When Albuquerque Public Schools switched to virtual learning because of COVID-19 restrictions, students were given access to a multitude of tech tools to help them stay connected to their schools. However, some of those tools are not always being used properly. Google Chat, Spaces, and Meet allow students to communicate with teachers and peers, but sometimes the chatter on the sites turn nasty with the use of foul, sexist and racist language.
The use of such language is a violation of APS policy, which states that students are expected “to use social networking in a responsible, ethical and polite manner. Not doing so could result in discipline.”
While parents can peruse those conversations, the issue is not exclusive to APS accounts or devices. Across the social media world, students engage in nefarious activity, sometimes using anonymous handles or third-party accounts, making it difficult for parents to keep up with all the chatter. Parents, teachers, staff or students who come across the offensive chatter have options to report it.
When it comes to bullying, the “APS 2021-2022 Handbook for student success” states that all incidents of bullying must be reported, including cyber-bullying. On page 47 of the handbook it states, “Anyone who sees or hears of a bullying incident must report the incident,” but the handbook does not say how the incident should be reported. One solution is to report the incident anonymously.
The McKinley Middle School website encourages students and others to report anything that does not look right at 505-750-7599. The notice on the website asks students to text information or screenshots of social media postings, stating that, “Your identity will be completely anonymous.” Anonymous reports can also be made to Crime Stoppers at 505-843-STOP. To call APS police, dial 505-243-7712.
Anyone making a false report can be disciplined by APS or face criminal charges.