We Don’t Need More Lessons About Social Media

This week I heard about abhorrent, racist behavior in my hometown. It made me terribly sad on many levels. But this is a blog about education and music, not politics and racism.

The first article I read about the events had this quote:

School officials said they hope this type of behavior from students will not continue, and that students learn a lesson about social media.

Let me be crystal clear: they do not have a social media education problem.

They have a social education problem.

If your reaction to this kind of situation is, “kids need to learn not to share that kind of thing,” then you are failing as an educator, failing as a parent, failing as a member of society.

Kids need to learn not to do that kind of thing.

That these young people thought it was appropriate – even as a joke – to behave this way is the problem. The pictures just are evidence of the problem.

When local TV news covers a factory explosion, we don’t say, “There’s a TV problem.” We don’t say, “The factory owners need better media relations.” No, we must ask, “How can we work together to prevent future explosions?”

Next time (and there will be a next time) that a “social media” event happens in your town, ask yourself: am I doing the best to teach my children appropriate behavior? Am I being a leader in my community in behaving appropriately?

In March of 1968, three weeks before he was killed, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at my alma mater. As he spoke of compassion, peace, and equality, hundreds of Grosse Pointers picketed outside.

Clearly not much has changed in the nearly-50 years since. We must take advantage of every opportunity to make a step.