I’m afraid that Clint McCance of the Midland School District just learned a painful lesson in the power of social media. Regrettably, this is exactly the kind of thing that school districts are terrified of happening and why many school leaders believe that social media should be avoided all together.
Well should it?
First of all, this was an incident that happened outside of the control of the school. There was nothing the school could have done about it. That said, they are facing a PR nightmare today with their phones ringing off the hook and protests scheduled if McCance doesn’t resign and the school doesn’t deal with the situation. I don’t know if the Midland School District has a good social media policy, but if they don’t, I imagine they’re wishing they’d considered it before now.
The reality is the school board member was perfectly in his Constitutional rights to write what he wrote. Unfortunately, those comments don’t (hopefully) reflect the values of the school district. If Midland had a published social media policy reflecting what values and online behaviors they expected of students, faculty and staff, then they could have immediately distanced themselves from the knucklehead and saved themselves a lot of headache.
Whether schools want to admit it or not, the reality is a large percentage of their students, faculty, staff and elected officials have social media profiles. Pretending that if you ban Facebook at school the problem goes away is simply wishful thinking.