You don't need to be a parent or grandparent of a school-age kid to know that school is no longer just about reading, writing and arithmetic. These days, kids face some truly frightening threats.
Let's face it, there is plenty to worry about when we drop our kids off at the school bus. Whether it's being bullied by other students or inappropriately approached by a teacher, kids today have to dodge real dangers in school.
Not only bullying and bad teachers, but we've all heard about worse incidents in schools, much worse. There are school shootings and even on-campus suicides.
While it's uncomfortable to talk about this or even think it, it's a reality we must face. Which is one reason the Orange County Public Schools district in Florida has launched a controversial and pricey new surveillance program.
For $14,000 a year, the Orange County schools joined a few other school districts around the country that watch students' and teachers' social media posts. They're employing a company called Snaptrends to track social media activity.
It's meant to protect our kids. (See how schools in Illinois are keeping tabs on students' social media behavior.)
Which may be a good thing if Snaptrends works as described. Which is just to monitor what kids and teachers are posting onto public websites. These aren't secret conversations.
Snaptrends analyzes social media for what it calls actionable activity. For example, if they suddenly see a spike in bullying language directed toward a kid, the school district and local authorities can intervene.
But Orange County's initiative is also raising red flags for parents concerned about online privacy. And it has some taxpayers concerned that $14,000 could be better spent elsewhere.
So, tell us below, what do you think about school districts monitoring students' and teachers' social media posts? Good idea?