Bastrop ISD and several campus administrators have been made aware of a string of offensive and disturbing posts in an iPhone App called After School. These posts carried into this afternoon, upsetting many students, staff at BISD campuses and parents in our community.
As educators and administrators, we have a legal responsibility for the safety and security of our students while at school. In Bastrop ISD, we see that as more than a responsibility and go to great lengths to make sure our students are kept out of harm’s way – whether physical or social.
We are making attempts to reach students who have been included in the app’s content, but, the After School app is semi-private and those posting are anonymous, making it difficult for administrators to gain access to the content being posted or identify who is creating the posts. We need student and parent help to address this situation.
Parents, please discuss this app with your children and encourage them to not participate in the online bullying and to help identify any student that may have been targeted on this app. Students, tell an adult if you see or hear something that may result in harm to you or another student. Speak up and speak out.
While we are limited in some fashion and do not have jurisdiction of a student’s online activity outside the school day, we are committed to addressing the situation the best we can. We cannot and will not infringe on a student’s right to free speech, but we can and have applied the code of conduct in any area that might threaten student safety or interfere with any student’s educational day. We have a moral and ethical responsibility to address this issue, and we will continue to do so because we care about each and every student in Bastrop ISD.
Remember, this is an excellent time to start a conversation about how we can support our students and our community in using technology in a way that is respectful, responsible and safe. I encourage you to talk to your children regularly about the best and safest ways to use social media.
For more information, check out these resources:
- Twitter Bullying Help
- Cyberbullying Research Center
- Connect Safely | @connectsafely
- Stopbullying.gov | @stopbullyinggov
- National Crime Prevention Center on Cyberbullying
- Anti-Bullying Pro | @antibullyingpro
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact your campus administrator, or Executive Director of Communications/Community Services Emily Parks.