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Great Expectations School District Social Media Policy

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By Jeanne Searfoorce, Kim Johnson and Kristyn King

INTRODUCTION
Great Expectations School District (GESD) has outlined this Social Media Acceptable Use
Policies (SMAUP) for participation and engagement in social media on behalf the GESD, its
programs, policies, and operations. These policies apply to GESD employees, students, and
contractors participating in social media forums which can include blogs, wikis, social networks
(e.g., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.), personal web sites, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0
communities, and other media not yet created.
GESD asks those who participate to follow the SMAUP outlined below. Those who do not follow
the guidelines below may damage GESDs reputation or their own and may suffer
consequences based upon their participation in conflict with the SMAUP. To ensure compliance,
GESD social media participants should also periodically review the SMAUP for policy changes
and newly introduced policies as cutting-edge technology emerges.
The GESD recognizes the importance and benefits of social media communication. Social
media is an effective tool that GESD can use to disseminate relevant and pertinent news,
engage in positive and constructive discussions about GESD, and integrate it as a valuable
instructional and research tool.
GESD and community members should find these policies and guidelines helpful when using
social media as these contributions are publicly available for viewing, response, and debate.

Jeanne Searfoorce
Kristyn King
Kim Johnson

THE POLICIES
STUDENTS

Students should conduct themselves responsibly when posting content on social media sites.
When students choose to interact using social media, they should understand that it may affect
the GESD community (students, staff, employees of the district), and they will be personally
accountable for their actions. Furthermore, their online interactions are not isolated to their K-12
education and could cause permanent and irreversible damage.
Be mindful when using social media. Students should understand that exaggeration, humor and
inappropriate language can be misconstrued in online communication.
The GESD logo should not be used without written permission from GESD administration.
Photographs of other students or GESD employees should not be posted without permission
from a teacher or administrator.
Students should not divulge any personally identifying information online.
Personal social media accounts or unapproved social media sites should not be used during
school hours.
Inappropriate conduct (including but not limited to cyber-bullying, intimidation, defamation,
slander, or sexually inappropriate use of social media) by a student will not be tolerated. When
this occurs, disciplinary actions can include revocation of the student user account, email
account, social media account, and other technology privileges (not limited to the surrender of
technology hardware). The proper law enforcement authorities will be contacted and a full
investigation will be conducted.

EMPLOYEES
Professional social media interaction should be for instructional, educational, or extracurricular
purposes in compliance with the students Acceptable Use Policies or those discussed in the
SMAUP. GESD employees shall be held accountable for content posted on social media sites
and should be cognizant of their interactions online. There is a clear distinction between
professional and personal online interaction.
Professional Use of Social Media
Social media interactions are an extension of the workplace. Likewise, GESD employees
should use professional decorum when using social media as they would act professionally in
face-to-face interactions in the workplace.

GESD email should be used for professional social media interactions. Personal email
should be used for personal social media interactions.

All professional social media accounts using GESD resources will be centrally
managed by the GESD technology department.

Usernames and passwords used for approved social media will be provided to the
GESD technology department.
Social media tools must be GESD approved prior to use.
Privacy does not exist when using social media.
Confidential information should be protected. Personally
identifiable student information should not be posted unless it is authorized

Jeanne Searfoorce
Kristyn King
Kim Johnson

through the students Acceptable Use Policy through parental or guardian


consent.
Employees should ensure the safety of students and
should understand all GESD rules and those established in the SMAUP.
Inappropriate conduct (including but not limited to cyber-bullying, intimidation,
defamation, slander or sexually inappropriate use of social media) by an employee will
not be tolerated. When this occurs, disciplinary actions can include revocation of the
employees user account, email account, social media account, and other technology
privileges (not limited to the surrender of technology hardware). The proper law
enforcement authorities will be contacted and a full investigation will be conducted.

Personal Use of Social Media


As an employee of GESD, you are not discouraged from using social media for personal
use. However, employees are urged to use discretion when communicating online
because this information is personally identifiable and could have a negative effect on the
employee as an individual, as part of GESD community, or GESD as a whole.

The employees personal email address should be used for all personal social media
presence. GESD email should not be used for personal social media accounts.

Employees should not communicate with students using their personal social media
accounts. All requests through personal social media accounts from students should
be refused.

Employees should only tag other employees with permission from that employee.

The GESD school logo should not be used for personal endeavors without written
permission from a district administrator.

Personal social media accounts should not be accessed during working hours. The use
of personal social media has the possibility of disrupting the workplace. If this occurs,
the media usage may be investigated and possible disciplinary action will occur.

THE GUIDELINES
Confidentiality
Posting confidential or proprietary information about the GESD, its employees, its students, or
its community is prohibited. Doing so can be a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA)
(among others). Please consult your supervisors for further clarification.
Without permission to speak on behalf of GESD, all personal social media communication
should have a disclaimer that, the views expressed are that of the employee and do not reflect
the opinions of the employer.
Privacy
Names, situations, or photographs should not be posted publicly without the permission. Please
ensure that you have reviewed the staff and students Acceptable Use Policies to ensure their
parent has authorized the use of their name or photograph.

Jeanne Searfoorce
Kristyn King
Kim Johnson
Permanence
Comments, thoughts, and ideas can remain on the Internet even though they are not recent or
have been deleted. Extreme caution should be exercised when using social media, especially
when your name, association, or photograph can be associated with GESD or your identity
specifically.
Audience
It is imperative that your online presence is professional. As an employee of GESD, staff,
students, and the community expect that an individual who is teaching their child and one who
represents GESD where their child or family attends is an individual who places educational
integrity before their own opinions and ideas.
"Liking" or "following" sites or feeds should reflect the opinions of GESD. Refrain from "liking" or
"following" sites or feeds for personal interest or communication that could be viewed and
controversial or offensive.
Association
District resources or those associated with GESD are not the appropriate forums to discuss
personal matters or negative opinions. Therefore, your association with the GESD should be
that of a professional who is part of the education and nurturing of the students who attend the
schools within GESD. Anything that is connected to you and your employment as a district
employee should be seen as a positive contribution to the education of students and not as
anything else.
Student Groups, Clubs or Athletic Teams
When using Twitter, be mindful about posting a tweet or retweet message using the GESD
Twitter account. This becomes important when the tweet contains a link to an outside website
that is not suited for student viewing. Any posts that promote sports betting or gambling are
prohibited. These comments or posts will be investigated GESD and local law enforcement in
accordance with GESD policies and local, state and federal laws.
Carefully review all tweets and retweets to ensure that material posted using the GESD
media account does not contain material that reflects negatively on the GESD or employees of
the GESD.
Anonymous Comment Boards
When posting anonymously, be sure you are not logged in under your profile or use the proper
functionality (checking anonymous) when posting in this forum. If your intent is to truly post
anonymously, your name should not be associated with the posted comment.
Personal Responsibility and Liability
You are personally responsible for communications made via social media. If the online activity
violates law or GESD policy, the poster is subject to liability for such acts.
Inappropriate conduct will not be tolerated by GESD. Please see Students or Employees
under The Policies for more clarification about this topic. Community members will be banned

Jeanne Searfoorce
Kristyn King
Kim Johnson
from GESD social media for inappropriate conduct (including but not limited to cyber-bullying,
intimidation, defamation, slander or sexually inappropriate use of social media). When this
occurs, law enforcement authorities will be contacted and a full investigation will be conducted.

CONCLUSION
Great Expectations School District (GESD) is committed to providing students, employees, and
the community with a venue where we can learn, share, are grow together. Social media is the
common platform where communication amongst all parties can be effectively and successfully
achieved. The Social Media Acceptable Use Policies (SMAUP) provides the guidelines for
appropriate interaction so this forum can be productive, safe, and worthwhile for all who choose
to participate. GESD recognizes the importance, benefits, and necessity of social media. With
these guidelines in place, GESD can continue to foster excellence in learning, growth,
professional development, and community involvement.
Sources:
Harvard University:
http://provost.harvard.edu/policies_guidelines/Social_Media_Guidelines_FINAL_Version_1_0_ef
fective_080112.pdf
How To Create Social Media Guidelines For Your School:
http://www.edutopia.org/pdfs/edutopia-anderson-social-media-guidelines.pdf
Williamson County Board of Education: http://www.wcs.edu/wp-content/pdf/4406p.pdf