Social media helps us all stay connected, but it also creates an environment where one careless comment can have unintended consequences.
A few weeks ago, an Anderson Community Schools employee learned this lesson after posting an insensitive comment, seemingly directed at a grieving father, using the term “white trash.” The comment was made even more inflammatory due to the fact that the recently deceased youth had been a student in the school system where the commenter worked.
The ACS employee was suspended for two weeks without pay and has since returned to work, but supporters of the bereaved family spoke up at a school board meeting to say that this is not enough and that the employee should be fired.
While it is important that the employee be reprimanded for such a comment, we find it to be more important that this incident be a learning experience for the entire school system.
ACS should make a clear policy on social media use for its employees, so that the administration can act promptly in the case of future incidents such as this.
What happens on social media is typically in full view of the public, which can be a blessing or a curse.
Most likely, the consequences for this employee are far from over. She is known throughout the community as the person who insulted a grieving father, and this blot on her reputation is likely to last for at least the remainder of her career at ACS.
This incident may also have consequences for members of the school board, as one person said in the board meeting, “It’s time to get out and vote and know who they are.”