Social Media Procedures

29 Jan, 2020

Jayne Burke

MSD of Martinsville – Please see the following letter emailed to parents today from Dr. Jay Arthur concerning district social media practices.

Dear Parents and Families,

It has been brought to my attention that social media is bursting with comments regarding one of our schools and specifically targeting one of our staff.  As I speak to people individually and in large groups, I share with them our dedication to problem-solving issues regarding our schools.  I use social media to put the word out almost on a daily basis about the great things we have happening with your children.  We spend a great deal of time teaching children in our district about digital citizenship and ways to appropriately use social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, …and the list goes on).  We will continue to do so.  

My hope is also to bring clarity through this message, and remind everyone that we are limited by law in what we can talk about publicly.  We cannot answer questions that people individually pose in public regarding their own children. In addition, we cannot in public or otherwise answer questions regarding children of other families.  This is a direct violation of FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and can even sometimes drift into the world of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).  

We as a district cannot and will not use social media platforms to debate policies, disagreements or frustrations.  As I’m sure you’re aware, anyone can post anything on social media, even if it’s not accurate.  When someone makes a false accusation about a student, a student situation, a staff member, this costs the district a great deal of resources that could otherwise go to educating children because we investigate every issue that is brought to our attention.   I am very proud of how timely our administrators both in buildings as well as the Central Office respond to concerns and issues.  The school business is a people business. People work hard, sometimes people make mistakes, we grow from them and we become better.  Just like we teach our kids, I would ask for your help by taking a moment to pause before you comment on a chatter platform.  Please consider how you may be impacting other families and people in our community.  I would encourage you to reach out to the actual individual who may be able to help you rather than sharing your concerns on a public platform, which often continues to just go unresolved.  

On a more positive note, I am extremely grateful for all of the community partnerships we have and the individual volunteers who make our Martinsville Schools great!  Morgan County, more specifically Martinsville, is a great place to live and grow.  Our community is going through some changes with the introduction of an interstate, new thriving restaurants and businesses downtown and improvements to city infrastructure.  I’m proud of our schools and we are working hard to make sure people who come to our city to visit or research us online know just how great of an education we can offer our students.  Our staff works hard to ensure the students in our hands are cared for every day.  

In the coming year, we will be reaching out to many of you to ask if you would like to be a part of our future planning process to make sure our school district is the best that it can be and is meeting the needs of all our families.  While that strategic planning is a few months away, I would ask that you continue to communicate directly with your child’s teacher, counselor, assistant principal, or principal if an issue arises that makes you uncomfortable.  Additionally, if you have spoken to those at your child’s building and are having trouble working something out please contact our central office and someone will return your call in a timely manner regarding your concerns.

Respectfully,

Dr. Jay Arthur
Superintendent
MSD of Martinsville