GCAB/GDAB-AR - Personal Communication Devices and Social Media - Staff

Adopted:  7/18/12

Personal Communication Devices

A “personal communication device” is a device, not issued by the District, which emits an audible signal, vibrates, displays a message or otherwise summons or delivers a communication to the possessor of the device. These devices include, but are not limited to: walkie talkies, long- or short-range portable radios, portable scanning devices, cellular telephones, pagers, personal digital assistants (PDA’s), laptop computers and similar devices with wireless capability. This also includes other digital audio and video devices such as, but not limited to, portable music players, radios and TV.

Staff may use and possess personal communication devices on District grounds subject to the following:

  1.  Personal communication devices will be used in a manner that does not interfere with staff duty and responsibility for the instruction and supervision of students, or in a manner that violates state or federal law, Board policy, administrative regulation or school rules;
  2.  Personal communication devices shall be silenced when not being used for instructional purposes or at any other time where use of the device would cause a disruption of school activities or interfere with work assignment. Exceptions to this may be made for health, safety or emergency reasons with superintendent or designee approval;
  3.  The use of personal communication devices in any manner that would violate the confidentiality or privacy rights of another individual is strictly prohibited;
  4.  The District will not be responsible for loss, theft or damage to personal communication devices brought on District property or to school-sponsored events;

Instructional/Professional Use of Communication Devices

  1. Communication with students on personal communication devices will be limited to matters within the scope of your professional responsibilities, related only to school assignments or activities. Staff are discouraged from communicating with a student’s personal communication device.
  2.  Staff may not require students to use cell phones in class. Alternate and equitable opportunities must be available for students.
  3.  Staff must use their District issued email address for all email communications with students and parents.

Social Media and Social Networking

Social media sites are those sites that are web-based communities that provide a means for users to interact over the Internet. Social media sites typically have functionality that allows users to post information that represents the user (a “profile”) and provides the ability for the user to share text, audio, image and video data. Examples of social networking sites for the purpose of this document would be but are not limited to, Ning, Moodle, Blogs, Facebook, and Flickr. Social media sites also allow users to connect and view profile information via a connection between accounts (“friending”).

A Personal page is a page created to share with friends and relatives and includes information not related to school or classroom activities.

A Professional page is defined as a page that is created specifically for use with students in the classroom or as a communication tool with students, staff and parents. This type of page includes instructional information directly related to the classroom. Any professional page should clearly identify the teacher and should include the teacher’s District email address.

  1.  All ethical expectations for appropriate staff/student relationships must be followed when using social media sites for instruction.
  2.  All social media postings must be respectful, professional, and must follow District rules and policies.
  3.  Staff members must adhere to all federal and state laws regarding confidentiality.
  4.  Posts to any media site used for professional purposes must adhere to all applicable intellectual property and copyright laws.
  5.  Staff must not share personal media sites that permit social interaction with students currently enrolled in the District. This includes becoming “friends” or interacting through personal pages.
  6.  Social media interactions may be considered a public record subject to data retention requirements.

Instructional/Professional Use of Social Media Sites

  1.  Staff using social media sites for instructional purposes with students must create professional pages that clearly identify the staff member, position and the District and the purpose of the page.
  2. In addition to District, state, and federal policies, staff must read and follow Privacy and Terms of Use policies for any site they intend to use with students.
  3.  Staff cannot require students to have social media accounts. For this reason, any information posted on social media sites for students and/or parents must be accessible by alternate means in a timely manner.
  4.  Staff using social media sites for instructional or informational purposes must attain approval from their administrator.
  5.  Staff must notify parents of their intention to use social media tools for instructional purposes with students.
  6.  Staff who wish to invite non-district employees (e.g., authors, NASA experts, mathematicians, artists, etc.) to social media sites with their class, must do so on a space that is controlled and monitored by the teacher.
  7.  District policies regarding background checks must be followed when inviting non-district employees to participate on classroom social media sites.
  8.  Staff are strongly discouraged from providing their personal e-mail address to students currently enrolled in the District.