New school rules for social media
By YOAV GONEN
Last Updated: 2:33 AM, May 1, 2012
Teachers, principals and other school employees “should not communicate” with students through personal social-media sites, under new Department of Education guidelines revealed this morning.
This includes “friending” on Facebook, “following” on Twitter, or otherwise commenting or posting personal messages online.
The directive, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, follows a spate of alleged sexual misconduct by school staffers against students.
But DOE officials say there’s no connection, insisting the social-media guidelines had been in the works for months.
The guidelines are described solely as “recommended best practices” and do not include any mention of punishment for violating them.
But the language makes it clear that DOE employees “should refuse” personal requests from students to communicate online.
The guidelines draw a distinction between personal communications and those involving school work or activities.
But even educationally driven interactions, such as a teacher creating a class blog, require the permission of a supervisor and notification of students’ parents under the guidelines.