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SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY

Jennifer Heckel, Deborah Thompson, & Scott Thompson Page 1



Elementary School: Social Media Guidelines
Introduction/Purpose
School leaders recognize that technology use is widespread in our society. Staff and
students have access to cell phones, Internet, and a variety of technological devices.
Staff and students utilize social media websites which includes many digital resources
that provide the opportunity for interacting, sharing, creating and innovating. Therefore,
this social media policy has been created for the following reasons.
This social media policy provides guidance and rules regarding recommended
practices for professional social media communication between school leaders
and staff, between staff and students, as well as student to student
communication.
To ensure all stakeholders (school leaders, staff, and students) have a clear
understanding between professional and personal use of social media
technology, this document also address guidelines regarding personal use.
To ensure all stakeholders do not encounter inappropriate treatment via social
media, the use of social media technology must be performed in a safe and
respectful manner. Everyone must ensure that authorized use of social media
does not harm or injure the school, staff, students, or anyone associated with the
school.
Goal
The overall goal of the social media guidelines is to provide professional social media
environments, for all stakeholders, while adhering to CIPA, FERPA and other Federal
regulations.
Definition of Social Media
Based on Wikipedia, Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as "a
group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological
foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated
content." Furthermore, social media depend on mobile and web-based technologies to
create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-
create, discuss, and modify user-generated content. They introduce substantial and
pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities, and
individuals.
Examples of social media include, but are not limited to:
Facebook

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Pinterest
Instagram
MySpace
ClassMates
Flickr
YouTube
Google
Twitter
Linkedin
The school leaders define professional social media as performing social media
activities that are related to ones job (i.e., a teacher creating a Facebook page or blog
for his/her school or as a classroom activity to communicate with students).
Applicability
These policies apply to all stakeholders who utilize social media technology before,
during, and after school hours. School leaders will be responsible for ensuring all
stakeholders (administrative staff, teachers, students, parents, contractors, vendors
etc.), are fully informed of these policies.
General Statement of Policy Regarding Social Media
School leaders recognize the importance of social media networks as tools for both
communication and learning. Because of this, teachers and staff will be encouraged to
explore and use these tools to enhance the educational experience for students and
provide teaching resources in the classroom. In addition, social media will be used to
enhance the communication between home and school. However, outside of the school
sponsored social media accounts, no other forms of public social media outlets will be
allowed in the classroom unless approved by the superintendent or building
administrators.
It is important to note that the general nature of the social media context makes it very
difficult to keep a line between professional and personal relationships. Employees are
reminded to keep their professionalism always and represent the school district
appropriately. Inappropriate behaviors on social media outlets must be reported and
addressed by the building administration.
Below are several general guidelines that one must follow in order to ensure a
successful experience as a social media user as a district employee:
A. Be Responsible and Accurate
What you put on any social media site becomes your responsibility. If you feel
even a bit uncomfortable with the words you are writing, or have any hesitation in

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publishing your thoughts for the world to see, take time to review your ideas and
discuss your thoughts with a building administrator. Anything published is open
for public viewing and will be around a long time, so content must be carefully
considered and reviewed before hitting send.
B. Keep Student Safety and Rights in Mind
When an employee chooses to use a social media site, they do so as an
employee of the school district. Therefore, employees have a responsibility to
monitor the content posted on social media sites and address inappropriate
behaviors. If someone is posting content to harm or embarrass any student,
action must be taken on part of the employee.
C. Report Creation Of and Participation in Social Media Networks
Participation on social media sites should be annually reviewing with building
administrators and school leaders to provide accountability on part of the school
and its employees. Check-ins are encouraged to help ensure that the social
media experience is beneficial to both students and employees and not a
hinderance.
D. Adhere to Copyright and Fair Use Regulations
Any picture or work that you use on your social media site must be credited
according to copyright and fair use regulations. Make sure you are up to date
with current policies regarding the use of images and citations.
E. Keep Personal Information Private
Full use of privacy settings should be explored and utilized on social media
networks. Know how to disable anonymous postings and keep information
private to those who need to access it. In addition, students, parents, and
coworkers should not be cited or obviously referenced without their consent. This
applies to words, articles of work, or pictures posted on social media sites.
General comments and details about projects, lessons, or events are appropriate
to post as long as anyone reading cannot easily identify any individuals involved.
In addition, please keep school business between students or parents off of
public social media sites.
F. Be Transparent and Relevant
If you are posting about your work, feel free to identify yourself and your
association with the district to add value to your thoughts. Be clear about your
role at the school and your invested interest. Your honesty, or in some cases
dishonesty, can be quickly noted by viewers.
G. Add Value to Content

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When you search online, you can find an opinion for just about any topic. Not all
opinions are beneficial to readers, though. The best idea to keep in mind before
publishing any thoughts online is to think about adding content that have value in
the educational field. Communication should be helpful, thought-provoking, and
build a sense of fellowship and community between students, parents, and
colleagues. If the words you write will help others gain knowledge, do their jobs
more effectively, or solve problems, then it is worthwhile to post.
H. Think About Consequences
When confronted with a difference of opinion (which happens quite frequently on
social media sites), keep your cool and make sure you express your thoughts
and feelings in a clear, logical manner. Sometimes, it is best to ignore comments
than to engage in debates for public viewing. In addition, if you do make a
mistake and are made aware of it, make sure you be upfront and correct it
quickly to maintain credibility.
I. Quality Matters
Always be respectful in your thoughts and ideas. It is not how much you say
about a topic, but what you say that really matters. Be thoughtful of the words
you put down, and make sure they accurately represent the idea you are trying to
represent.
J. Maintain Appropriate Relationships/Respect Boundaries
As a general rule, the lines of personal and professional relationships can be
easily blurred on social media networks. As a school employee, one is
responsible to keep appropriate relationships between teachers/staff and
students both in and out of school. This also applies to contact in an online
setting. Please remember that you are a role model, and act as one accordingly
when using social media sites. In addition, please make sure that you keep in
mind that you represent the school district with every communication you send
on a social media site. Make sure all of the content is in line with district
standards and professional beliefs.
Specific Policies Regarding Social Media Use in the Educational Setting
Below, specific policies are described based on typical educational settings and
resources. School leaders will be responsible for adhering to these policies:
A. Professional Use
a. Email Accounts
Employees shall not use their school email account for communication on
public social media outlets that have not been approved by the district or
school leaders.

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b. Staff Communication with Students
Staff communication with students through social media should be
handled the same way as communication in the classroom. Anything
considered inappropriate in the classroom is also inappropriate through
social media.
c. Students Communicating with Students
Communication amongst students through professional social media
should be encouraged but students should be reminded of the school
policies and internet safety guidelines. Students should only be
communicating about school related topics and should be professional
and polite.
d. Guidelines for Establishing Professional social media sites
Professional social media usage that is school-based should be used for
reasonable instructional, educational, or extracurricular purposes. Staff
should only engage in professional social media sites that have been
approved by the district.
e. Guidelines for Providing Access to Professional social media sites
The use of school resources should be for educational or extracurricular
purposes only. The network and computer resources made available
should be used in accordance with the districts technology use policy.
f. Monitoring of Professional social media sites
Any communications done through professional social media sites should
be considered public and may be monitored by school administration or
other staff. Teachers should monitor communications made by their
students on professional media sites for educational purposes.
g. Press Inquiries
Employees must make clear that the viewpoints expressed belong to the
individual employee and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and
viewpoints of the district as a whole. Employees must refer all press
inquiries to school leaders before making comments. Employees must not
act as a spokesperson on behalf of the district unless given prior
permission by school leaders. If given permission to act as a
spokesperson on behalf of the district, employees must identify
themselves a s district employee and clearly state their role.
B. Personal Use
a. Communication with Student

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Staff should not communicate with students using personal social media
accounts in a way that is not public. This restriction includes but is not
limited to: Twitter direct messages, facebook messages, text messaging,
iMessage or any other direct private communication outside of a school
provided communication.
Staff may communicate with students in these methods if there is an
emergency situation provided they document the communication and
inform an administrator the next school day and provide all records of the
communication.
Staff may also communicate with students about school related topics
outside of school provided social media like twitter, a public facebook
page, instagram, or social media and web 2.0 tools if all communication is
public.
b. Guidelines for Personal social media sites
Staff are free to have personal social media profiles on various sites,
however, staff should not interact with students on a personal social media
site that is not used exclusively for school or professional use.
C. Legislation Regulations
CIPA Childrens Internet Protection Act
FILTERING: Congress passed CIPA in 2000 with the intent of protecting
minors from visual depictions that are obscene, are child pornography or
material considered harmful to minors. Therefore, any information sent
over the schools internet, the network department has full rights to block
or filter content that the Department considers inappropriate for minors.
This includes pornography, obscene material, and other material that may
be harmful to minors. The Network department may also block or filter
other content that is considered to be inappropriate (lacking educational or
work-related content or that pose a threat to the network).
However, based on CIPA guidelines, the filtering software must be
disabled at the request of an adult for bona fide research or other lawful
purpose. But this will be determined by school leaders.
In addition, stakeholders shall not use any website, application, or
methods to bypass filtering of the network or perform any other unlawful
activities.
Click here to learn more about CIPA.

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FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law
that protects the privacy of student education records. FERPA gives
parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records.
Therefore, school leaders must ensure the following guidelines by FERPA
are addressed and adhered to by all stakeholders.
Click here to review the rights granted to parents and students regarding
students education records.
D. POLICY VIOLATIONS
The School leaders (including the School District) reserve the right to
terminate any stakeholders access to the schools network systems -
including access to e-mail - at any time.
Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against anyone who violates
the guidelines in this policy. If a students access to the Schools Internet
System is revoked, the student may not be penalized academically, and
the school leaders will ensure that the student continues to have a
meaningful opportunity to participate in the educational program.
However, if violations of this policy are committed by school leaders,
teachers, or administration staff, appropriate discipline will be handled by
school leaders, school district or the school board.
All stakeholders must promptly disclose to their teacher, supervisor,
principal or manager any information they receive that is inappropriate or
makes them feel uncomfortable.