ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) — Montgomery County’s superintendent says he received offensive tweets during last week’s winter weather from students urging him to close schools.

Superintendent Joshua Starr, who sent an email to parents on Friday, said that he’s trying to use the episode as “a teachable moment.”

He said he would form a task force to develop ways to increase awareness of the need for civility online.

“We need to talk about `cybercivility’: how we can help our children grow into responsible and caring adults who interact with one another in a civil, respectful way,” Starr wrote in his letter.

Students frequently send emails or tweets urging officials to close schools during snowy weather. But Starr said perhaps 10 tweets went too far, using curse words, racial epithets or threats. Tweets that threatened his family were reported to school security, Starr said.

Starr stressed that this was not a case of bullying and he did not feel threatened.

“This is not cyberbullying. It was just kids expressing themselves, and some of them doing it in some pretty terrible and offensive ways,” he said.

School officials informed the parents of those who sent inappropriate tweets, but Starr would not go into specific punishments.

“We know the principals have met with the kids who did some really egregious things, and they’ve doled out consequences that are appropriate,” he said.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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