Social Media Rules Outdated

By Haley Knowlton, ’17

The Auburn School District policies on social media interaction between students and teachers are outdated.

The Auburn School District policies on social media interaction between students and teachers are outdated.

Many teenagers and their teachers use social media, but are the two groups allowed to be friends online? The answer is somewhat murky, as the school policies are technologically outdated and don’t reference specific social networking.

According to the school policies on the Auburn School Department website, the following online activities are prohibited: “Maintaining personal contact with a student outside of school by telephone, e-mail, Instant Messenger or Internet chat rooms, or letters (beyond homework or other legitimate school business)” and “Any communications with students or minors for non-school-related purposes.”

But does being friends on a social network meet the criteria for maintaining personal contact? Does a student’s ability to read a teacher’s Facebook post, even if it wasn’t directed at the student, count as communication for non-school-related purposes?

Teachers recieve a Keynote at the beginning of each year reviewing certain policies listed on the Auburn School Department website. But the Keynote does not cover or mention social media use between staff and students.

Inappropriate use of technology would be anything between students and staff pertaining to drugs, alcohol, or sexually explicit material. “Teachers should be careful about the communication between them and students since it is part of public record,” according to Principal James Miller. “Teachers and students can maintain contact as long as it pertains to school. These policies are outdated, however, we do have updated policies, but they are not uploaded onto the Auburn School Department web page.

“We haven’t updated the policies because it seems whenever we update them there are new social media sites that we were not able to cover,” he said. “The problem with creating these policies is that you can’t make them too specific because then people can say, I used a website you neglected to mention in this policy. If you make the policy too broad then people can be confused as to what the policies cover.”

Some students see no need for adding their teachers. “It’s inappropriate and too personal,” said Tiana Cope-Ferland, “some students post things that just shouldn’t be seen by teachers. I see no problem in adding them after graduation and college since you’re both adults then.”


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