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Should Students, Teachers Be Banned From Being 'Friends' On Social Media?

New N.J. law requires school districts to develop social media policies

Patch File Photo: Daniel Nee
Patch File Photo: Daniel Nee
Just days after Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a requirement that New Jersey school districts adopt social media policies, the New Jersey School Boards Association has developed a model policy for school districts that forbids teachers and students from being "friends" on social media sites.

“With the rise of the Internet, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites and digital communications, it became clear that school boards wanted guidance on how to maintain proper communications between students and teachers,” said NJSBA President John Bulina, in a statement.

Christie agreed, signing S-441 into law on April 24, requiring all school districts to adopt official policies on the use of social media within four months.

The draft NJSBA policy states that teachers may not “friend” students without written approval of their principal, and that all “e-contact” with students should be through district computer or telephone systems – not a teacher's home computer or personal cell phone.

The draft also states that it is inappropriate for school employees to post any items that pertain to students on social media. Employees would also be prohibited from giving out their personal cell phone numbers to students.

You can read the entire draft policy here.

School districts do not, necessarily, have to follow the School Boards Association's model policy, though districts commonly adopt elements of such drafts.

“One aspect that we like about the bill is that it gives local boards considerable flexibility and discretion to write policies that meet their particular communities’ preferences, needs and challenges,” Bulina said.
JasperRam May 11, 2014 at 07:54 AM
Inappropriate behavior is horrible and too common BUT still a incredibly rare behavior (think of how many teachers there are). we should be careful not to throw out the baby with the wash water (how's that for an oldie). To restrict interaction to class time only indicates a total misunderstanding of the true teacher's dedication and influence.
Randy Grauerholz May 11, 2014 at 08:03 PM
As a teacher, I did NOT join Facebook until I retired. Knowing the boundaries, I felt this a line that shouldn't be crossed. However, because I travel, yearly with high school students and post pictures, etc. to my Facebook page, I felt it okay to add them as "friends." It is amazing and wonderful how many keep in touch about their lives in college and careers, etc. Many share their studies abroad, attributing that to their first overseas trip with me. FB is a great way to stay in touch with those whom you may not see again...
JasperRam May 15, 2014 at 05:48 PM
yeah. my grandfather used to say it all the time.
David May 15, 2014 at 07:14 PM
I still see commercials for volunteering for big brothers & big sisters. I presume this law should also ban that since one may be a villain. Parents need to be aware of what is going on with there children. If they are going above the line, block their child's facebook.
Bernhard Rosenberg May 19, 2014 at 08:04 AM
THERE SHOULD BE BOUNDARIES. Bernhard Rosenberg 7:03 AM EDT  ERIC LEGRAND WAS ONE OF MY STUDENTS IN PUBLIC SPEAKING AT RUTGERS. CONGRATULATIOS TO ALL OF YOU. DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG SPEAKS OUT. THE TEACHER WHO CARES. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlhvPRkS9a8&fea... While teaching many of the star female basketball athletes at Rutgers Public Speaking, class which meets once a week, I was sent a communication from the Rutgers President's office stating I should be understanding regarding their absences due to being in the finals. This occurred during the Imus controversy. Showing compassion for these students, I did not penalize them for their absences. When recently told at a meeting that I had to give my students 20%A's, 20% C's and D's, and the remaining grades B's, I refused. A student should get the grade they deserve. I started teaching at Rutgers in 1990 and I believe because I refused the departments instructions on grading I was not rehired. IN my opinion I was bullied and harassed by members of the communications dept. Not only are students bullied but so are teachers, especially non tenured adjuncts as I was. Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg


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