Cassock and Hendricks in their article 'Teachers, Social Media, and Free Speech,' talk of how the government routinely uses social media to engage in professional communications with peers, improve the classroom curriculum, and enhance conversations with parents and students. Additionally, they talk about how teachers are often misusing information posted on social media whether the school community and their students are the target audience or not. This article argues that matters are surrounding social media increase issues with the 1st Amendment rule that governs teachers and public workers generally and contends that the policy requires substantial clarifications and revisions.
The authors argue that in matters involving non-school related communication, the courts ought to unrestraint the balance test and preferably provide the speech reasonable constitutional shield which may be overcome when officials in schools portray an essential link between that speech and the tutor's ability and fitness to achieve professional responsibilities. With such a reform in the 1st Amendment policy governing community school instructors, the article states that extensive bans on social media which forbid a tutor's usage of social media to interact with scholars for noncurricular reasons are not constitutional. With this, the power of administrators in learning institutions to discipline instructors for their social interaction may have practical limits,yet they have a moral responsibility to shield students from the adverse effects of social media use to strengthen the trust between communities and schools.
Knowledge is power, this is a saying recognized by many, but only a few comprehend the empowering role played by social media. Nowadays, it is with no doubt that social media carries a significant responsibility in contributing to our economy, culture, social life, and the general worldview. The article quotes that 'the application of social media as a way of interacting, is on the rise in many sectors of the US society including education (Cassock and Hendricks 1). There are schools which fruitfully make use of blogs as a learning tool, that is advantageous in reinforcing creativity, expression, and skills in English. The internet has complicated the meaning of the second amendment ruling that now puts the right to freedom of speech for students and teachers under scrutiny. School administrations regularly discipline students for, and their teacher's for making comments on social media even if the comments do not involve matters of the school property. 'Even though some schools are after cyber-bullies, others tend to punish those who only post comments online with no offensive intentions' (Cassock and Hendricks 2). This technological era, accompanied by a wonderful capacity to democratize speech, is very vital to student's rights even though it bears interesting new threats to their rights. If the young ones are not stimulated to take advantage of their first amendment rights, the society will end up being deprived of their innovative ideas, energy, and creativity making it a human rights abuse and a huge loss as well.
Student's speech mostly on insubordination of administrators has aided in keeping learning institutions transparent. Modern students want to express themselves through creative and peaceful ways. They are making use of all available tools including online interactions to accomplish a positive contribution. Taking part in social media interactions may aid in developing technical, and writing skills promote creativity, facilitates social interactions, and improve collaboration and communication. Cassock and Hendricks claim that 'social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, give instructors powerful teaching instruments which enable a unified learning community and fosters teamwork' (Cassock and Hendricks 2). Social media can also assist administrators and teachers in reaching troubled students that require more than academic guidance.
Tutors can offer the required moral support and emotional attention to deal with personal issues like family difficulties and abuse. Individuals are searching for adult guidance, and mentoring could find it uneasy connecting with a teacher during school period; social media, therefore, works as a more approachable and more accessible platform of accomplishing such interactions. Furthermore, more schools need to identify the significance of digital communications in class for the young ones to learn how to use social media best effectively. Similarly, the authors support that 'tutors may also be advantaged from interacting through social media off-school setting in their personal and professional abilities' (Cassock and Hendricks 7). Tutors use social media in learning more about new teaching methods, communicating with their unions, and as a base for interacting with their colleagues. On an individual level, social interactions can be used by teachers to communicate with family and friends.
Several instructors have been penalized by school administrations for posting wrong and inappropriate information on social media, although they posted it during their off time. Officials have disciplined tutors for writing content which portrays a bad example for students since some information involve profanity, alcohol, drugs, or sex. The authors agree that 'it is not considerate to encourage the hard-fought battles for student's right to speech and freedom to be swept out in this technology period' (8). There has been a notable difficulty in balancing the need to enhance learning through the use of technology and respect teacher's first amendment rights. It is indisputable that teenagers can be immoral and bully others on social media. This reason raises problems with the first amendment, whereby, schools need to discipline any communication once they can note any form of intimidation. Secondly, students ought to face punishment after making comments after school hours, while at home. School administrations have no permit of listening in on student's private chats with their peers or teachers.
The article states that 'the Pickering court explicitly holds that government workers retain a 1stamendment right to create declarations of societal apprehension when the employee's issue is involved' (Cassock and Hendricks 3). Noting that the 1st amendment rights for educators are not complete, the courts came up with a balancing test which considered the teacher's interest and that of the nation, as a proprietor, in endorsing the public services' efficacy. The Pickering court making use of its new balancing test to reality initially notes that the teacher's letter is never sent to their direct coworkers or supervisors, hence, could not threaten to destabilise harmony or morality in the workplace.
Cassock and Hendricks' article in support of my opinion argues that despite the permissible context used, bans on social media are unlawful since they rarely prohibit the pedagogical use of social media yet they limit speech more than is required to shield unsuitable interactions between teachers and students (9). Nevertheless, these restrictions are not able to identify the significant worth of social media as a mode of communication and an educational tool. Rather than demonizing a method of communication which is taking on a gradually vital part in American society, learning institutions ought to concentrate on curbing detrimental speech itself.
Vasek, Mandy, and Randy Hendricks. "Teachers, Social Media, and Free Speech." eJEP: eJournal of Education Policy (2016).
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