net (forever), how much control you have over things being spread (none), and how much people will consider context when evaluating things you've posted (also none). I've seen grown (millennial age!! who should know better!!) adults shocked, just completely flabbergasted, that a post about how much they hate their boss that they made on their supposedly private facebook could get screenshotted and sent to said boss, leaving them unemployed.

    Don't schools still teach civics? (If not, they should). Isn't this kind of discussion just a form of digital civics?

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    Voting is closed. 4