Dear Academy Families,
Our All School Meetings (ASM) are usually fabulous, and this week’s presentation of scenes from Romeo and Juliet by the drama upper-class elective hit that high mark. Unfortunately, however, I also had to share with our students a more serious concern as well.
We just learned that early in April one of our students had gone onto several university-sponsored Facebook pages for the Class of 2017 admitted students, and “trolled” by leaving increasingly offensive comments. I am sorry to report that a good part of our senior class and school community “Liked” or commented on this student’s Facebook page (where these trolling comments had been posted), encouraging broader trolling to more colleges.
We explained at ASM that what goes on a Facebook page (and what you “Like”) can haunt you for years to come, and have a negative impact on your reputation. We also stressed that misrepresenting yourself on social media is inappropriate, and that the Academy’s reputation is harmed as well. We are continuing extensive conversations with students about the dynamics of this incident, and will look for ways to broaden how our students understand the risks of social media. We would encourage you to have these conversations at home as well, especially in discussing how some “pranks” are hurtful and inappropriate…and just because this kind of social media behavior might be a rising cultural norm, it is not healthy or to be encouraged. That said
I look forward in the coming month to sharing more positive updates – on admissions, college placements, curricular work – and celebrating Commencement and year-end activities. While the Academy community is a kind and compassionate one, as a learning community also, not all lessons are equally happy.
James S. Berkman
Head of School