SCHOOL DISTRICT CENSORSHIP? Palm Beach County Updating Student Social Media Rules

palm beach county social media schools

PROPOSED: Students To Be Disciplined If Social Media Posting Affects School.

COVID-19 Reports Could Do Just That.

WORKING COPY OF ELEMENTARY STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT FOR PALM BEACH COUNTY, 2020-2021. SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP INCLUDED.

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — A new proposal could lead to discipline for Palm Beach County School Students who report COVID-19 issues to social media, leading to the closure of a school. The proposed policy is in direct conflict with statements made to BocaNewsNow.com by several senior-level school district officials who guaranteed that students would be encouraged to “see something” and “say something” without fear of punishment.

BocaNewsNow.com was assured that students would not be disciplined for reporting COVID-19 violations. The comments were made days after school leaders in Georgia were chastised for suspending a high school student whose photo of unmasked students en masse went viral. The high school student was “unsuspended” as national media reported the story — and part of the student body was placed in quarantine for a COVID-19 outbreak.

Palm Beach County School District officials told BocaNewsNow.com that they had no desire to be “embarrassed” by the same events taking place here.


But BocaNewsNow.com Sunday obtained a copy of a working Palm Beach County School District document that includes new rules and regulations for students. Included in the guide is this language:


“If the use or posting to a social media site creates a substantial and material disruption on a school campus, regardless of time or location while posting to a social media site, students will be subject to the behavioral standards set forth in the Student Code of Conduct.”


“If the use or posting to a social media site creates a substantial and material disruption on a school campus, regardless of time or location while posting to a social media site, students will be subject to the behavioral standards set forth in the Student Code of Conduct.”


The problem: reporting positive COVID-19 tests, a lack of social distancing or other CDC and Palm Beach County violations could — and arguably should — result in material disruption of a school campus.

While it is unclear if the language is designed for COVID-19 purposes, it is a concern that the School District is considering student censorship. It’s one thing to discipline for making a threat of violence on social media, it’s something else to discipline if a student reports concerns and legitimate violations.

The Palm Beach County School Board is set to review the language during its September 9th meeting.

BocaNewsNow.com encourages students to report COVID-19 safety violations to teachers and parents. If those complaints and concerns aren’t remedied, let us know. We have a “school reporting” tip center set up. You can reach it by clicking here.


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