New Policy Limits What Teachers Can Post Online
Social media posts not allowed during work hours and information that would be inappropriate to say in a classroom also not permitted.
A new policy outlining the appropriate use of social media by school district employees, particularly teachers, was introduced by the Board of Education Thursday.
The policy covers all social media sites and applications, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google+, among others.
“Employees should exercise care in setting appropriate boundaries between their personal and public online behavior, understanding that what is private in the digital world often has the possibility of becoming public even without their knowledge or consent,” the policy states.
Under the new policy, employees would be prohibited from, among other things:
- Posting to sites during work hours, which include updating their Facebook status, unless it involves a school project. Employees would need approval from the Superintendent before posts could be made.
- Publishing information the state commissioner of education would deem inappropriate or that would be inappropriate to say in a classroom or professional workplace. This includes profanity and personal attacks.
- Improperly fraternizing with students.
- Posting any identifying student information, including names, videos, and photographs, without written permission from a student’s parent and the school’s principal first.
Superintendent of Schools Ray Gonzalez said officials are being proactive by creating the policy "before something inappropriate happens."
"The presence of social media is already there," Gonzalez said. "We're making sure that we set our expectations as early as possible in order to prevent any possible wrongdoing and make sure that it is productive moving forward."
The school district has created accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites in an effort to better communicate with residents.
A new Parent Portal system was introduced as well. The online gateway allows parents to access information, including report cards and attendance records, online anytime.
The board could adopt the policy at its next board meeting Oct. 18.