COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – Columbia County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Sandra Carraway, is responding to parental concern over an email written by the Greenbrier High School Principal that caused outrage on social media.
The concern by parents was directed toward Principal Carla Shelton and how she responded to an out of town student.
The student reached out about a racially motivated social media post made allegedly by a senior at Greenbrier. Dr. Carraway tells NewsChannel 6 in a written statement:
While it may not have been reflected by Ms. Shelton in her handling of this matter, we always want to be made aware of social media posts that can disrupt our schools and cause concern and/or pain to our students and staff, so that we can take action to help stop such ugliness.
The difficulty we have in addressing such negative behaviors is multifaceted, but I will share just two. First, freedom of speech exists for students in and outside of school, except under certain circumstances, primarily if it threatens the health, well-being, and safety of others or disrupts the school environment. So our right to oversee posts such as the one in question is limited, particularly when they are made outside of school. Likewise, if students don’t share with us that this type of behavior is taking place at school or at school related events, we don’t know it is happening and understandably we can’t take steps to stop it.
Nevertheless, Ms. Shelton’s written response was not indicative of her opinion regarding the matter, and, after speaking with her, I am convinced that she clearly did not express herself well. Her email does not reflect her actions, which included her making parental contact and her sharing the post with local law enforcement. Like her, we regret that her message has caused a lack of confidence in her, because she really does give her all to the students and staff of Greenbrier High.
Please know that we want and expect the very best of ourselves and of our students.
In a letter released by Ms. Shelton to parents of Greenbrier students, the principal explained the further action she took regarding this incident to include speaking to the parents of both students.
Principal Shelton also explained the difficulties teachers and administrative staff have when it comes to policing social media posts made by students that aren’t deemed terroristic or directed toward a specific student.
You can read the entire letter sent to concerned parents and citizens here:
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