Changing internet and communication policies impact RM clubs
November 5, 2018
In the last month, parental consent forms for students to access sites like YouTube have made their way around MCPS classrooms. RM students have also witnessed changing school privacy and internet policies firsthand, with many math and science teachers switching to MyMCPS Classroom to send out assignments instead of Google Classroom. One prominent change this year is that many science clubs at RM have been required to communicate with members through MCPS emails instead of personal emails.
In regards to the rationale behind the changes, Science Club sponsor Lissa Vincent stressed student safety and security. “We cannot have students planning events and doing things that adults don’t really know are happening under a club guise, which has happened in the past,” Mrs. Vincent said.
On the other hand, student leaders of the clubs feel the change has hindered their club activities. “I can see why they are enforcing the policy, but it’s a lot harder to organize outreach for meetings and events,” senior Alan Tong, one of the student leaders of RM’s Science Club, said.
Junior Laura Yao, another Science Club leader, agreed. “A lot of students don’t check their MCPS emails, so it’s harder to contact students that way,” she said. When students do check their emails, numerous notifications from teachers giving assignments on MyMCPS Classroom also crowd their inbox, making it even harder for students to notice emails from club leaders.
The changes in policy have led to a significant decline in club memberships. “We lost half our email list when we switched over to MCPS emails,” senior Ivy Han, the president of RM’s HOSA club, said.
The lack of student awareness about the switch has contributed to the problems. Tong said, “They have to publicize it more, so that every club must follow the policy, not just science clubs. This would make students actually check their MCPS emails and would fix the communication problem.”
While the changes may hinder the clubs’ communication, leaders stay optimistic that communication will get better. “I think if people are interested in HOSA, they’ll join regardless of the email used to communicate with them,” Han said.
The dissatisfaction of student club leaders suggests that the issue of student freedom versus information privacy will continue to be an important issue in the school community.