A few texts and social media website postings from students and parents almost seemed to imply that a shooting had taken place on the Patterson High School campus. In fact, it appeared that someone living across the street from the school discharged a firearm at no one in particular and was later arrested.
Some parents at the time said they were upset that they were not notified until a few hours after police had cleared the scene. However, school district officials said the lockdown was only a precaution, and they were focused on ensuring the safety of the students.
A quick note on a social media site would have been a great way to update parents and would likely have alleviated at least some initial concerns. Patterson Joint Unified School District is wise to consider making a foray into such communications.
As we’ve learned at the Irrigator, social media sites can occasionally be a hassle when folks leave inappropriate comments. But at the same time, they could be a simple, accessible way for the district to communicate with constituents — and vice versa.
In fact, neighboring cities have successfully used social media sites, and the city of Patterson might want to consider some type of Facebook or Twitter presence, as well.
One thing is clear: Social media is not going away anytime soon. As a video shown at this week’s school board noted, if Facebook users were a nation, they would be the third most populous country in the world.
If the school district wishes to engage students and parents with the communication tools they are already using, then it’s time to jump on the social media bandwagon.