PTA all for new Huntsville social media procedure, monitoring

Published: Feb. 29, 2016 at 10:29 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 28, 2016 at 9:54 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The Huntsville City Schools PTA president is on board with the district's new social media monitoring procedure.

Huntsville Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski announced the change over the weekend less than 48 hours after our special report  that dug into the small amount of incidents referred to law enforcement.

48 Investigates: State has questions for HCS, MCS over school incident numbers

Wardynski said the new rules are in place to address recent violent events that have happened including this fight at Grissom High School.

"Where a student is on our radar because of something they've said, something we've learned on a tip, prior behavior, we're going to paying attention
to social media," said Wardynski.

The change was implemented over the weekend.

"There has been a set of incidents recently that reinforced our concern with the degree in which we could predict acts against our schools or acts against the safety of our students if we had been paying attention," said Wardynski during the ten-minute long address that has been posted on YouTube.

"Unfortunately, there is a very small number of children who are causing problems," said Huntsville parent and PTA President Preeti Francis.

Francis is all for the new procedure. She said this doesn't impact every student and that's why she doesn't have privacy concerns.

"They would only be looking at those they have reason to believe that could put the safety of other students, teachers, and staff at risk," said Francis.

Wardynski also shared new details about the fight during his address and explained two students involved in the fight will now be expelled.

MORE: District not saying whether Grissom fight, assault will be referred to police

"Subsequent to expulsion on social media we saw that they were directing threats of violence directly against Grissom High School. We've referred that to law enforcement," said Wardynski.

A district spokesperson said when the state publishes its list in the summer, it's his guess that this will be marked as being referred to law enforcement. If that's the case then it would be the first time any of the hundreds of incidents that have happened at the school reached that standard in the last few years.

That same district spokesperson said just because the state report said law enforcement weren't involved doesn't necessarily mean that. He said Huntsville City Schools meets on a monthly basis with law enforcement to share all data involving student incidents.

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