March 15, 2020
Dear CMS Families,
Recently, we have had conversations with students in regard to poor choices made with social media platforms and hate speech. Many of our students, your children, are using their cell phones to join online chat groups and engage in hate speech, which some think is OK because it is just between friends. Hate speech is all over the internet. It attacks religion, race, sexual identity, and while it often targets individuals, many others are victims of “casual exposure.” If our students engage in this activity in school there will be strict consequences which could result in suspension and, depending on the situation, could involve law enforcement. Even if it happens outside of school, students can face discipline if their actions create fear or harm within the school, or otherwise interfere with the school setting. Students must abide by the Student Use of Personal Technology Policy, the Student Acceptable Use of District Technology Policy, and our Code of Conduct.
Under New York’s Dignity for All Student’s Act (DASA), our school seeks to provide our students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying on school property, on the bus, and at all school functions.
Somewhere in the mix of all of these social media platforms and chat groups are your kids, who are entering these online spaces sometimes not knowing who they are even talking to. While we will be talking about these dangers with our students in school, I want to share ideas on how to handle these conversations with your children at home. I’ve included some links on how to have these conversations which I hope helps.
Do you check your child’s phone? Do you know the apps that are on it or who they are speaking with? If you answered no to any of these questions, start having these conversations. Being aware and having meaningful conversations with your child is one of the best ways you can help them avoid getting caught up in negative online interactions.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions. We will be working with your children on these subjects in school and are looking forward to creating educational opportunities for parents as well.