Schools grapple with social media policies

Dallas-area schools open their doors today to tech-savvy students who probably spent their summer texting their friends and updating their Facebook pages, reports the Dallas Morning News—but should that type of direct and somewhat personal communication extend to teachers and students? The concept is unexplored territory for some school districts and is gaining acceptance in others. Some coaches and extracurricular sponsors have been texting students for years with practice updates or cancellations. Others are more hesitant to break the invisible barrier between the classroom and after-school life. The situation has school districts perched on the precipice of a slippery slope: Now that this technology is commonplace, what is the proper use of it? The definition of proper electronic behavior with students is still being hammered out, as local school district policies are inconsistent and still evolving on this ever-changing issue. Districts are keenly aware of the potential pitfalls of teachers communicating with students via the internet and cell phones. On the other hand, school districts and teachers trying to reach and engage students and parents find that using the latest and most popular technology is faster, cost-effective, and meets students and parents in their communication comfort zones. Statewide, the Texas Education Agency does not have a policy about electronic or social media and does not provide direction about the issue. Districts are seeking guidance from local teacher groups and the Texas Association of School Boards. But even those messages can conflict…

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