Since the dawn of democracy, politicians have bickered over the fine line between church and state. Here at Hereford High School, a similar debate is brewing over the fine line between social media and school. Our new superintendant, Dr. Dallas Dance, intends to fade the line between the two, and has done so by creating a Twitter account, @DDance_BCPS, to connect with the students who he refers to as “#TeamBCPS.”
Dr. Dance made his Twitter debut in the first week of August, just before the school year began. His tweets range from his personal life and family, to the accomplishments of specific schools in Baltimore County. His common usage of the hash tag “#TeamBCPS” creates a sense of community and pride among followers. “[The hash tag is] promoting a sense of community. If we had to go through another crisis, we would have our team supporting us,” said Sophie Seaman (10).
His followers get to know him as a person. Here are some of his tweets:
“A morning talk with grandma is always a blessing! She has the best advice! Now on to meet with the Supt Business Advisory Council! #TeamBCPS”
“Reflecting in front of the Lincoln Memorial is always a great thing! Now, time to go watch the movie!”
Sophie said, “I like how he is mixing his personal and professional life in his Twitter account. He tweeted a picture of the Lincoln Memorial and also tweeted about his grandma. That was sweet.”
But some of his tweets have struck students as odd, in particular, the tweet in which he asks for more followers. “Over 2K Twitter followers! Love #TeamBCPS! How quickly can we get to 3K! #follow@DDance_BCPS.”
In response, Hannah Fizer (12) said, “One could say that he wants to interact with the students, and by interact I mean that he tweets about wanting more followers.”
Tweets like these are what have sparked debate over the social media and school. “He is trying too hard. There should be separation between the superintendent and the students,” said Meghan Anderson (10).
Sarah Bacon (12) said, “It’s a little odd. But if he has something to say, then it’s a good idea.”
Though followers appreciate his efforts to connect with the BCPS students, some view it as a little too much. “I don’t think it’s good [that he has a Twitter] because it opens a lot of doors for people our age to criticize and be rude to him,” said Hannah.
The debate has even lead to the question of Dr. Dance’s priorities. “Is this a game to him? Or does this serve a purpose? Is Twitter the focus? Or is the focus on teachers, grades, and BCPS?” said Meghan.
On the contrary, many students appreciate his elaborate efforts to modernize education. “I like it because he is a part of the new age, unlike that old guy,” said Maggie Gutberlet (10).
Positive reviews have come through for his Twitter picture as well. “One could say that he looks professional in his Twitter picture,” said Hannah.
Many appreciate the personalization of his Twitter as well. “I get the feeling that it is actually him tweeting, not his secretary or someone else,” said Sophie. So if you are interested, follow @DDance_BCPS on Twitter.