School district is wise to consider social media
Feb 23, 2012 | 1198 views | 1 1 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If the Feb. 10 lockdown at Patterson and Del Puerto high schools and Northmead and Las Palmas elementary schools can teach us anything, it’s that it doesn’t take long for electronic media to get the wheel of the rumor mill turning.

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.

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February 23, 2012
Thank you to the Patterson Irrigator for sharing my concerns! At our February 7 meeting, I asked for this to be put on a future agenda. We viewed the initial presentation on February 21, and our next steps will be to discuss and adopt a board policy regarding social media. We will likely follow the guidance of our county office of education, who has sample language available for our use.

Members of the public are welcome to comment on agenda items - each speaker is allotted 3 minutes at the beginning of each meeting. If someone has an idea on what we could or should do (or not do!), please share. For example, if you (the public) wants to see special events like the astronaut visit or the School Services budget presentation posted on a YouTube channel, we would like to know that. If you want a Twitter feed for calendar events, should it be district-wide or per school? What do you think we could do with an official Facebook page?

Keep in mind that we are a fairly small district facing a potential $3.2 million budget shortfall in the fall. We don't have anyone that could do these things full-time, but there are people who are willing and able to contribute as an extra duty.

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