Editorial: Social media restraint

In the seemingly inexorable march of new technology, it was inevitable that a public official in town would eventually be embroiled by behaviors demonstrated in social media’s limitless highway — a domain where thoughts can be posted without caution, or moderation.

Just because an outcome looks unavoidable, it doesn’t necessarily warrant a pardon.

And that’s why Scotland Elementary School parents are calling for the dismissal of Principal Joanna Genovese after it was found she reposted memes — images, videos, pieces of text  copied and repurposed with slight variations — that referenced drinking and contained profanity on her personal Facebook page.

In a town with thousands of Facebook users — an overwhelming amount of them school-age parents — and a half dozen town-centric Facebook pages, Genovese should have known her feelings would eventually be exposed and criticized.

A fourth grader could have executed better judgment.

After all, the calls for dismissal come three months after the town’s top-paid employee — Superintendent Karen Baldwin — agreed to resign amid a controversy surrounding allegedly plagiarized documents. Those flames were ignited at a Board of Education meeting, similar to the one Tuesday night, but the fire grew out of control on social media — specifically on Facebook, where a tidal wave of animosity formed against Baldwin.

History is repeating itself again — to a somewhat different degree — as the 2017-18 school year comes to a close.

No action was taken Tuesday night but parents will expect something soon — and for good reason.

But before a decision is reached, the situation does lend itself to an obvious community-wide lesson: Use restraint on social media. The example here — to teach to kids at home — is if you don’t, your job could be on the line.

Freedom of speech might reign supreme, but on social media we need to create our own limitations.

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