We Need Your Help With “False Fears”
December 19, 2011
What a unique age we live in and how small our connected world has become with the ability to quickly communicate with others in ways we never had previously. With "tech tools" such as text messaging, Facebook, Skype, and Twitter to name a few, we are instantaneously connected not only with friends and family but with their friends and family and so on. We learn, see, and discuss events as they are taking place. These are powerful tools that have benefitted our society and have great educational benefits. However, with every great tool, there are challenges that need to be addressed and safety issues that all of us need to teach, learn, and understand especially with children. When the information that is being shared is false, meant to cause fear and disruption, is being used in a thuggish manner, that same tool becomes a means of causing fear, distrust, and can cause us to change our everyday routines in a negative direction, such as avoiding things that have a positive impact on our lives. We must take steps to take advantage of all the positive aspects of technology while limiting the effects of the negative.
Just last week this very scenario took place at Findlay High School. Rumors surrounding events that might take place in the future or already had happened at the school (as could happen at any school) grew to the point that the fear these unfounded stories spurred created an environment of unnecessary apprehension and disruption. Like the old game of "telephone", the more the stories are told the larger and more grandiose they become. With each new message they take on a life of their own morphing into many different rumors and becoming more and more difficult to keep in context. This only adds to the difficulty school administrators have trying to identify rumor vs. facts. At the end of the day, nothing happened and the rumors were just that, rumors.
Our biggest challenge, as educators, is how to teach young people the difference and help them understand both, the benefits and pitfalls of such a powerful media. It takes the combined efforts of our homes, schools, and community members to understand and not to under/over react to such a scenario. We all have the same goal; raising our children to be healthy, happy, intelligent, productive, and positive individuals. This is why providing a safe and secure educational environment where your children are able to learn and grow is Findlay City School’s top priority. Parents and community members can help us provide that environment for our students by not under/over reacting to these situations, report what you hear to the appropriate authorities (both at school, and/or police), trust those individuals to do their jobs putting together the pieces of the puzzle, and then take appropriate action. Please, understand that if there is an actual threat to the wellbeing of our students who are attending school, we will lock down, use our safety procedures, and/or close the school as needed (as we do when weather threatens). Our websites, email systems to parents, local radio stations, and our local newspaper will be informed and regularly updated. We are asking that you do not allow "false fears" to cause you or your child to avoid the daily activities in life that have positive impacts on our students and families.
Dr. Dean Wittwer, Superintendent and Mr. Craig Kupferberg, Assistant Superintendent
Findlay City Schools