New Social Media Policy Restricts Teacher-Student Contact

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 - 01:30 PM

New York City public school teachers may not contact students through personal pages on Web sites like Facebook and Twitter, but can communicate via pages set up for classroom use, the Education Department said Tuesday after it released its first list of guidelines governing the use of social media by employees.

The guidelines do not ban teachers from using social media and, in fact, recognize that social media can offer tremendous pedagogical benefits. But they do reflect growing concerns about the instantaneous electronic ease with which teachers can interact with students, not just in New York City but around the United States.

“If a particular type of behavior is inappropriate in the classroom or a professional workplace, then that behavior is also inappropriate on the professional social media site,” the guidelines state.

The guidelines come as education officials around the country grapple with whether to restrict use of social media and other communications, like cellphones and texting, acknowledging that such access is freighted with the potential for misuse or abuse.

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