Stop. Take a deep breath. Get your facts straight.

A few days ago, I wrote a post about an article that was circulating around the EduBlogoSphere about a principal supposedly banning blogging. When I wrote the article, I had not seen the post on Boing Boing with the principal’s reply. However, the article didn’t make much sense to me so I decided to check it out for myself. I sent an email to Principal Sousa, and here is his response:

Thank you for your very nice email. I am trying to put much of this behind me due to the large numbers of emails, not all positive, that I have received lately. While I was not pleased with some of the early emails, I eventually got some very good feedback on my decision and some useful advice on education and blogging.

As you have surmised I was misquoted in the article. I do believe that technology is vital in the education of our children today. I do see an educational value to the Internet and the means it provides for people to communicate. I further agree that blogging is a valuable means of communicating.

The article that was published did not clearly state what was going on here at our school. It was a very brief article and in the paper’s defense it was not a feature article; merely a small side segment. I do not think it was intended to attract so much attention.

There was only one website blocked from school computers and the reasons range from its use as a method of harassment to personal information distribution. We have taken steps to educate our students and staff on acceptable use of our resources as well as how exciting and beneficial technology and the Internet can be. We do however owe a duty to our students and their families to help them use this technology wisely, and I will not apologize for watching out for the well being of our young children and their safety.

It is a difficult balance between what public education can use to assist in educating our youth, but rest assured we are doing our best and no decision has been made rashly or without thought to consequence. We are teaching our children to be responsible, but there are still some channels that as adults we need to turn off.

On the upside, this situation has led our technology committee to look into hosting our own in-house blogging site for student and teacher use. Overall we are trying to turn something positive out of all this. Feel free to quote portions of my email. Thank you for your understanding.

Bravo. To be honest, I feel bad for him. Hundreds of bloggers read the newspaper article and immediately went on the attack. It was a knee jerk response to something that quite simply was not true. The truly ironic thing is that bloggers were criticizing the principal for instituting a knee jerk response to blogging because of one site.

I did a few quick searches through Google and Technorati to see if any of these people that went on the attack retracted their statements or apologized for coming down so hard on him. Thankfully there were a few people who did. But what really gets to me is how quickly the entire situation blew out of proportion.

EduBloggers are constantly preaching about the importance of 21st Century skills. In this age of blogs, wikis, and podcasts, anybody can publish without a shred of editing or fact checking occurring. We stress how important it is that students be skeptical of what they are reading and verify the information for themselves from multiple sources. If a student made the same mistake, we’d probably jump down their throat and use them as an example for the wrong way to do research.

Now more than ever, it’s imperative that bloggers, especially edubloggers, take a deep breath before they go on the attack. It only takes a few minutes to look up someone’s email address and to get the facts straight for yourself. It is much easier to damage one’s reputation than to repair it.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m filing this story away for when I teach students about researching.

By | 2005-04-13T08:08:23+00:00 April 13th, 2005|Musings|Comments Off on Stop. Take a deep breath. Get your facts straight.

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