Delete Day Training Seminar
Each year for the past three years students at TMLA have been sponsoring DELETE DAY, an event completely developed and led by TMLA Service Homeroom members. On Delete Day students have come to the computer resource room and have taken the opportunity to change their emails and fix their Facebooks, Twitters, Tumblr, SnapChat and Instagram accounts to remove anything that showed a lack of respect for themselves or others.
Delete Day gives students the chance to come together as a community dedicated to eradicating hurtful and dangerous messages from their social media. This event puts students in control of creating a school culture that values the way students treat one another and themselves in person and on the Internet.
This year TMLA extended an invitation to all of the elementary schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens to take part in a Delete Day Training Program. More than 75 boys and girls and their teachers from Catholic elementary schools and academies in Brooklyn and Queens attended the event.
At TMLA, students are grateful for the chance to address the issue of cyberbullying, and for the opportunity to do something about it. Thus far, over 500 TMLA students have participated in Delete Day, going into the school computer labs and deleting inappropriate statuses, pictures, comments and even entire accounts from social media sites. As the first school ever to organize and hold this event, Delete Day has been featured on MTV, in the Huffington Post, and most recently in Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy (Random House, February 2013).
The Delete Day Training Seminar held on February 12 for elementary students was facilitated by TMLA faculty and students who presented information, led discussions, and trained the visiting students in promoting and running a successful Delete Day. Students learned how to review their social media accounts, to take out anything that shows a lack of respect for themselves and for others. They learned how to develop good e-mail names and user names. Students learned how to create a positive Internet image. They also examined how social media can play a negative role through cyber bullying.
“Teachers and students were all very excited,” said Mrs. Allyson Gutierrez, English Teacher and Director of the TMLA Service Homeroom Program which coordinated the event. “They all were very anxious to get back to their own elementary school and start organizing a similar program for their student body. Hopefully there will be a large scale ‘spring cleaning’ of Facebook and Twitter by the students in our elementary schools and academies throughout the diocese.”
St. Rose of Lima School in Rockaway Park brought 12 students and 3 teachers to the event. “Our students and their teachers were in awe of ‘Delete Day,’” said Assistant Principal Mrs. Bridget Murphy. “All the teachers and students want to adapt this in some way to our needs here at St. Rose.”
Said Sebastian Rosas, grade 7, “I was very surprised what I learned about Instagram. I did not realize that my pictures could be used anywhere. I will never use Instagram again.”
Jontele Wilford, grade 8, said she learned that when you put the Facebook app on your phone, all the privacy settings on your computer are changed, your phone number and all personal information become public. She went home and to fix all her settings.
Matthew Doscher, grade 7, offered this advice, “Be careful when you post pictures when you are on vacation. People then know that your house is vacant.” He also deleted all unknown friends on Facebook. Marianny Fernandez, grade 8, said, “I learned that everything you post, even after you delete it, can be found. I didn’t realize that 40% of Facebook profiles are false.”
Justin Rivera, grade 8, said, “I would definitely like to have a Delete Day here at St. Rose for grades 4-8.”
St. Rose teachers were also eager to express their support for the event. Ms. Kim Wilson, grade 8 homeroom teacher, said, “I was glad that the training stressed the mistake of following strangers. It is important that students realize the message their profile may be sending. Ms. Kerry Colberg, grade 8 homeroom teacher, commented, “The training made the students really think about what they are putting out for the world to see.” Grade 7 homeroom teacher, Christie Reed, felt that “The students learned the message: Does your profile match who you actually are.”
Other schools, their teachers and students were all in agreement about the success of the program. Said Mrs. Jennifer Browne from Holy Family School in Fresh Meadows, “This was the best and most beneficial workshop I have attended through our diocesan schools.” Mrs. Maria Finn, 8th grade teacher from Our Lady of the Snows, said, “We are very thankful to TMLA for this day. The girls were all wonderful and helpful! I look forward to organizing a Delete Day soon at Our Lady of the Snows.”
Photos of some students who attended the Training Seminar may be found in our Delete Day Gallery.