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New Social Media Rules For District 3 Teachers

Widefield School District 3 is trying to make sure all communication between students and teachers outside the classroom stays off cyberspace.

They have issued a new policy that restricts teachers from friending and or interacting with students on their personal social media pages, which includes Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The policy, which went in effect at the beginning of the month, says staff members must serve as positive role models at all times and represent their school and district professionally.

Most importantly, staff can't use personal social media to interact with students.

The policy also makes clear teachers are forbidden to text message, instant message or email students about non-school related issues.

Parents are in support of this new rule.

"I think they shouldn't be friends with their teachers. I think it's crossing the line," says Krystal Kyle.

Kyle's daughter will be a freshman at Mesa Ridge High School this year.

She doesn't want her child interacting with teachers outside of the classroom unless it's through a school website or a meeting that she is included in.

Kyle believes this could help make sure student-teacher relationships are appropriate at all times.

We checked with other school districts in Southern Colorado; most have a policy similar to D-3. You can read those polices below.

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D-3
Use of social media
Staff members may use social media within school district guidelines for instructional purposes, including promoting communications with students, parents/guardians and the community concerning school related activities and for purposes of supplementing classroom instruction. As with any other instructional material, the application/platform and content shall be appropriate to the student's age, understanding and range of knowledge.

Staff members are expected to serve as positive role models at all times and must represent their school and district professionally at all times. All off-campus expression on social media that is made pursuant to a staff member’s official job duties is subject to this policy.

Staff may not use a personal social media account to interact with students. Staff members shall not “friend” (or otherwise invite) students to join their personal social media sites and must not accept “friend” invitations from students. Staff members shall not use email, text messaging, instant messaging, or social networking sites to discuss non-school related issues with students. Staff members are expected to protect the health, safety, and emotional well-being of students and to preserve the integrity of the learning environment. Online or electronic conduct that distracts or disrupts the learning environment or other conduct in violation of this or related district policies may form the basis for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from employment.

D-70:
Use of social media
Staff members may use social media within school district guidelines for
instructional purposes, including promoting communications with students,
parents/guardians and the community concerning school related activities and
for purposes of supplementing classroom instruction. As with any other
instructional material, the application/platform and content shall be appropriate
to the student’s age, understanding and range of knowledge.

Staff members are discouraged from communicating with students through
personal social media platforms/applications or texting. Staff members are
expected to protect the health, safety and emotional well being of students and
to preserve the integrity of the learning environment. Online or electronic
conduct that distracts or disrupts the learning environment or other conduct in
violation of this or related district policies may form the basis for disciplinary
action up to and including termination.

D-20:
Unauthorized and Unacceptable Uses
Staff members shall use district computers, computer systems, and networks in a
responsible, professional, efficient, ethical, and legal manner. Staff shall not “friend” (or
otherwise invite) students to join their personal social media sites and must not accept
“friend” invitations from students.

D-11:
Staff and students are encouraged to use interactive websites and tools; however, all must be
utilized within the context of educational usage. Staff-created blogs or other online content
such as micro blog feeds must also only occur within the context of educational usage. Users
must follow proper etiquette, including but not limited to, using proper language with no
vulgarity and no cyber-bullying or spreading falsehoods about another that lowers the affected
individual in the eyes of the community. Teacher/student interactions online must only occur
within the context of educational usage. For the protection of both students and staff, the
District strongly advises that staff do not “friend” students on public networks , since lines of
personal and professional boundaries are not as clear in social networking sites Friending
students on private or school-based networks for educational purposes is acceptable within the
context of educational usage(i.e. Destiny or Sharepoint).


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