Using Social Media to Complain about Educators Not Good Way to Resolve Conflict

By Hayashida, Leila | Honolulu Star - Advertiser, March 27, 2016 | Go to article overview

Using Social Media to Complain about Educators Not Good Way to Resolve Conflict


Hayashida, Leila, Honolulu Star - Advertiser


As we navigate through the age of technology, we need, as parents and as employees of the public school system, to remind ourselves of our collective goal: the education and social and emotional well-being of children, so they can be prepared for and thrive in community life.

When used properly and respectfully, social media is a great platform for communication between schools and the community. But it also can be used in ways that are disruptive and harmful.

School administrators or teachers will call parents to work together to resolve student conflicts. However, with the rise of social media use, schools are now contending with incidents going viral before people have an opportunity to come to an understanding about them.

One side of an incident, or someone's interpretation of it, is shared over and over again on Facebook or Instagram, and what is shared is often incomplete and/or misleading. Some media outlets will even pick it up and run with it, without explaining the context or doing any fact-finding. The resulting fallout is often greatly disproportionate to what originally happened. This distortion of conflict is something we need to avoid for the sake of children.

When adults take to social media because they disapprove of school decisions, it sends a message to students that only one opinion matters, and the more "likes" and "shares" you get, the more validation you earn.

That's not how the real world works. We must work through differences with empathy, kindness and respect. Being able to use those communication skills is crucial in an increasingly diverse and interdependent world.

Parents and community members have the right to have their concerns heard, and school administrators and teachers should hear them because constructive feedback is valuable, even critical. …

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