LEWISTON — In the aftermath of a teen suicide last week, school officials are trying to deduce what they could have done differently — and what they can do differently in the future.

The Lewiston School Department on Friday announced a public forum scheduled for June 12 at the high school. The title of the meeting says it all: “Social Media: What Should We be Doing Differently?”

The forum will present a panel of a half-dozen experts, but in large part the meeting is meant to be a kind of brain-storming session between the school system and the public.

“The goal of the session,” according to a press release, “is to have all leave at the end with some ideas about how we might do something different with social media to better protect students from on-line bullying and other misuse.”

The forum will focus on three broad questions: How is social media being used? What impact is social media having on students? And what might schools, parents, students and community do differently?

Craig Freshley of Good Group Decisions will be the outside facilitator. The following panelists are also expected to lead the discussion:

* Sean Malone, DOE Digital Learning Specialist. He oversees the Digital Citizenship Program;

* Sarah Ricker, DOE Student Assistance Coordinator. She oversees DOE’s Anti-bullying efforts;

* Tom Jumper, a Lewiston High School student;

* Larry Gilbert, Jr., the Lewiston Sun Journal Social Engagement Editor;

* Renee Chabot, of the Maine Computer Crimes Task Force;

* Pam Butler, assistant principal of the Lewiston Middle School 

The tentative program will begin with introductions and short presentations by each panelist followed by a panel discussion on the key questions above. Then the audience will be invited to ask questions and make comments, according to the release.

In addition, Tri-County Mental Health will have a table in the vestibule to the gymnasium where they will share community resources for parents, students, LPS staff and community members to meet their emotional needs after the regular school year ends.


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