Brain Droppings: Administration’s response to Twitter scandal lacks backbone
The actions of the administration concerning the recent Twitter scandal are, to quote William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Though the administration took disciplinary action, that indeed signifies nothing as far as addressing the real problem is concerned.
The blocking of Twitter provided a perfect opportunity for a discussion of a variety of technology-related topics that have been an invisible plague for a while. The most obvious is the issue of posting derogatory comments about others on the Internet.
But the scandal exposed lots of other problems besides this. For example, why is the issue of teens talking about other teens normal, but when it’s teens talking about teachers, all sites where this occurs must be blocked? Is censoring the Internet worth the educational opportunities that are inevitably sacrificed? If students are on websites they shouldn’t be on in class, what can teachers do to make sure this isn’t happening?
Oftentimes, in situations like this, students become the scapegoat. However, could it not also expose some faults in certain teachers? I’ve been in some classes where the teachers simply don’t know how to use technology effectively. Personally, using PowerPoint lectures every single class equates to a monotonous semester. How can teachers use technology in more interesting ways? There are some teachers who are capable of doing this, so I know that it’s possible.
Unfortunately, with the recent stagnation of discussion, these things will not be talked about, and the longer we don’t talk about them, the more likely they will remain unanswered. So when is this discussion going to occur?
Certainly not on Feb. 1, which was supposed to be Digital Learning Day. This day was supposed to focus on the beneficial uses of technology, but nothing extraordinary happened. The administration should not move on and forget about the technology-related issues just because this day didn’t really occur.
What the administration has done so far concerning all this is disappointing. Censorship, by its very nature, shuts down the opportunity to learn how to effectively use what is being blocked.
Suspensions and other forms of mild disciplinary action do not address the problem in any way whatsoever. As I’ve written before, these actions hold little, if any, educational value.
The goal here seems to be one of retribution rather than reformation. Rationally, this doesn’t make sense. Students get ‘punished’ by missing school, the very thing they need most to reform. This absurd system may signify justice, but it accomplishes nothing.
Finally, Twitter isn’t coming back any time soon, despite what the administration has said in an attempt to placate the student body. Although this is by no means official, it is an easy conclusion to draw, given the vague answers from the faculty and the lack of dialogue about all of these problems.
However, it is not too late for the administration to start taking a more proactive approach to the technology dilemma. The first and easiest step is to bring about a discussion concerning all the issues previously mentioned.
But while school-wide assemblies have their place, they are notorious for not accomplishing much. Large gatherings of people have a tendency to create a diffusion of responsibility. For this reason, it would be far more effective to have a select group of students meet with the administration about these issues.
Concrete action must follow this. For example, there needs to be an investigation in how teachers use technology in the classroom. I’d also like to see a revolution on a disciplinary level on how the school handles cases like this. The Honor Council, which is a group where students will aid in disciplinary decisions, is a good start. Again, at the very least, we need to talk about these issues. But we aren’t even doing that at the moment.
I hope the administration’s actions start to signify something in the future, because JC’s issues with technology are one thing I’d love to change my mind about.
Scott Novak is an Opinion Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.