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MCPS To Start ‘Cybercivility’ Task Force

By Aaron Kraut

Tuesday - 2/11/2014, 4:10pm  ET

Joshua Starr Twitter

In December, a number of students allegedly cursed out and threatened MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr on Twitter over a snow day.

Now, the school system is looking for applicants for a Cybercivility Task Force that it hopes will raise awareness and create ways for schools and parents to curb mean tweets, Facebook posts and other internet activity.

Starr wrote an open letter to all MCPS parents encouraging them to be aware of what their children were doing on internet social networks. Starr claimed some of the Tweets directed at his very active Twitter account in the week of Dec. 9 contained racial epithets and curse words and some threatened him and his family.

Most tweets expressed the desire for a snow day during a patch of wintry weather.

Any inflammatory tweets had apparently already been scrubbed, but at the time Starr said school officials were notified and penalties dished out.

“The Cybercivility Task Force will be a critical resource in our ongoing efforts to help our students understand how to use technology and social media appropriately,” Starr said in a MCPS press release.  ”This work isn’t easy, but it is my hope that we can help school communities and families talk about how to use social media in positive and productive ways.”

MCPS is looking for parents, students, staff and community members to be part of the task force. It will meet once a month and members are expected to meet in smaller groups throughout.

The task force will start in March and work until August.

Those who want to be in the group can do an online application. The deadline is 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 24 and those selected will be notified by Monday, March 3. Among other questions, the application asks, “What does Cybercivility mean to you?”

Image via Twitter