Op-Ed: Adults Need to Set the Example on Social-Media Behavior

Dear Huntington School Community Members,

We exist at a time when our region, nation and the world face challenges like few experienced
before in our lifetimes. Public health concerns and political divisiveness continue to grab the
headlines each and every day. As I have stated previously, it is the collective and shared efforts of
members of our school district community that will help to accelerate the recovery.

Please keep in mind that our children will model the behaviors of the important adults in their
lives. Together, we must continue to impress upon them the importance of taking the necessary
safety precautions, as outlined in our reopening plan, that will help reduce the risk of COVID-19
exposure for themselves and for those around them. These precautions include social distancing,
mask-wearing, hygienic practices and more. In this respect, large gatherings held on a weekend
are not only in violation of an Executive Order, but also significantly increase the risk of
community spread. And community spread can force the shut-down of a school building or
buildings quite rapidly – the last thing we wish to happen here or anywhere else.

Additionally, as a school district, we continue to impress upon our students the importance of
responsible use of social media and establishing a positive and productive digital footprint.

Unfortunately, when children witness adults using social media platforms in a misinformed, less-
than-productive manner, it makes the educational goal expressed above considerably more difficult to achieve. During this or any other time for that matter, we should all be making every
effort to demonstrate and promote kindness and acceptance.

Please know that I am not referring to any one incident specific to the Huntington community in
either regard. I remain extraordinarily proud of the resilience and perseverance of our students,
staff and families in general.

Regardless, I ask, once again, for your assistance and support in remaining vigilant and adhering to state and local guidelines, as we continue to navigate the current health crisis. Furthermore, I ask that you carefully consider your use of social media in the context of the undue influence it can have on a community and specifically its young people.

Thank you.

James W. Polansky is superintendent of the Huntington Union Free School District


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