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Social media posts on personal websites led to the placement of seventy-two Philadelphia officers on desk duty. This raises many questions, but also offers lessons that we can share with our students.
This NPR article provides all the details: 72 Philadelphia Police Officers Are Placed on Desk Duty for Offensive Social Media Posts
These are some questions that you can ask your students to help you discuss this topic:
Police officers and other criminal justice professionals should have social media accounts. Why or why not?
Is this infringing on the officer’s right to first amendment?
Should police/judges/correctional officers/etc., be held to different standards than those in other careers?
All of these should lead to productive conversation. However, I believe the most important lesson for our students is their PERSONAL accounts.
Activities On Social Media Awareness
Students can work in pairs or groups to examine each other’s social media accounts and see if there are any posts that could cause problems if they were law enforcement officers.
Students should examine their OWN social media accounts to see if there are any questions or things that could be taken out of context.
Have students look at the right and wrong of social media accounts that are not legitimate.
Remind students that all social media accounts can be accessed: Snapchat and Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
All examples can be viewed differently by different people. It is important to discuss the examples AS A GROUP to allow students to begin to see how different people can view the same thing.
Discuss these posts:
Pictures of young people drinking
Multiple negative social media posts were made on the same account.
You shouldn’t share too much about your private life on social media.
Political use of social media by politicians
Additional Resources
Cops from all over the country are posting racist and violent comments on Facebook
The Plain View project
Ten Things You Should Never Share on Social Media

By Delilah