Staff Input Sought on Social Media Policies

Post date: May 3, 2012 4:38:56 PM

Districts across the nation are adopting policies regarding staff contact with students via email, text messaging, and social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. These are driven in part by the increasing number of scandals where inappropriate student-staff relationships became evident through frequent phone text messages, emails, or social media contacts.

Our district was provided some initial boilerplate language by the district's legal firm to be incorporated into several new board policies, three of which would apply to all staff members and a fourth which would revise an existing policy for students:

  • ECC - Use of Internet and Social Networks and Other Forms of Communication
  • DBA - Professional Conduct by Staff
  • FIHH - Wireless Telecommunication Devices - Employees
  • FIH - Wireless Telecommunication Devices - Students

Staff input was sought and collected on the main new policy ECC. In its original form it echoed what some other districts have already adopted in banning 'friending' of teachers and students on social services and imposing stiff restrictions on texting. Valid concerns were raised about activity sponsors who use text messages to handle logistics and track students at an activity. Valid concerns were also raised about restricting student-staff interactions for homework help, between youth ministers and students, among close relatives, etc.

BEA Chief Negotiator Granger Meador worked with Mr. Chuck McCauley, the Executive Director of Human Resources, to craft revisions of each policy to attempt to address the various concerns which were raised by staff. Feedback from all ISD 30 staff is being sought regarding the latest revisions of the policies above.

All district employees are asked to take the time to review the attached policies and email any concerns to Granger Meador by Friday, May 18, 2012.

The district plans to present the final revisions to the policies to the Board of Education for consideration in July. Any adopted policies would thus be in effect starting with the 2012-2013 school year.