2412 - SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY
2000 - COMMUNITY RELATIONS
2412 SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY
Adoption Date: 5/26/2011
At the time of adoption of this policy, news reports abound with abuses of social media and the serious impact those abuses have on individuals and on school communities and cultures: a teacher conveys scorn for her students and their parents in a blog; students threaten, harass or bully other students on a social media page; a staff member expresses contempt for his superiors; a student or parent slanders a teacher; a teacher lets slip information about a student that constitutes an educational record in violation of Board policy and of federal law. While such expressions may be intended to be private, the nature of the internet often spreads them to the public in rapid, dramatic, and devastating ways. As new technologies and new ways of using them continue rapidly to emerge, such abuses may take different forms which hurt individuals and disrupt the educational context in ways as yet unknown.
The Board expects all students, staff, and parents to maintain mutually respectful relationships toward one another at all times, whether in cyberspace or in school. The Board considers each individual responsible for maintaining the privacy of any thoughts or communications that may disrupt the BOCES educational atmosphere or harm individuals. In addition, each individual is fully responsible for understanding that an expectation of privacy in cyberspace is likely to be illusory.
Board policy 5180 (Staff-Student Relations—Fraternization) requires staff to “establish appropriate personal boundaries with students and not engage in any behavior that could reasonably lead to even the appearance of impropriety.” That expectation applies to all contexts, including social media and cyberspace.
In the event that postings on social media or the internet result in the disruption of the BOCES or its classrooms or inflict harm on any of its people, the Board will consider its response on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the seriousness of the disruption or the extent of harm, the Board will explore and may apply whatever appropriate consequences are within its power to impose, up to and including suspension, termination, or legal action.
As the dynamics and impact of electronic social media continue to change, and as related laws and court decisions evolve, the Board will monitor and adjust this policy to assure its legitimacy and effectiveness.
The District Superintendent will assure that this policy and its expectations are communicated fully to all staff, students, and parents.