School Districts Vary on Social Media Use

Lauren Williams's picture
Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In less than three years, the Basehor-Linwood school district’s Facebook page has amassed more than 1,000 “likes,” one for every two students in its buildings. But a few miles away, in Bonner Springs, there is no district Facebook page to be found.

In De Soto schools, students and teachers can’t access Facebook sites from school computers, but in Baldwin City, Facebook not only is freely accessible, but teachers use it to keep students posted on their assignments.

As some school districts dive head first into the social-media pool — adopting tools such as Facebook and Twitter to reach more parents, patrons and students — others have dipped only a toe into the water or stayed out completely. Facebook-friendly school officials say social media sites are a vital way to communicate with as many people as possible, while others say such tools present too big a risk and would require time and resources they don’t have.

“I have a personal bias in that I see a lot of people who spend a whole lot of time on Facebook when they could probably be spending their time in ways that are more educationally sound,” said Robert VanMaren, superintendent of the Bonner Springs-Edwardsville school district, which does not have a presence on Facebook or Twitter (although its high school alumni association does).

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