Earlier this week, Wake County Assistant Superintendent Douglas Thilman disseminated a three page memo that detailed social media guidelines for district faculty and staff.
I think the advice in the memo is pretty sensible, but I suspect that some Wake County Schools employees will not take it seriously. Thilman writes [edited for length],
- Do not access personal social networking sites from school computers, on school networks, or during work hours.
- Do not “friend” students or their parents. Unlike traditional forms of communication, postings on social networking sites are transmitted simultaneously to large numbers of people. … Treating children as “friends” rather than as students is unprofessional and may interfere with our educational mission.
- Think before you post. Remember that anything you post on the Internet can be shared with others and may be seen by students, parents, and other members of the community. Remember also that posts or comments may be archived instantly or disseminated by others before you have the chance to “take it back.”
- Do not post any material that would be inappropriate for school-aged children and do not allow any such material to be posted by others who have access to your site. Remember also that you are ultimately responsible for anything that appears on websites you control or maintain.
- Do not use school system-owned technologies to bully, harass, or sexually harass coworkers or students. These duties apply in cyberspace no less than in the classroom or work environment.
- Take steps to ensure that your social networking site is as private as possible, including the use of secure passwords, and do not allow students or their parents to gain access to your site. Do not assume, however, that anything you post on the Internet will always remain “private.”
- Do not post comments of any kind on the websites of students or any minor children, either within or outside of the school system.
- Do not post confidential information about yourself, your coworkers, or students on any Internet site. The disclosure of information about students, in particular, may violate state and federal confidentiality laws, even if the intent is to praise or encourage the students.
- Do not post anything that could lead others to believe that your personal website, or anything on it, is sponsored or endorsed by the school system.
- Do not make any comments to others in cyberspace that you would not make face-to-face. In particular, do not demean, harass, insult, or intimidate others.
- Remember that under Board policy 3005 and the associated Regulations & Procedures you are expected to serve as an example and role model to students, and conduct yourself accordingly at all times.