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  • Jake Engelberg

Setting an Example as a School on Social Media

As demonstrations continue across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, many schools have taken to social media to express solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. This stands as an example for how schools can use their platform for good, but it shouldn’t only happen in times of crisis!


As leaders in many communities, schools can help set the cultural standard and encourage positive change. This is something that should be the norm, as communities need guidance now more than ever! Below are some ways in which schools can make an impact by making their voices heard on social media.


Strengthening Community


Simply put, schools can use their social media presence to strengthen their community. By clearly sharing beliefs with students and families, schools open the door to community members to identify with (or at the very least discuss) these values.


Also, if the school expresses their values more openly, it creates a more vulnerable school community, one where every member can feel closer and safer discussing their ideas. After all, the primary responsibility of a school is about learning. If a school is willing to discuss these topics on social media, it allows the courageous conversations to take place that form learning experiences. These conversations can really help strengthen the community by bringing people together to be honest with each other and have important discussions.


Share School Values


If a school is open about their values and strives to share them, they’ll be more likely to inspire students to adopt them. This will have a positive impact in two ways. First, schools will be fostering a more welcoming and safe environment for their students. Second, they’ll be contributing to positive change in society as a whole!


Schools are supposed to make their students better people, and that can only happen by teaching them proper values and providing them with a strong moral compass. An example of this could be the Jesuit Schools Network: Jesuit schools strongly promote service for others, and after graduation or college many alumni of Jesuit high schools join the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.


Promote Difficult Conversations


Often conversations about injustices in the world are very serious and difficult conversations to have. Because of this, people sometimes find it better to ignore them entirely. A school that is willing to share it’s views on difficult topics is a school in which difficult conversations are welcome.


If a school is willing to engage people in a discourse of values, it can help facilitate these difficult, but necessary, discussions. Schools have a responsibility to educate and hold a good example in the community and being a host for the difficult conversations is a stepping stone to that.


Being Proactive in Schools’ Responses


By being proactive about responding to injustices across the world, schools can avoid criticism when those issues come up. While many schools are currently publicly stating that they will strive to do more to spread diversity and inclusion, this shouldn’t just happen in times of crisis. In the past, schools could have been more proactive and done this on their own initiative.


Being proactive is a smart strategy for schools because, by making their values clear, it can help them avoid future criticism. For example, over the past few weeks many institutions have posted support on their social media feeds for the Black Lives Matter movement. Many of these institutions have been criticized for “performance allyship,” which is to say the audience doesn’t believe their support is authentic. One way to avoid this is to be proactive in supporting such issues before they make their way into the awareness of the public. Of course, you can not fake authenticity - so you must ensure that you are backing up your words with action.


Conclusion


As leaders in most communities, schools have the opportunity to set the tone for positive change. Social media can play a huge part in this. Examples of ways schools can stand up to systemic racism is by celebrating black leaders in their community or by highlighting groups in the school community that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Whether it is making Instagram or Facebook posts to strengthen the community, share their school values, promote courageous conversations, or be proactive about responding to injustices, schools can and should be active on social media about what they value.


- Jake


Jake Engelberg is a blog writer at Gipper. Gipper is a platform that helps high school athletic departments create professional sports graphics for social media - in seconds, on any device, and without needing any design experience.

Learn more @ gogipper.com/athletics

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