Messages from the Superintendent

 “Verify it! Before Repeating or Reposting it!”

I have recently developed a love-hate relationship with social media. I love that it allows me to connect with my relatives across the world and I love that it allows me to share stories and pictures of the great things happening within our schools. But, I hate that other people use social media to spread false information and I hate that people often believe that information without verifying that it is true.

Case in point, a State Senator recently shared information on the legislative floor which originated from a false rumor being spread by a private Facebook group. The Senator later apologized. He did not realize that the information was false. The frustrating thing is that he did not check his facts before sharing that information and thanks to his comments, made headlines across the nation.

How did we get to the point where people can say anything they want without any repercussions–even if it damages the reputation of others? And, more importantly, how do we get to the point where this is no longer tolerated?

At Norfolk Public Schools, we teach our students to verify information before repeating it or reposting it. For example, if you go to Snopes.com and search for “furries” or “litter-boxes in schools,” you will find the following information: “Snopes has not yet been able to find any evidence to corroborate the claim that a school or schools in Midland, Michigan, have accommodated students adopting a feline alter ego by placing litter boxes in bathrooms. The person most prominently responsible for making that claim — a local woman named L.H. — did not provide any such evidence to Snopes when we asked her for it.” Yet, this false rumor that started in Midland, Michigan has spread across our nation, with varying details, causing damage to school reputations and wasting the time of school officials.  

Please, verify information before believing it, repeating it, or reposting it!

Respectfully,

Dr. Jami Jo Thompson

Superintendent, Norfolk Public Schools