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Parents voice concerns about technology during board of education meeting

Whitney+Davidson+was+one+of+13+parents+who+raised+concerns+about+the+one-to-one+digital+initiative+during+the+board+of+education+meeting+Nov.+26.+
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Parents voice concerns about technology during board of education meeting

Whitney Davidson was one of 13 parents who raised concerns about the one-to-one digital initiative during the board of education meeting Nov. 26.

Whitney Davidson was one of 13 parents who raised concerns about the one-to-one digital initiative during the board of education meeting Nov. 26.

Grace Altenhofen

Whitney Davidson was one of 13 parents who raised concerns about the one-to-one digital initiative during the board of education meeting Nov. 26.

Grace Altenhofen

Grace Altenhofen

Whitney Davidson was one of 13 parents who raised concerns about the one-to-one digital initiative during the board of education meeting Nov. 26.

Grace Altenhofen, Editor-in-Chief

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13 district parents voiced their concerns about technology use in elementary schools during the public comments section of the SMSD Board of Education meeting Nov. 26.

The parents, who have students in several elementary schools across the district, first realized that they shared similar concerns about the one-to-one digital initiative via social media.

“It was parents speaking out about what they believe and what their points are, social media kind of put us all together,” said Christine Brush, mother of a Brookwood Elementary student.

Brush spoke during the public comments section about the social implications of allowing students to be on their iPads during otherwise social times, like recess or before school. According to Adrienne Maples, mother of an East Antioch Elementary student, this is one of the major concerns felt by elementary school parents.

“The three questions that we’re really posing are: is this the best way for our children to learn, is this healthy for their brains, and what are we doing to protect them,” Maples said. “Those are really the three big questions that us as a group have come together that we want to ask the board. We want to know what’s being done.”

For Maples, the first problem she noticed with the devices was the potential for children to access inappropriate content.

“My concerns first arose when a neighborhood child was caught accessing porn on her student device,” Maples said. “That’s really when I first started paying attention to it.”

Recently, nine of the parents shared their concerns with Assistant Superintendent of Personalized Learning Christy Ziegler in a meeting. However, the group felt it was important to speak before the entire board of education.

“We were asked for one or two people to represent the group, but while we’re talking about the same initiative, we’re all talking about how it’s affecting our children and our schools separately,” said Erica Hoober, mother of a Belinder Elementary student. “I think it means more going in, it’s more powerful to have more voices.”

Superintendent Michael Fulton acknowledged the importance of technology in schools, but said that the district is looking to start a technology advisory group.

“We’re thankful to have the digital devices that are available to us for our students,” Fulton said during the board meeting. “We recognize that they’re great tools for learning, they need to be used appropriately, and very importantly, they also offer up the world of opportunity to our students 24/7.”

The advisory group was one of the three requests the parent group made during their speeches, which included: a comprehensive review of the one-to-one digital initiative, the creation of an advisory committee and the ability to leave devices at school overnight.

“We’re concerned about some of the pitfalls that haven’t been addressed,” Maples said. “Whenever you roll out something this large, I think it needs to be reviewed constantly. I think there should have been a review after the first year. We need more consent and more reviews.”

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Parents voice concerns about technology during board of education meeting