Facebook friends with students?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by TxMaThTeAcHeR, Jan 26, 2011.

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  1. TxMaThTeAcHeR

    TxMaThTeAcHeR Rookie

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    Jan 26, 2011

    Just curious about what your schools policy is? I never see this as a good thing.. I am a high school teacher so I get "friended' all the time, but always decline...
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    There isn't a school policy, but we have been encouraged to explore how to use the site to communicate with parents using our professional account.
     
  4. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    No! I had one of my second graders today tell ne I should get Facebook so I could play Cityville. I was not about to tell him that I am already on Facebook!

    Forget the possible inappropriateness of friending a student on Facebook, I just wouldn't be able to stand the spelling and grammar!!!
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Same here, Just Me. Many of the teachers on our staff have a page, as does our principal, and many of our students our "friends". We had a whole (voluntary) inservice on how to sort "friends" into groups and protect settings, etc. Our district trusts us to act as professionals.
     
  6. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I have a Facebook, but have absolutely NO students on it. If I'm friended by one, I always decline.
     
  7. thirdgradebuzz

    thirdgradebuzz Comrade

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    I don't decline them, but I sort them to a group that is not allowed to see my wall or post to it, or tagged pictures of me. They only have access to my info page, where I can control the information that appears 100%.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    We have a school policy regarding technology use and social networks. We've been advised to not friend students or their parents and to be very cautious about photos and discussions on such sites. Courts have upheld districts' rights to terminate the employment of staff whose online activities have been considered unprofessional. Even with privacy features in place, it's easy enough to find out who is saying and doing and posting whatever online. Be guided accordingly.
     
  9. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Just say NO!
     
  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    We don't have a policy.

    When I first joined Facebook, I didn't take students as friends. Then I learned how to put friends into groups and place restrictions on them. Now I take them. I have several "levels" of friends, and few people see everything on my page, even adults.

    We've had lots of snow days, and several of us have been posting assignments on FB for the kids to work on while we're off school for weather.
     
  11. BioTeach22

    BioTeach22 Rookie

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    I see facebook as a potentially valuable resource that should be explored with caution. The students are all on there anyway, as are most of us. It's a much faster and more streamline information clearing house than posting on our school website. The potential for bad things to happen however is immense.
     
  12. iheart5thgrade

    iheart5thgrade Comrade

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    Not trying to hijack this thread, but how do you make groups and then just let them see certain things on your page? Several of you have mentioned that.
     
  13. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    When our school reach system (automated phone call) failed to alert teachers and students that school was cancelled due to snow, Facebook saved the day!

    I don't friend students until they graduate, but I see the value in it as a platform to share school info ... I see us moving in that direction.
     
  14. Catcherman22

    Catcherman22 Companion

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    Same here...

    No friends before graduation.. but the minute they graduate I'll always accept them as friends. But then again, I'll only add ones I really want to keep in touch with.
     
  15. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I do not think there is anything inherently inappropriate about who somebody is friends with on Facebook.

    It's what you say and do that determines whether it is inappropriate. In many ways, it's probably one of the safest ways to communicate with someone because there's a record of everything said and nearly every keystroke.

    I think it all comes down to how much you want your students to know about your personal life and how much of your personal life is appropriate for your students and their families to know about. In my case, that's almost nothing and almost nothing.

    But I'm 49 years old. Back in my wilder days, whenever we did anything stupid under the influence of alcohol, we didn't stand around and take pictures of each other and post them on the internet. That seems to be the fad nowadays.

    I can totally see how a younger teacher, just out of college and perhaps still experiencing their "wilder days" may not want anyone from their professional side of life to see their facebook page.
     
  16. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    During our recent round of snow days, I received a chat message from a student at a school I've subbed for. It took me a little by surprise because I also do NOT accept friend requests from students. I wasn't sure how I even accepted him because I'm normally very cautious about that, then I realized I had mistaken him for an adult I know because they have the same name.

    Since the boy is in HS (and I don't see him on a daily basis), I thought it might be OK to leave him on my friends list. So I decide to answer his chat and see what's on his mind. Long story short, he was bored and had decided to "prank" the sub teacher with a conversation about a very inappropriate topic. I remained professional in my replies and just told him the subject matter was inappropriate for a conversation between student and teacher. When he asked more questions, I simply left the conversation.

    I understand the male teen psyche enough to know he was just trying to have some fun at my expense and didn't really mean anything malicious by his comments and questions. I wasn't offended or upset by his antics, but I also don't need to put myself in a bad situation or take any unnecessary risks.

    So I removed him from my friends list to avoid any future problems.
     
  17. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    1. Click on "Friends" under your profile picture.
    2. Click "Edit Friends" near the top right.
    3. Click "Create List" at the top.
    4. Name your list at the top left of the page.
    5. Then it is just a matter of choosing the people you want in the list. Don't forget to click SAVE when you're finished.

    Then when you set up your privacy settings, you can restrict or allow whole groups of people.
     
  18. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    NO students on my FB account. Mine is so harmless that I'm sure they'd be bored anyway. I just don't think it's professional. On the other hand, if I were encouraged to have a "professional account" to use for posting homework and general announcements, I'd love to use it. I just wouldn't mix them.
     
  19. ACardAttack

    ACardAttack Companion

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    Thats how I am....I was against it at first, but seeing other teachers doing it and it does seem like a good way to build school pride and connection which my school needs badly
     
  20. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I don't think we hae a school policy about it, but in my opinion, this is a big, fat, NO!
     
  21. Ranchwife

    Ranchwife Companion

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    I don't accept current students as friends. Once they leave the school, I will accept them if I want to stay caught up on their lives and I enjoy visiting with them. They do, however, immediately go into a "students" group where there is no chat option. I figure the life I live in front of them as their teacher is the life I live in front of everyone, so I don't have anything to hide. I do have a very low tolerance for foul language and if a kid, or any friend for that matter, can't keep his/her posts clean, I drop them.
     
  22. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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    Out of curiosity, does anyone have TWO Facebook accounts: one for personal use and one for communication with students/parents? I've wondered about how to utilize social networking to make communication with students and their families a little easier.

    I currently do not accept friend requests from students, but I'm not necessarily opposed to the idea. I prefer to keep my political and religious views to myself in the classroom, so I would like a more "neutral" profile for school-related communication.

    I think students NEED more responsible adults to have access to their profiles (to keep them in line!). I've occasionally posted helpful notes on some of my younger FB friends' profiles. For example, "It's not a good idea to post your phone number/address on Facebook, just wanted to let you know!." I don't think there's anything creepy about it.
     
  23. outsidethelines

    outsidethelines Companion

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    I accept students as friends. As others have said, I have a "students" group that has very limited access to my profile and information. It's been a positive for me. Students have sent me messages with questions about assignments or other school issues, and it keeps me updated on what's going on in their lives. I feel like I have a much better understanding of many of my students because of Facebook. And since I teach them two years in a row, having that positive relationship is very beneficial. I can understand how some might view it as unprofessional if mishandled, but when used correctly, social networking can be a valuable tool for teachers.
     
  24. mdawson

    mdawson Rookie

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    This is my first year in a public school but taught for 3 in a private day school. I have never had students as friends on FB, but when I left the private school I did accept requests from a few of my former students. I was pulled into my principals office a few months ago and was told that someone had turned me in for being FB friends with students. I explained the situation and mentioned that these kids were not even in the same school district as ours. She said that while she was not threatening my job, I needed to take care of it. The principal even went as far as to say that I can't be friends with parents of students. The only parents I'm friends with are those that I knew before I was hired. Anyway, being that it had to be someone on my friends list that turned me in I deleted all coworkers, former students and parents of students.
     
  25. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Yes. I much prefer this method.
     
  26. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I probably have nearly 200 former students and current students as FB friends. Big whoop. I love it when students from long ago find me to say hi. I rarely post on fb or respond unless asked directly about something.
     
  27. cheerfulfifi

    cheerfulfifi Rookie

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    Just make sure that while yes you can control what you put on your profile, friends can put up pictures or comments of you that you aren't able to control. Just simply by being friends with someone who isn't as in control of their profile as you may be, these students may run into something (a picture, comment, or story) you don't want them to see.

    If you are choosing to be friends with students, be super careful. Always think of worst case scenario and go from there. Most lawyers from our legal department for our union would suggest to never be friends with students on Facebook. There are just too many things you can't control that can go wrong.

    I don't really have requests from my 2nd graders (although I know some are on there!) but no matter the grade, my answer would be no thanks and I'll press decline.
     
  28. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I would never friend a minor with whom I was not friends with one of their parents and who did not have their parents on their friends list.

    I have that rule even for relatives.
     
  29. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Out of curiosity, like what?

    Let's assume that the person does not post anything Not Suitable For Minors, does not do anything inappropriate, and there are no pics of drunken nights in Cancun or spring break debauchery in existence for anyone to post?

    Here's my point. If the mere fact that a person was friends with someone on Facebook were the grounds for an accusation of misconduct, there is a digital record that would prove otherwise. In my opinion, that makes Facebook no more risky than any other public interaction you have with your students.

    Am I missing something?
     
  30. BCPMWK

    BCPMWK Companion

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    If you would like an alternative, school-safe, to facebook try Edmodo or Schoolology. I use edmodo with my students. They can recieve messages via text or to an email acct, and I can upload documents and RSS feeds too. The students and parents can sign-up. The teacher gets a code to give to the group to allow them to join. After the students join you can change the code so that you don't have unwanted members. Although I don't think anyone outside my class would WANT to join my edmodo page for fun :).
     
  31. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para! BASE room aide! RTI Facilitator!

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    I was told at a new teacher inservice that the state of TX just passed a law which started Jan. 1st that teachers should NOT friend any current student or student's parent. In the same inservice, they told me that this law has not reached the district level (huh?) and that each district is now to put a policy in place.
     
  32. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Really? Can't imagine on what legal authority the State of Tx has to govern this! Not that I think friending is a good idea, but certainly well within our civil rights. Here's a story about news investigators trying to dig dirt on teachers through their FB pages:
    http://www.edjurist.com/blog/news-organizations-are-searching-facebook-for-teachers.html
     
  33. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Louisiana has a similar law. It bans any electronic communication with students at that teacher's own school that isn't on a method provided by the school and about the educational services provided by that teacher.
     
  34. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Here are the guidelines from the Texas Classroom Teachers Assoc:

    http://www.tcta.org/publications/2010Winter/ElectronicMediaAndSocialNetworking.htm

    An educator who would like to use social networking to communicate with students may want to consider creating a separate professional page for that purpose. Educators who create a professional social networking page should obtain the consent of their immediate supervisor to do so and should allow parents and administrators to access the page as well as students. The professional page should be maintained on an ongoing basis to ensure that the content is appropriate and complies with local board policies and laws related to copyright and privacy of student information.
    Districts may also attempt to place limitations on an educator’s ability to send text messages to students by adopting policies that designate specific individuals who may send text messages to students and placing time limitations on when educators may communicate with students.
     
  35. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Quick Internet search shows La law prohibits all outside-school communication which I can't see as constitutional ( freedom of speech)
    http://www.eschoolnews.com/2009/10/19/state-targets-student-teacher-communication/

    but Tx law prohibits inappropriate communication only.
    http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/12/05/2681445/state-sets-social-media-ethics.html
     
  36. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para! BASE room aide! RTI Facilitator!

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    Well, that is what I was told. I specifically asked about it and was told it went into effect January 1 of this year.
     
  37. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Forget school policy, this is an ethical issue for work! NOT appropriate!
    You are not their friend, you are their teacher.
     
  38. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para! BASE room aide! RTI Facilitator!

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    I agree, Teacher Apr. I wouldn't do it.
     
  39. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    NC has a law about contact outside of school as well. I can't remember the verbage and I'm too lazy to look it up, but we had to sign something before certification that said we would comply. Of course I don't remember what I signed. @@

    Anyhow, there were a lot of questions surrounding the wording. Outside of school? Did that mean outside of the school building? Outside of regular school hours? What about coaches, club advisors? Did it mean outside of a professional relationship? What about the students that are in my Sunday School class? The children of my personal friends? It was a ridiculous statement. One of which no one in the professional development department of the university or the human resources department of the district could fully explain.

    Just a way for the state/district to cover their butts in the event something inappropriate does occur.
     
  40. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    NC I am thinking it's to stop favoritism? In my home state it was frowned upon to attend any sporting events (as a spectator), go to birthdays, etc. Down here it's not like that.
     
  41. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Wow not watch sporting events?!? Football is a religion in some parts of the country.

    I understand and support the need for appropriate interactions between teachers and students, but am flabbergasted at the blatant disregard for our civil rights! Teachers given prohibitions as though they were criminals already is really a case for the teachers' unions or the ACLU.
     
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