Developing sound social media policies for schools


• Don’t share secrets.

• Protect your own privacy.

• Be honest.

• Respect copyright laws.

• Be the first person to admit your mistakes.

• Think about the consequences.

• Remember that quality matters.

“Our policy isn’t a policy at all. They are more guidelines for best practices,” the presenters said in a PowerPoint slide. “The only official policy in place concerns ‘friending’ of students.” They added: “These guidelines did go before our School Attorney and have her blessing.”

Even online, the district’s code of conduct still applies, Anderson and Walker noted. As a result, teachers should use common sense—and inappropriate student-teacher relationships aren’t allowed online, just as they aren’t allowed at school.

See also:

Social media savvy: The new digital divide?

How to avoid committing social media gaffes

More reports from ASCD’s 67th annual conference 

Anderson and Walker recommended that school leaders include students in the process of creating social media policies. They said student collaboration is a key benefit of social media, and this benefit should be reflected in crafting policies about these tools as well.

However, teachers should remind their students to be careful what they post online. They said research indicates about 25 percent of colleges and universities check applicants’ Facebook accounts. Anderson said educators should help students learn how and what to share, so they can be proud of their digital footprints.

“What we’re teaching them in our schools is to have that presence, so when they go to college, colleges can see the positive [things] they’re doing,” he said. “Ultimately, kids have to know how to manage this themselves, ethically and responsibly.”

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