For the third year, Edmond Public Schools has invited Edmond police officers to speak to students about the dangers and consequences of irresponsible electronic communication.
Officers will visit the district’s six middle schools the week of Oct. 5-9 to teach students about their digital footprint, how to responsibly report any safety concerns they view on social media and the repercussions of posting or reposting false information.
Edmond’s “Think Before you Post” campaign mirrors the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s campaign, which launched after the FBI experienced a spike in hoax threats in the aftermath of the deadly shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“Police officers will help students understand how to distinguish between what information to share, with whom to share it and why posting or reposting erroneous information can have serious consequences,” said Associate Superintendent Debbie Bendick.
According to the FBI, issuing a threat – over social media, via text message, or through e-mail – is a federal crime (threatening interstate communications). Those who post or send these threats can receive up to five years in federal prison, or they can face state or local charges.
“Many kids have a false sense of security when they’re behind a keyboard. Our goal is to help these students understand that their actions online could hold the possibility of criminal charges,” said School Resource Officer Lieutenant Brent Clowers
Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about the appropriate use of their personal devices and social media tools and apps available to them.
“We take very seriously the safety of our students and hope that our continued commitment to this initiative enhances the partnership we enjoy with our students’ parents as we work together to protect them,” Bendick said.