Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut March 29, 2017 - 7:00 am

Nunavut education department plans “refresher” on social media

Move follows Coral Harbour teacher's posting disturbing graphic on Facebook

JANE GEORGE
Teachers and students at Sakku School in Coral Harbour will receive information about best practices in social media, after the posting of a photo on Facebook by a teacher at the school caused outrage among many parents. (PHOTO/WIKIPEDIA)
Teachers and students at Sakku School in Coral Harbour will receive information about best practices in social media, after the posting of a photo on Facebook by a teacher at the school caused outrage among many parents. (PHOTO/WIKIPEDIA)

Nunavut’s education department plans to offer a “refresher” course to teachers and students on best practices for using social media.

That’s among the responses planned by Nunavut’s education department after many parents in Coral Harbour decided to keep their children home from Saaku School this week to protest a photo posted last weekend on Facebook by a Grade 9 teacher at the school.

“Our regional office will provide support to the principal and the DEA [district education authority] and will endeavor to provide support to them as requested,” Sandi Chan,  a communications officer with the Government of Nunavut, said March 28 in an emailed statement.

The photo, obtained by Nunatsiaq News. that upset many in the community of about 800 shows a screen shot from a video of the 2015 beheading of American journalist James Foley by ISIS, the militant group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

But the image in the screen shot was changed to show the smiling face of a male teacher at Sakku School, identified as Moses Suzuki, pasted instead of Foley’s face on top of his orange-clothed body.

The photo of a local Inuk woman, raised in Coral Harbour and a convert to Islam, who sources say was in a relationship with Suzuki, has been inserted at the right, next to the knife-wielding ISIS executioner, dressed in black.

The woman is wearing a headscarf in the edited photo as she smiles and stands with her arm on her hip.

During the investigation Suzuki, who has apologized for his posting to the community, has been suspended from his teaching duties.

“I do of course acknowledge that it was a mistake for me to post such a thing online, and realized my mistake right away and removed it before anyone else got offended. I would like to apologize to the community for my inappropriate behaviour,” he said in a March 28 Globe and Mail follow-up to the Nunatsiaqonline.ca story.

Asked for comment about Suzuki’s suspension, Nunavut Teachers Association President Terry Young said that the “NTA does not discuss nor release private and confidential employment information regarding our members.”

Nunatsiaq News was told that the DEA representative from Coral Harbour did not attend a meeting of Nunavut DEAs in Iqaluit this week to avoid having to talk about the social media issue.

And Education Minister Paul Quassa said, through his department, that he was “not interested in commenting, as the matter is being handled by the department and he would like to respect the privacy of those involved.”

The education department said it plans to evaluate the incident to “take stock of what lessons can be learned.”

“After any issue at one of our schools come to light, regardless of the type of incident, the Department of Education seeks to take stock of what lessons can be learned from that incident as well as to examine how we can support the DEA and the school immediately following the incident,” Chan said.

Resources for students on best practices for social media use are pulled from Media Smarts—“but the information is useful for staff and for parents,” Chan said.

Tips from “Your Connected life: A Teen’s Guide to Life Online” include the following: “Things that you post online can last a long time and been seen by people you aren’t expecting: your parents, a future boyfriend of girlfriend or someone who might give you a job someday. This means you have to think about your online reputation every time you post something.”


.

Email this story to a friend... Print this page... Bookmark and Share

 THIS WEEK’S ADS

 ADVERTISING