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New social media policy for teachers

by JUSTIN LOCK Staff Writer

The Board of Education adopted a new policy on November 14 of last year involving the use of social networking sites by teachers.

This policy was adopted and created to guide staff members to avoid inappropriate behavior that can hurt the reputation of students and the community when using social networking sites.

If the Board decides photographs or other information on social networking sites are inappropriate, then the staff member will face disciplinary action.

The Board created guidelines for staff members when using social networking sites.

One guideline in the policy is to respect other students and staff, and avoid hurting their reputation. A first grade teacher in Paterson, N.J broke this policy by calling her students “future criminals” on Facebook and was fired.

Another guideline in the policy is not to post anything that is sexually graphic or that promotes violence.

The policy also has other guidelines that say staff should not post anything that discriminates or harasses other people, including any information about staff or students, use or reference to their district title, and update their status during working hours. Jenye “Viki” Knox, a special education teacher at Union High School, was charged with conduct unbecoming a teacher and suspended in 2011 for posting anti-LGBT remarks on her Facebook.

The policy also is not limited to social networking sites, but any type of electronic communication such as e-mails or text-messaging.

The Board believes that anything on the Internet that is private can become public, even without a staff member’s permission.

Biology teacher Dr. McLintire said, “You definitely have to be smart about what you put on the Internet. It’s up for everyone to see.”

If the Board or Superintendent finds a staff member’s use of a social networking site goes against this policy or any others, they will ask the staff member to stop. In some cases, the staff member can be fired if the incident is very serious.

Freshman Satchal Khan said, “I agree with the policy. Why would any staff member post anything about their job?”

Any electronic communication that harms the operation or efficiency of the district is considered breaking the policy.

Some students think that the policy should not limit the use of social networking sites.

Freshman Billy Douglass said, “People should be able to look at what other people do for a living.”

The Board of Education desires high quality education, the wellness of students, and maintaining a good reputation for the school.

Staff members are expected to be committed to protecting all students and to do this the Board believes they must not misuse social networking sites.

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