Students running for offices in the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) at Evans Middle School in Lubbock, Texas, are prohibited from using Internet websites, Facebook pages, or other forms of social media to get out the word about their election candidacy. The following is the guidelines page provided to students by school officials:
It’s a wise move by school chapter sponsors to prohibit technology use by students involved in school politics, since social media use worldwide is in sharp decline and most futurists predict technology outreach campaigns will be totally irrelevant in the future for our communities and nations.
If we are not willing to trust some of our highest achieving students in school (those already inducted into NJHS) with responsible use of social media platforms, that says a great deal about the perceptions of local school leaders about the importance of teaching digital citizenship.
I can think of few contexts better suited for important discussions about digital citizenship than school club election time. Perhaps NJHS adult leaders in Lubbock ISD will reconsider their social media prohibition policy at some point, and use this as an opportunity to help many people in the Lubbock community practice responsible digital citizenship.
Do the middle school NJHS election policies at your school prohibit student use of Internet websites and social media? What about other student organization elections?
Life can seem simpler when authorities restrict and censor the free expression rights of citizens. That seems to be working pretty well for government leaders in communist China, as well as school leaders in Lubbock, Texas. That strategy hasn’t worked as well lately in Tunisia and Egypt. How about your community?
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