School Board Cybertraps 102

  • Some recent examples of school board cybertraps

  • AZ – Google Drive with “dossiers” on parents
    • Great example of a classic cybertrap – unintended disclosure of Google Drive URL
  • CA – Board president arrested for possession of child pornography

  • MA – Hostile text messages

  • NJ – Anti-Muslim Facebook posts

  • TX – Alleged “doxxing” of parents

  • VT – Sharing of sexist and racist memes

  • WA – Transphobic comments by board member

  • CA – School board mocks parents during COVID, entire board resigned

  • Issues Raised

  • Relationship with Constituents
    • Most boards have policies requiring board members to treat the public with dignity and respect.
  • Relationship with Educators and Staff
    • Criticism of specific individuals is highly inappropriate, given board’s role in disciplinary proceedings
  • First Amendment Issues
    • Board members have greater protection than school employees because of political process
    • At the same time, the social media comments of public officials are subject to greater scrutiny
    • Tension between supporting legally-adopted district policies and free speech
  • Public Records Obligations
    • Board members should maintain a clear boundary between personal and board resources (i.e., devices, accounts, etc.)
    • Regardless of what platform or service is used, public officials have a duty to preserve communications regarding official business
  • Understanding How Technology Works
    • Privacy Settings
    • Retweets and re-sharing inevitably will be seen as endorsements
  • Discipline of Board Members
    • Can a board remove one of its members?
    • Generally, no.
    • However, board may take other actions, including:
      • Censure
      • Removal from positions of leadership
    • Even criminal arrest and conviction is not grounds for removal from office
    • However, access restrictions can be put in place
  • Misuse of School Resources
    • Misconduct involving the use of school resources may raise legal issues for the district and possible criminal consequences for board member
  • Cybertraps of Family Members
    • Generally not a legal concern for board members
    • May pose political liability
  • Resources

– #2021–12–08 Protesters demand Salem-Keizer board member Danielle Bethell resign after Facebook post
“https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/education/2021/12/08/salem-keizer-lus-protesters-call-resignation-danielle-bethell-school-board-county-commission/6426974001/”
– #2021–12–06 Parents demand Hispanic Fort Worth school board member be fired after she ‘doxxed’ white parents who sued over COVID mask mandate and left abusive voicemails for one mother
“https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article–10280653/Hispanic-Fort-Worth-school-board-member-admits-doxxing-parents-sued-COVID-mask-mandate.html”
– #2021–12–02 Scottsdale Police determine no criminal conduct committed by school board member
“https://ktar.com/story/4792525/scottsdale-police-determine-no-criminal-conduct-committed-by-school-board-member/”
– #2021–11–09 The Greenburg files: Is there a file on you?
“https://www.yourvalley.net/stories/the-greenburg-files-is-there-a-file-on-you,270628”
– #2021–06–07 After sharing racially charged texts about West Roxbury families in October, a Boston school official has resigned
“https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/06/07/metro/boston-appears-have-illegally-withheld-inappropriate-texts-after-career-ending-school-committee-meeting/”](<Show Notes

  • Some recent examples of school board cybertraps

  • AZ – Google Drive with “dossiers” on parents
    • Great example of a classic cybertrap – unintended disclosure of Google Drive URL
  • CA – Board president arrested for possession of child pornography

  • MA – Hostile text messages about parents during public meeting

  • NJ – Anti-Muslim Facebook posts

  • TX – Alleged “doxxing” of parents

  • VT – Sharing of sexist and racist memes

  • WA – Transphobic comments by board member

  • Ethics Quote from Stephen M.R. Covey’s Speed of Trust

  • The problem in organizations, however, is that many “ethics” solutions focus on compliance. The compliance definition of “ethics” is not one of integrity or integratedness; it is a watered-down, devalued definition that essentially means “follow the rules.” Ethics training, therefore, is often focused exclusively on conformity to Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulatory and rules-based legislation—and not on clarifying values and fostering integrity to those values and to enduring principles. As a result, companies have huge, complex policy manuals. In addition, people can be duplicitous or even brutal in how they treat others, but unless they’re caught fudging on an expense account or violating some other measurable rule, as long as they’re getting results, most companies typically won’t do anything about it.

  • The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything (p. 63). Free Press. Kindle Edition.

  • Issues Raised

  • Relationship with Constituents
    • Most boards have policies requiring board members to treat the public with dignity and respect.
  • Relationship with Educators and Staff
    • Criticism of specific individuals is highly inappropriate, given board’s role in disciplinary proceedings
  • First Amendment Issues
    • Board members have greater protection than school employees because of political process
    • At the same time, the social media comments of public officials are subject to greater scrutiny
    • Tension between supporting legally-adopted district policies and free speech
  • Public Records Obligations
    • Board members should maintain a clear boundary between personal and board resources (i.e., devices, accounts, etc.)
    • Regardless of what platform or service is used, public officials have a duty to preserve communications regarding official business
  • Understanding How Technology Works
    • Privacy Settings
    • Retweets and re-sharing inevitably will be seen as endorsements
  • Discipline of Board Members
    • Can a board remove one of its members?
    • Generally, no.
    • However, board may take other actions, including:
      • Censure
      • Removal from positions of leadership
    • Even criminal arrest and conviction is not grounds for removal from office
    • However, access restrictions can be put in place
  • Misuse of School Resources
    • Misconduct involving the use of school resources may raise legal issues for the district and possible criminal consequences for board member
  • Cybertraps of Family Members
    • Generally not a legal concern for board members
    • May pose political liability
  • Resources

– #2021–12–08 Protesters demand Salem-Keizer board member Danielle Bethell resign after Facebook post
“https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/education/2021/12/08/salem-keizer-lus-protesters-call-resignation-danielle-bethell-school-board-county-commission/6426974001/”
– #2021–12–06 Parents demand Hispanic Fort Worth school board member be fired after she ‘doxxed’ white parents who sued over COVID mask mandate and left abusive voicemails for one mother
“https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article–10280653/Hispanic-Fort-Worth-school-board-member-admits-doxxing-parents-sued-COVID-mask-mandate.html”
– #2021–12–02 Scottsdale Police determine no criminal conduct committed by school board member
“https://ktar.com/story/4792525/scottsdale-police-determine-no-criminal-conduct-committed-by-school-board-member/”
– #2021–11–09 The Greenburg files: Is there a file on you?
“https://www.yourvalley.net/stories/the-greenburg-files-is-there-a-file-on-you,270628”
– #2021–06–07 After sharing racially charged texts about West Roxbury families in October, a Boston school official has resigned
“https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/06/07/metro/boston-appears-have-illegally-withheld-inappropriate-texts-after-career-ending-school-committee-meeting/”
– #2021–02–19 Entire California school board out after disparaging parents on accidental Zoom broadcast
“https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/california-school-board-members-caught-disparaging-parents-accidental-zoom-broadcast-n1258351”
– #2016–11–11 Burlington School Board Rips Member’s Racist, Sexist Posts
“https://www.wamc.org/new-england-news/2016–11–11/burlington-school-board-rips-members-racist-sexist-posts”
– #2010–09–20 Utah Board member censured for making disparaging remarks toward an employee
“https://www.deseret.com/2011/9/21/20387657/member-of-canyons-school-district-board-of-education-member-issued-censure-by-fellow-board-members](<Show Notes

  • Some recent examples of school board cybertraps

  • AZ – Google Drive with “dossiers” on parents
    • Great example of a classic cybertrap – unintended disclosure of Google Drive URL
  • CA – Board president arrested for possession of child pornography

  • MA – Hostile text messages about parents during public meeting

  • NJ – Anti-Muslim Facebook posts

  • TX – Alleged “doxxing” of parents

  • VT – Sharing of sexist and racist memes

  • WA – Transphobic comments by board member

  • Ethics Quote from Stephen M.R. Covey’s Speed of Trust

  • The problem in organizations, however, is that many “ethics” solutions focus on compliance. The compliance definition of “ethics” is not one of integrity or integratedness; it is a watered-down, devalued definition that essentially means “follow the rules.” Ethics training, therefore, is often focused exclusively on conformity to Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulatory and rules-based legislation—and not on clarifying values and fostering integrity to those values and to enduring principles. As a result, companies have huge, complex policy manuals. In addition, people can be duplicitous or even brutal in how they treat others, but unless they’re caught fudging on an expense account or violating some other measurable rule, as long as they’re getting results, most companies typically won’t do anything about it.

  • The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything (p. 63). Free Press. Kindle Edition.

  • Issues Raised

  • Relationship with Constituents
    • Most boards have policies requiring board members to treat the public with dignity and respect.
  • Relationship with Educators and Staff
    • Criticism of specific individuals is highly inappropriate, given board’s role in disciplinary proceedings
  • First Amendment Issues
    • Board members have greater protection than school employees because of political process
    • At the same time, the social media comments of public officials are subject to greater scrutiny
    • Tension between supporting legally-adopted district policies and free speech
  • Public Records Obligations
    • Board members should maintain a clear boundary between personal and board resources (i.e., devices, accounts, etc.)
    • Regardless of what platform or service is used, public officials have a duty to preserve communications regarding official business
  • Understanding How Technology Works
    • Privacy Settings
    • Retweets and re-sharing inevitably will be seen as endorsements
  • Discipline of Board Members
    • Can a board remove one of its members?
    • Generally, no.
    • However, board may take other actions, including:
      • Censure
      • Removal from positions of leadership
    • Even criminal arrest and conviction is not grounds for removal from office
    • However, access restrictions can be put in place
  • Misuse of School Resources
    • Misconduct involving the use of school resources may raise legal issues for the district and possible criminal consequences for board member
  • Cybertraps of Family Members
    • Generally not a legal concern for board members
    • May pose political liability
  • Resources

– #2021–12–08 Protesters demand Salem-Keizer board member Danielle Bethell resign after Facebook post
“https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/education/2021/12/08/salem-keizer-lus-protesters-call-resignation-danielle-bethell-school-board-county-commission/6426974001/”
– #2021–12–06 Parents demand Hispanic Fort Worth school board member be fired after she ‘doxxed’ white parents who sued over COVID mask mandate and left abusive voicemails for one mother
“https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article–10280653/Hispanic-Fort-Worth-school-board-member-admits-doxxing-parents-sued-COVID-mask-mandate.html”
– #2021–12–02 Scottsdale Police determine no criminal conduct committed by school board member
“https://ktar.com/story/4792525/scottsdale-police-determine-no-criminal-conduct-committed-by-school-board-member/”
– #2021–11–09 The Greenburg files: Is there a file on you?
“https://www.yourvalley.net/stories/the-greenburg-files-is-there-a-file-on-you,270628”
– #2021–06–07 After sharing racially charged texts about West Roxbury families in October, a Boston school official has resigned
“https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/06/07/metro/boston-appears-have-illegally-withheld-inappropriate-texts-after-career-ending-school-committee-meeting/”
– #2021–02–19 Entire California school board out after disparaging parents on accidental Zoom broadcast
“https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/california-school-board-members-caught-disparaging-parents-accidental-zoom-broadcast-n1258351”
– #2016–11–11 Burlington School Board Rips Member’s Racist, Sexist Posts
“https://www.wamc.org/new-england-news/2016–11–11/burlington-school-board-rips-members-racist-sexist-posts”
– #2010–09–20 Utah Board member censured for making disparaging remarks toward an employee
“https://www.deseret.com/2011/9/21/20387657/member-of-canyons-school-district-board-of-education-member-issued-censure-by-fellow-board-members

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