Personal Email Accounts – BCS Meeting – April 5, 2007
It has come to the attention of the School Leadership Team at Reynolds High School, of which I am a member, that the county’s Technology Department has been directed to ban all personal email account usage for the next school year. The ban would affect teachers and students alike.
Many students and teachers are opposed to this proposal. Policy #646 currently states that students and staff should have access to electronic mail communication, among other technological components.
Many teachers and students use personal email accounts as a more effective and efficient alternative to school email accounts.
Teachers use personal email to participate in mailing lists that are vital to the enhancement of their classrooms.
Students use personal email accounts for a plethora of valid reasons. They save their research and documents for projects, including the senior project, on their email accounts. Students also use email at school to communicate with community experts for the interview portion of their senior projects, to communicate with teachers, and to turn in their work to Turnitin.com.
The public relations officer of my school’s student council does not have access to Internet at home. She uses her personal email at school to remind members of upcoming events and projects.
Offering BCSemail accounts to students would not be a logical solution if teachers would have to approve each message that a student sends. Teachers have expressed their concern that they would not have enough time to approve all students’ email. If there is a delay in approving messages, it could affect a senior’s eligibility to a scholarship and his or her completion of the senior project. If BCSemail is offered to students, the email should not have to be approved by teachers. Instead, allow the Technology Department to monitor the email in the same way that they monitor teachers’ email.
Schools must prepare students for the workforce and make students technologically competent. We need to make our students more globally competitive. If we expect our students to be proficient in a corporate and consumer world that is constantly increasing and improving the use of technology, we must allow students access to the resources that are at the very foundation of this system, including email. Some students do not have access to these resources at home. If the school board bans personal email accounts, the students who do not have Internet at home will suffer more than any other group of students.
The Internet is not going to go away, and I believe that these rules will cause more students to become disillusioned with school and just make them more likely to drop out. We would be doing a disservice to our students if this proposal was implemented. I realize that some students abuse their Internet privileges, but we should not punish all students collectively for a few students’ inappropriate actions.
I encourage you to think about the consequences this proposal will have if ratified.