BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - An American Sign Language (ASL) Bakersfield teacher is still going viral on social media Thursday, after posting a picture from her class three years ago.
For the last 30 years Berg, of Chipman Jr. High School has spent her time teaching ASL to seventh and eighth graders who are deaf and hard of hearing, “We run the same subjects. We do English and reading and writing and math history and science we do it all,” Berg said.
Among the many lessons that Berg has shared with her students she places an emphasis on reading, “Reading is a big thing in this class and we push, push, push,” Berg said.
Berg believes that many of her students are also communicating via social media more than before, which she said requires reading skills and connects them to more people.
She also wanted to show students how powerful that same social realm can be so she posted a picture on Facebook as a class project to see how fast it could spread,“The first time was just on Facebook and we had and it still spreads today and there’s over a million shares on the original picture. It reached a million three hundred and it still builds and that was within the first three months,” Berg said.
The picture also made its way to Twitter and resurfaced again this year but this time it was changed according to Berg, “This picture has reappeared and not only has it reappeared it’s changed. Somebody changed that picture and continued to push it out. The difference between three years ago and today is that somebody wiped off the date.”
Academy award winning actress Marlee Matlin also picked up the altered version and shared it with the Twitter world and again the Berg class started to go viral.
However, Berg said it’s a lesson for students about the importance of social media safety, “It was really a good lesson for the kids to see that this picture is not even the same that somebody manipulated it.”
Students like 13-year-old Samaria Conston are already implementing safe social media practices they learned from Berg’s class, “I don’t post that much, I keep it private so that only my friends can see it and my mom does check my Instagram randomly,” Conston said.
“Never post, like you can not post public because someone might see where you are at or you can tell where your address is,” Berg student Alfredo Hernandez said.
Students said based off what happened to their teacher they are not taking any chances, “I don’t know you, don’t want to know you, so I’m just going to block you,” Conston said.
As for Berg she is just happy she can use the picture project for the well being of students.
The photo of Berg is still circulating on social media and as of now Berg said she will continue to use it as a message towards social media safety.