Wednesday, August 29, 2018

New Leaders and Social Media in Pottsgrove

Photo by Evan Brandt

Pottsgrove High School Junior Brenna Mayberry is the new student representative on the Pottsgrove School Board.

Pottsgrove School district's school year got started this week with some fanfare, three new leaders on the school board, and a discussion about the role of social media.

In the wake of the resignation of former school board president Matt Alexander, his seat not only had to be filled on the board, but a new president needed to be chosen as well.
Robert Lindgren is the new 

Pottsgrove School Board President

Earlier this month, the seat was filled by Kim McIntrye, mother of former student board member Mason McIntyre.

But the board held off choosing a new president until Tuesday night.

There was little surprise when sitting Vice President Robert Lindgren was chosen unanimously to fill the spot.

Two board members, Al Leach and Scott Hutt were nominated to replace Lindgren. Leach won by a 7-2 vote with Hutt and board member Bill Parker, who nominated Hutt for the post, voting for Hutt.

And while Lindgren is a long-time board member familiar to many, a fresh new face was added to the table Tuesday night when Pottsgrove High School junior Brenna Mayberry was named as a new student representative to the board.

She will serve for two years.

Good luck Brenna.

Life in cyber-space took center stage for a time last night.

New board member Tina McIntyre asked about the release of information about a medical "lock-down" at Pottsgrove High School Monday. A medical for a student with a pre-existing condition  made it necessary to clear the halls for a stretcher.

McIntyre wondered if it was entirely necessary to release that information to the public. Superintendent Bill Shirk and board member Jim Lapic explained to her that a building full of teenagers with smart phones would most certainly have ensured word got out, but not necessarily accurate word.

Better, Lapic said, to have accurate information put out to the public, than to let social media fill the information gap and fuel speculation.

Lindgren said his personal preference is that "the district always put more facts out there."

One step beyond speculation comes threats on social media and the board is looking into a company that promises to help monitor that as well.

Called "Social Sentinel," the Burlington, Vermont-based company has offered, for $2,000, to monitor social media around the district and look for threats by matching posts against a vocabulary of thousands of threat words.

Concerns were raised about whether the words will be put into context. "So suppose someone asks how a friend did on a test and he replies 'I really bombed.' We might get an alert from something like that," Lapic said.

Shirk said he did not yet have enough information to answer such questions, but said he would like to see the board vote at its Sept. 11 board meeting.

He said he is trying to balance the need to be transparent, and to keep security measures out of the public view.

"We don't want kids setting us up," he said.

Here are the Tweets from the meeting:

No comments:

Post a Comment