Editorial: Another school incident, we’ve got to do better with online posting

Published 9:53 am Thursday, February 16, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

I’m glad I grew up in the 60s and 70s, and not these days.

Nowadays, everybody’s watching.

To make it worse, we’ve handed all of our children devices that instantly connect them to the world.
And we did these even before we learned how to properly use them.

I’m not talking about the technology; there’s plenty of smart people who now how to maneuver the technology. It’s how we use that technology. It’s what we post online. It’s the reasons we post things online. It’s the results we expect when we post something online. We’re looking for validation of our own opinions, for ways to sway someone else’s opinion, and way too often, just like to stir things up.

The internet, it seems, has made us all experts.

At everything.

All the time.

We’re setting a bad example for our kids here, folks.

We’re not experts.

At much of anything.

At any time.

But isn’t it fun to watch those videos of people doing stupid things? I’m not proud, but I’ve watched some of those myself. It’s fun. It makes us feel better about ourselves when we watch others do stupid things.

Most of us did plenty of stupid things back in our younger days, not to mention the decisions we made yesterday. Imagine if there was a camera recording every stupid thing you had ever done? We’re not that far from that being reality. Our young people should legitimately expect that.

With the way we use social media, it’s no wonder that our young people relish posting themselves doing stupid things.

It happened last week at Davie High, when a 17-year-old student posted a video on Snapchat. He was in the Davie High parking lot, after school hours, with an Airsoft gun (These guns are designed for sport or training, and shoot non-lethal plastic pellets.). He said the video was shot months ago, but he just posted it online.

Uh oh.

School administration got wind of the posting. The sheriff’s department got wind of the posting. As a result, the young man was charged via juvenile petition with bringing a weapon onto school property. With a zero weapons policy, they had no choice but to issue the petition. Sheriff J.D. Hartman said the law specifically mentions Airsoft guns. Many of them look like guns that shoot lethal ammunition.

Hartman says he advises all of his officers to assume that every interaction they have with every person is being recorded by someone, if not themselves. That’s some pretty good advice.

We’re to blame here. It shouldn’t be cool to post something online that is illegal or dangerous. But that’s exactly what happened here.

This young man, in addition to the criminal charges for which we hope the penalty is minimal, was suspended from school.

All for posting a video online.

I’m just glad there wasn’t a cell phone recording what happened in Mrs. Sparks’ science class back in 1976 at Davie High School. I just made that up, but I’ll bet there were dozens of instances where people would be appalled these days from the shenanigans of young people back then. But you’ll never know. There were no smart phones.

My advice: put that smart phone down for a day each week, or at least a few hours for one day. Noone is going to miss what you had for lunch, or your opinion on the latest post.

– Mike Barnhardt