Scott: Social media is a way of life these days. And some people are more responsible with it than others. But what happens when your school ramps up its social media policy with a contract to take part in any school activity? Demetrius Pipkin has the story.
Demetrius: Students couldn’t wait to sign their name on this form.
Jacob Williams: In my hand, I have at least 300 signatures.
Demetrius: Because they said they were being forced to sign this one. One they didn’t like.
Sabrina Foster: It’s forcing you to sign it without forcing you to sign it.
Demetrius: Students at Bear Creek High School in Stockton, California were being required by the school to sign a social media contract if they wanted to join a club or play a sport.
Bill Atterberry: As right now, they have to sign that contract in order to participate.
Demetrius: The contract had three main rules about what is not acceptable to post online. First, students could not post anything the school deems to be profane or inappropriate. Second, students could not post anything that creates a danger for another student. And third, students could not engage in any cyberbullying whatsoever. And that includes liking or re-tweeting somebody else’s post. The breaking of any of these rules could lead to a suspension.
Across the country, nearly 70% of teens agree that cyberbullying is a major problem. And just over 40% of young people say they have been cyberbullied at least once. But the students at Bear Creek say that this social media contract went well beyond trying to solve the problem at hand and violated their right to free speech.
Sabrina: The reason was to stop cyberbullying, but it’s covering that anything we talk about…
Demetrius: The students brought the fight all the way up to the school board.
Jacob: We want to send them a message. We want to let them know that this is entirely intolerable.
Demetrius: And their message was heard. The school district tabled the contract and is now working on a revised one that focuses more on cyberbullying.
Demetrius Pipkin, Channel One News.
Scott: Thanks, Demetrius.
Now, school officials say they won’t actively monitor social media feeds but will refer to the contract if any complaints are made.