Urgent: Please read

posted Sep 28, 2018, 10:27 AM by David Leonard
Dear Families,
     It has come to our attention that some students riding the bus are sharing videos with each other, and that the content that is being shared is highly inappropriate. Unfortunately there are many inappropriate things on the internet and they're accessible to your children on their phones. This show that was shared happens to depict severely violent acts with real people. These highly disturbing images glorify violence and have no place in children's lives. Some students came home speaking of the show as if it was "cool".  This concerns me deeply.

     I've spoken to all of our 3rd - 6th grade students regarding this matter, making them aware that this is unacceptable. I made it clear that we would never show violent movies at school, and that parents are the people who make the decisions for their children on what is and isn't appropriate for viewing. Smart phones are the device providing access to this content.

     WHAT CAN PARENTS DO? One very simple thing that can be done is to question how necessary is it for your child to have a phone at school. Every classroom has a phone, and students know they can make a phone call home if they need to during the school day. The bus can be reached via CB radio from the school. Students are aware that cell phones use is not permitted at school.  There's a movement now suggesting that you wait until 8th grade to provide a smartphone for your child.  https://www.waituntil8th.org/  Check it out. 

      Another consideration for parents is to use the parental control features of your child's smartphone to limit the use of certain apps. This would remove the ability for your child to stream video during the period of the day they are at school and on the bus. If we fail to oversee what our children are doing on their cellphones, we are failing our children.

      There is also a "game" on the internet which uses messaging apps like Facebook, What's App or your Text Message app and encourages children to do unhealthy/unsafe dares, which increasingly escalate. I think it's very important that you are aware of the danger of this particular game.  One such act is a dare to include people you do not know in your contacts so they can message you. When you complete an act, you are rewarded in the game.  Other acts include dares which lead up to increasing levels of self harm. We urge you to take this very seriously. Monitoring cell phone use is really important. If you wish to know more about this "game" please feel free to contact me. 

       A really great web resource for parents is commonsensemedia.org.  The website gives ratings for different games, apps, movies, and more, and provides multiple perspectives about the digital world and how to keep your child informed and safe. Please check it out. 

      I want to be sure to let you know that if your child is found to be sharing inappropriate content there will be consequences. If they're a bus rider, we will ban them from using their devices on the bus. Cell phones will need to be checked in upon getting on the bus. Our preference is for you to assist in this matter.  Sorry for the length of this communication, but we take this very seriously.
Thank you for your assistance in this matter,
Mr. Leonard
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