A handful of people have suggested that I should delete some of the more inflammatory comments that get posted, especially those that take potshots at teachers or administrators.
Here are some random thoughts on the issue:
1. The wide-open forum of the internet is here to stay. Schools should embrace the technology and use it for good, instead of getting squeamish. The internet has given everyone an equal voice. You just didn't hear that voice before. Not all voices will make sense to you and not all voices will be respectful. That doesn't mean they weren't out there before - it just means they ran in different circles than you and you never heard that voice.
2. When you were in school did you know who the superintendent was? Did you interact with him or her? Having a voice in the past meant you had to have "connections." Today, connections may be technology-based.
3. It will take time for people to adjust to maintaining their dignity when they think no one is physically watching. You see, they just don't realize yet that the whole world is now watching. It's just electronic. Bill Gates calls it, "Living the documented life." Every key stroke you make leaves a digital footprint. Every place you go the security cameras and web cams are likely to be recording you. Every person that posts wild ramblings and embarrassing personal information on their website will have to explain it to a future employer. Many large businesses now employ people specifically to search out every internet reference to a potential employee before they hire them.
4. Twenty years ago you older folks left your imprint on the world by carving your initials in the tree with your rusty pocketknife. "Leroy was here." Today your children and grandchildren blog their views to the world and publish their daily lives to thousands by posting to their personal websites. It's no different in that respect, their imprint is just digital and far reaching - even into the future. It is a permanent record.
5. As far as censoring or deleting comments goes, I have not yet had to censor any comments except for one or two for profanity.
6. Comments, suggestions, criticisms and compliments are appropriate here when they are in reference to policies, practices or school-wide issues. If a criticism is in reference to a specific individual or department it is best made directly to the individual or their "boss." I will delete any inflammatory comments that reference an individual or employee. Except for references to me. Everyone considers the superintendent fair game I guess. (Someone came up to me recently and started pinching my upper arm lightly. They looked up with a grin and said, "I was just checking to see if you had thick skin!")
7. The biggest problem with internet communication is that it lacks the non-verbal cues that accompany face-to-face interaction.
8. And the simplest reason for blunt and sometimes inflammatory posting is actually quite simple. Some people get lazy (perhaps they aren't very good typists) and they don't take the time to soften their words and explain themselves more carefully the way they would face-to-face.
The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.
Comments should be respectful and pertain to the topic posted. Comments about personnel matters should be made directly to the administrators responsible. Blog moderators reserve the right to remove any comment determined not in keeping with these guidelines.