I recently came across a story where a school district’s policy stated they could ban parents from the school if they spoke negatively about the school district on social media. North West Hendricks School Corporation’s Parent Code of Conduct used to forbid parents from making rude or offensive comments about the school or staff. If parents were caught violating this rule they could be removed or even banned from the school’s property. After a Channel 6 investigative report about the legality of this policy, the school district decided to update its Parent Code of Conduct.
If you have worked in a school long enough, you will become a victim of a parent who gets upset and takes to social media to air their frustrations. I know I have, on plenty of occasions, had an angry parent take to Facebook to tell all their friends how frustrated they are with a policy or a decision that I laid down at the school. Even when a parent has gone on Facebook to express their frustrations with me, I have never thought about removing them from the school or even banning them from the school. I look at it as their way of getting their frustrations out. Who am I am to judge? It certainly is not the way I would go about releasing my frustrations, but I understand these are the times we live in, and that is what social media is for many people.
To ban a parent for a social media post is going too far. Now, I understand school leaders what to protect the school’s reputation. School leaders can’t police everything. I have learned that when parents go to social media to air their frustrations, they are doing so because they believe the school staff is no longer listening. They feel the school staff has turned their back on them and their child.
As mentioned, I had parents take to social media about me. When I saw them at school, I spoke, and I asked if there was something they wanted to talk to me about. I addressed it head-on. I don’t look to have them removed or banned from the school. As people who care about the quality of education of children, I know it is important to talk things out and come to an understanding. It is about the children. The parents are doing what they feel is right to ensure their voice is heard and the school hears the voice of their child. School leaders should look to address the issue instead of avoiding it by banning the parents from the school.