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Attorney: Proposed Lodi Unified School District social networking policy revisions not good enough

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Posted: Monday, August 19, 2013 6:20 pm

Lodi Unified School District administrators’ revised social networking policy is better than the one that attracted the ire of students and at least one parent, but it still needs some work, according to a San Francisco attorney.

Attorney Thomas Burke said in a letter to the school district on Monday that the revised social networking guidelines deal with actions that are “beyond a public school’s ability to punish.”

The new policy is scheduled to be considered by Lodi Unified trustees at tonight’s board meeting.

Burke said the policy should read that Lodi Unified will only discipline students for online conduct “which is related to school activity or attendance” and “is plainly lewd, vulgar or offensive.”

Lodi Unified School District trustees adopted a policy on March 5 that allows school officials at Lodi, Tokay, Bear Creek and McNair high schools to suspend students from sports and school clubs if they make disparaging remarks about a student, school official or other individual on social networking networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The revised policy before the school board tonight applies the social networking rules to all high school students while eliminating specific examples of inappropriate behavior that were in the original policy, which has been suspended until the school board approves a clarification of the policy.

Today’s Lodi Unified School board meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the James Areida Education Support Center, 1305 E. Vine St. at Guild Avenue, Lodi. The meeting is open to public comment.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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