Coweta County Schools Superintendent Letter Regarding Social Media Threats
From Special Reports
The letter below is from Coweta County Schools Superintendent Evan Horton discussing what he terms as a “serious problem facing many of our schools in recent months.”
Dec. 14, 2021
Dear Coweta County Students and Parents,
As we conclude our first semester this week, I write to discuss a serious problem facing many of our schools in recent months, and to ask for your help. During this semester, several of our schools have experienced anonymous threats, often made online, and other disruptions like the viral Tiktok “challenges” that affected our middle and high schools.
These events tend to have three things in common. First, they can be highly disruptive to the school day and to the work of students and teachers. Second, they are often inspired by, and delivered and magnified by, various social media platforms. And third, in the majority of cases, the students who participate in them are identified by school or law enforcement authorities and end up facing serious legal, disciplinary and even financial consequences. These consequences can follow students and their families for years to come, and can seriously jeopardize their future plans.
I know that most students are not responsible for these acts. In my conversations with many of you I find that the vast majority of students, parents and school employees are grateful for a return to a more normal school experience after a year and a half of worry over COVID-19, and are frustrated by these disruptions. We need your help, however, to establish a culture of greater responsibility over social media and the way it affects our schools.
Parents, please talk with your students about the seriousness of what they see and post online. Please be sure that they understand – as most do – that the likelihood of being caught is high, and the consequences severe. Even when students think of their acts as pranks, others do not. Their words and actions will be taken seriously.
Students, please refrain from abusing social media or falling for the notion that these sorts of acts won’t have consequences. Anonymous threats and social media pranks jeopardize the futures of those who participate in them. They disrupt your hard work, and wear thin on our community’s sense of security and our desire for greater civility and normalcy in daily life.
I want to thank you for your continued support of our schools. I also want to wish each of you a happy and restful holiday. I hope you and your families enjoy this time of celebration and a well-deserved holiday break.
Evan Horton, Superintendent
Coweta County School System