We recently had an assignment for one of my Masters classes to write a school policy regarding student-teacher communication, including the use of social media networks. Please read my policy below the break, and leave me some comments and feedback in the comments section below.
[important]I. Electronic communication between teachers and students
1. Students may e-mail their teacher (or any teacher at Jicama High) with the full knowledge that the e-mail is not necessarily considered confidential. The contents of the e-mail may be shared with other teachers or staff, administration, parents or guardians, or even legal authorities (depending on content).
2. Faculty and staff, when sending or replying to an email to a student (any student at Jicama High), must provide a courtesy copy (CC:) to the student’s parent or guardian. Any faculty or staff member found to be routinely emailing a student without providing a courtesy copy to the parent or guardian may face disciplinary action. Similarly to student e-mails, a member of the administration or technology staff may read all faculty, staff, and administration e-mails at any time if reasonable suspicion warrants it necessary.
B. Social Media / Social Networks
1. For the purpose of this policy, social media and social networks include, but are not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Myspace, Pinterest, blogs, discussion boards, and wikis.
2. Faculty and staff may not directly request that a current student–or another student at Jicama High–be their “friend” or follow them on social networks. Teachers found to be requesting relationships with Jicama students may face disciplinary action.
* Exception: If the faculty or staff member who requested the relationship is the legal parent or guardian or immediate family member of the student requested, “friending” or following is permitted, unless otherwise prohibited by law.
* Exception: The blogs, wikis, and discussion boards included with Jicama High’s Course Management Software are exempt from this requirement. All requirements below still apply.
3. Students may, however, request that a current teacher–or another faculty or staff member at Jicama High–be their “friend” or follow them on social networks. The student does this, however, with the full knowledge that anything that they post visibly for that teacher or staff member to see may be shared with other teachers or staff, administrations, parents or guardians, or even legal authorities (depending on content).
4. Faculty and staff members have the choice whether or not to accept the above-mentioned “friend” or follow requests. If the content that is shared on the social media site is inappropriate for the requested student, it is wise not to accept the request.
* IMPORTANT: Any faculty or staff member who accepts “friend” or follow requests on social networks from current students at Jicama High has the obligation to report any suspicious, dangerous, illegal, or otherwise troublesome information regarding that student or his/her interactions with others, to the proper authorities, which may include, but are not limited to, the student’s parent or guardian, administration, and/or legal authorities (depending on content). If the faculty or staff member is found to have been a student’s “friend” or follower on a social network and had evidence that may have prevented an incident either on campus or off, but failed to report the behavior, that faculty or staff member may face disciplinary or legal action.
5. Any faculty or staff member who has Jicama students as “friends” or followers on any social media site who is reported to have posted inappropriate content to their social media site may face disciplinary or legal action (depending on content).
C. Non-Jicama High students
1. If the student with whom a faculty or staff member communicates electronically leaves Jicama High either by graduation, transfer, expulsion, or by other means, the teacher may remain in contact with the student through e-mails or social media sites. However, the same requirements apply as though the student were a Jicama student.
* Exception: If the student is over the age of 18, courtesy copies (cc:) do not need to be sent to parent or guardian.[/important]