Staff Editorial: Social media ban curtails freedom


art by Shelby Yount
[dropcap color=”#” bgcolor=”#” sradius=”0″]E[/dropcap]very RBHS student knows about the tired “freedom with responsibility” slogan. Whether you are a freshman, bubbling with excitement at the thought of not needing a planner with a signature to go the bathroom, or a senior, who has heard teachers use the phrase over and over to justify punishments, one knows the saying well.
But just because this saying is familiar doesn’t mean it is untouchable.
Any student with an iPad knows about the new social media bans being imposed in an attempt to cut down on the myriad of distractions that come into the classroom with the expensive piece of technology. The school’s website shows the full, and not necessarily complete, list of banned apps. Though Twitter is still available, the list includes Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat.
If a student still tries to download one of these apps, the app store disappears, along with their camera, and the student must take the iPad to a Media Center specialist so they can fix it.
This ban obviously has good intentions: helping students to focus on school by limiting the iPad to its intended educational purpose. However, it completely undermines what every administrator at RBHS has fought so hard for.
RBHS has always been a school that prepares students for the so-called “real world” by expecting students to utilize AUTs and allowing them to learn how to use their time wisely, on their own. RBHS supplies students with activities and sports to join, on their own. RBHS allows upperclassmen to go off campus for lunch and expects them to figure out how to get their food and get back in time for class, on their own.
When we enter the workforce, our employers will expect the same things from us. They will allow us lunch breaks and expect that we can figure out how to get back to work on time. They will allow us to work on projects with minimal supervision and expect that we stay self-motivated and disciplined enough to work on the project effectively. They will allow us to have computers, laptops and iPads and expect that we use technology for their intended purposes.
Just because we are at a high school doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be held to these same standards of self-motivation and discipline. It is exactly what RBHS so fervently claims that our students do. So why are we being regulated so meticulously that we are not allowed to make our own time management decisions?
In the real world environment that RBHS seeks to create, if we didn’t use our time effectively and didn’t get our work done, we would simply be fired. RBHS should allow the same free will. If you do your work and get good grades, then you should be able to have whatever you want on your iPad just as you would at a job. If you don’t get your work done and get bad grades, then you shouldn’t be trusted with an iPad because you haven’t matured enough.
At a school where “freedom with responsibility” reigns, privileges shouldn’t be taken away until after they have been abused. If you are making solid A’s, why shouldn’t you be allowed a Facebook break at the end of class?
Also, the argument that these apps are potentially dangerous or harmful fails. Anything on the internet can be used incorrectly and potentially harmfully. If the district allows students to use technology with Internet, there is always a possibility that they will do something bad.
Of course it is good that pornographic sites are blocked; anything that has the clear intent to put students in an inappropriate situation — shall we say Tinder? But social media does not fall under this category, yet it is suddenly taken from us.
So what happens when the school does not stand by the moral that they often preach? In a perfect world, students would remind administration of this school’s foundation.

This year a chunk of our freedom has been chipped away, and while students have grumbled, there has been no effort to create a dialogue between the administration and the student body to address the issue and find a solution that works for everyone. ”

Every student needs to fight to voice their opinions. The student body must demand that the school includes them in decisions that will affect them and potentially limit their freedom. Students must be able to vote on issues that are pertinent to our lives.
If programs like Student Coalition were actually utilized and there were committees that connected students with administrators when decisions are being made, our concerns could be voiced. Student Coalition is dying, but isn’t dead. To effectively make change, every student needs to show up to the next Student Coalition meeting. With this sort of revival, the administrators can’t ignore us.
Maybe we wouldn’t win every war, but at least our freedoms could be as greatly preserved as possible. Just because we only have a few more years here doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to keep RBHS as free as it was the day we walked in.[vc_empty_space]
[vc_empty_space][vc_text_separator title=”Read more coverage on social media use” color=”green” border_width=”10″][vc_empty_space][vc_basic_grid post_type=”post” max_items=”4″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1451790266012-67e01081-7a02-5″ taxonomies=”1262″]