SLV School District Perspectives
I have quite a bit of professional and volunteer experience moderating online discussions, and the following are intended to forestall potential problems. Also, I am developing and maintaining this Web site as a volunteer service, and I don't want it to grow into an unpaid but full-time job! To this end, private email communication will be limited in favor of public discussion.
Here are some guidelines I hope we all can follow:
1) To respond to a point, click on the "Send a Response" link on the bottom of the page with that point. This way, the discussion can stay focused. Please stay on topic for that page. Include your name and town of residence, and please identify yourself if you are an employee of the District. I may or may not post anonymous messages, but a priori I'm inclined not to. If you wish, it may be helpful to mention if you have school-aged children and what school or program they are attending.
2) Think back to the famous Mark Twain quote, when be began a letter by apologizing for its length, saying he "didn't have time to make it shorter". Take the time! State your points concisely. I will edit if I have to, but I'd rather not. I probably won't bother with messages that are too long and rambly. (And be honest, you don't want to read long rambly ones either!)
3) Remember that people will judge you by what they see on the page. If your message is difficult to follow, or has many grammar or spelling errors, many people will just move on to reading something else. If I myself find it too hard to read, I won't post it.
4) Profanity will probably cause me to calmly delete the whole message.
5) As we say to our kids - "be respectful, and no name-calling". One of my main goals for this site is to provide a place for respectful discussion, and to help people to understand each other, sometimes on emotional topics. Sometimes the emotion, while understandable, gets in the way of being respectful and logical. I suggest that if you feel angry or upset as you write, you "sleep on it" and review what you've written when you're calmer before hitting "send". Think carefully about whether your message will help others to understand your position.
6) Avoid ad hominem attacks - support your position with facts and logic, not innuendo about someone who holds a different view. (Read more about ad hominem arguments) (Read about other logical fallacies commonly used in arguments)
7) Cut people some slack. Recognize that any topic that concerns our children is bound to be emotional, and start by assuming that people come from a place of caring about theirs. Also, assume that district staff (most of whom are also parents) are human beings trying their best. You may disagree with their actions, but don't expect them to be superhuman or fortune tellers.
8) Try to come from a place of caring for ALL the children of the district.