For New York’s educators, to Facebook friend students or not to Facebook friend students is no longer the question.
That’s because the Education Department just released “guidelines” for K-12 instructors, which make very clear that teachers should not be part of students’ social media networks.
This means no Facebook friending, Twitter following, commenting on kids’ posts, nor other forms of online messaging, according to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story.
The Department totally swears this has nothing to do with all the recent accusations of school staffers’ sexual misconduct.
There are a couple of interesting things to note.
One, it doesn’t look like there’s any type of punishment scheme setup — so it’s unclear what happens if a teach doesn’t follow the rules.
Also, some classroom-oriented web activity — such as group blogs — might now require supervisor’s permission and parental notification, the Post notes.
Some thoughts on this: sure, the idea of teachers and students being Facebook buds might seem strange to some, but it def doesn’t mean that there’s any wrongdoing per se.
If a student seems troubled, an instructor might be able to pick up on potentially harmful or dangerous activity via Twitter feed or status updates, as some have mentioned.
Of course, teachers should not take to social networks to do things such as call their students “sexy,” as has happened — that is fucking weird.
So yeah…we shouldn’t blame the internet — or any media, for that matter — for misbehavior, or assume that any type of media is inherently dangerous.
At the same time, it’s probably not a bad idea to have some recs in place because it is very easy for people to act amiss on the web — especially people in positions of power, like teachers. (To Catch a Predator, anyone?)
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 1, 2012