Okay to be friends with parents on Facebook

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Johnjoel, May 29, 2010.

  1. Johnjoel

    Johnjoel Companion

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    May 29, 2010

    Hey everyone! I am a male teacher who recently developed a friendship with a single female parent of one of my soon-to-be former students. Would it be unprofessional for me to ask her to be friends on facebook? My intentions are only to be friends. There is the possibilty that I might move up a grade next year, which would mean that I stand a small chance of having her child in class again. Any input would be great!
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    If there is any possibility that you may teach that child again, I would not establish the facebook friendship. It could be seen as unprofessional. The male/female relationship may also pose a problem. Just my opinion.
     
  4. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Tough call.

    I wouldn't request to friend her. If she requested to friend you then I would think about the following:

    I have a few former parents on my friend's list, but the students are now in high school and I had them as first graders.

    I think it depends on a few things. Anyone you friend will have access to all of your previous posts / pictures so that is something to consider.

    My concerns would be with other parents sending you friend requests. I think if you let one and not others then you are setting yourself up for trouble. Keep in mind that if she is friendly with other parents you will show up on their pages as someone who is friends with her.

    I notice you are a 3rd grade teacher which makes me assume the student is a soon-to-be 4th grader. They are very aware of facebook and will probably publicize that you and mom are friends. Because to a kid that is cool.

    I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. It really comes down to your comfort level based on the situation.
     
  5. Johnjoel

    Johnjoel Companion

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    May 29, 2010

    Thanks

    Thanks for the advice. I probably won't friend request considering we already exchange a friendly email every once in a while. That's pretty much what Facebook is for anyway and why chance it?
     
  6. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Use common sense.

    Do you have anything on your facebook that you wouldn't want your principal to see? Do you ever want to post things like "Good lord, I have the class from hell this year ..." and so on.

    For me, the answer to both of these questions was no, so I have one parent of current student and a several parents of former students on my facebook. Also, I teach in a community that is fairly tolerant and non-judgmental, so even if someone did tag me in a picture at a winery with a glass of Sangiovese, I doubt anyone would make a big deal of it.
     
  7. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    The only parent I have as a friend on facebook is one i went to HS with and continued to be friends with after hs. The rest I do not have on my friends.
     
  8. flowerpower31

    flowerpower31 Comrade

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    I refuse to be friends with any current students or their parents (my one exception is a parent whom I work with). I have nothing bad on my profile and I have nothing to hide, but I just feel like a line needs to be drawn somewhere in terms of teacher/student and teacher/parent relationships. I personally would never friend request a parent, especially if it were a male/female thing.
     
  9. MissNikki

    MissNikki Comrade

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    There's no way I will ever have my students or their families as friends on Facebook. That's dangerous territory.
     
  10. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    For me, the answer is - NO WAY. Facebook is for personal use and I try to draw a line between work and play... I've had numerous requests and I always politely decline.
     
  11. cruiserteacher

    cruiserteacher Comrade

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    I have one parent as a FB friend, but she is also a real-life, lifelong friend. She actually babysits my son. She has another parent as her mutual friend, who has friend requested me, and I declined, as I didn't really want to go down that road. Everyone understands why I have the other parent as a friend.
     
  12. alilac

    alilac Rookie

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    I have issues with teachers texting and facebooking parents and students. It's just wrong in so many ways. My .02.
     
  13. myKroom

    myKroom Habitué

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    I am FB friends with a few parents of former or current students. They all friended me first! They are people I am close to and have helped me tremendously with my career! I REFUSE to accept friend requests from students, especially if they are still in school!

    I am very careful with my FB. All of my close friends have the understanding that if a picture could be taken as questionable (there are very few of those anyway) they do not tag me in it! They respect that it is my career that could be in at stake.

    I am close friends with a teacher who got fired over FB! It was a ridiculous claim...but it is such a thin line to flirt with!
     
  14. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I have friended several parents AFTER --- most many years after --- I had their child in class.
     
  15. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    No way!
     
  16. Johnjoel

    Johnjoel Companion

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    myKroom

    What did your friend get fired for myKroom?
     
  17. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    I would never do it.
     
  18. myKroom

    myKroom Habitué

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    Long story! Basically there were some parents that didn't like her and they used her FB page against her. They were complaining about comments that were made about some of the pictures on her page. The things was thought...she didn't make the comments...other people did. The pictures were completely harmless! They were basically out to get her. The school wouldn't stand up for her! It was pretty sad! :(
     
  19. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    :banned:All teaches should hide in a bunker after work and NEVER acknowledge children, their parents or anything connected with them. They are all out to get you, havent you heard. :rolleyes:
     
  20. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    That is how I feel too. I live in a small town, and many of you may remember that from the last thread like this one. Well, I said then, and I still say, in my town it is impossible to not know the parents of the children in class. I have gone to HS with them, or college, or church. So here, it just isn't a viable answer. I have to decide with each parent what I will do.
     
  21. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    My town is so small......that you have to leave it to turn around.:dizzy:
    My other school was very small and each year I had one group of 5th graders. So over the years I have gathered dozens of former students as FB friends. I chat with some, in particular a little girl with spina bifida. She was hard to entertain in PE but we found things for her. I taught her mom as well. I keep up with my students that have passed on to middle and HS. I recently found and posted a pic of me sitting with a pair of twin skindergarten girls I taught for 6 years. They were thrilled to see the pic I thought had been lost. I honestly dont see see all the paranoia and fear associated with FB. It must be different for HS. Lord, I love teaching elementary kids.
     
  22. dr.gator

    dr.gator Comrade

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    Hehe Coach! You are too much!:woot: I agree, you must pick and choose who you are friends with and pick and choose what you say. It is a public forum.
     
  23. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    I only "befriend" parents from schools where I've previously taught.
     
  24. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I teach in a small town. My child is in the grade that I teach. If I hang out with parents of children her age, some of them are going to be the kids I teach. So yes, they are on my facebook. I hope I am mature enough to watch what I post. And my body is not one that someone would take pictures of for their photo album.
     
  25. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    1. I avoid adding to Facebook anybody that DOES NOT need to know my business. I did allow some faculty members, but as soon as I leave the school (in a few more days) I'm removing MOST of them. The rest of the people are close friends (in real life and online) and family.

    2. I would never add students--- not while teaching them and not even after they graduated high school. My personal life and my professional are separate. I don't do anything that would get me in trouble, but still I don't ever want to worry about where to draw the line.

    3. I would never add parents--- I get the feeling that parents often gossip and when I have a bad day at work, I might make mention of it and I don't want it being spread around. Fellow faculty members and my friends understand that ticks me off and understand that I can have off days. I don't believe that parents are as sympathetic.

    I'm glad you decided to not add the parent to your Facebook-- keep it to e-mail. Everything else she does not need to know.
     
  26. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    I do not befriend parents on Facebook. Once I agree to be friends with one any information I post could be seen by another parent who is friends with the one I am friends with. Also I could have parents complain because of picking and choosing.
     
  27. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I have a few former parents (and a current, or I guess now former since school is out! lol), but they are people I was friends with (or related to) before. I moved schools a couple of years ago and several former students from that parish have added me, and a few parents. It was a very small town and tiny school and I had been part of it for 11 years. It was hard to leave them! My former kids have said since I'm not there for them to come by and visit, they can visit on FB.
     
  28. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    I am friends with a handful of parents... my principal too. I don't post anything I don't want them to know about. I think it has helped us to have a better relationship parent/teacher wise. I am not friends with students though.
     
  29. teach2read10

    teach2read10 Companion

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    Doubt

    If you are in doubt, don't do it. There are so many ways for this to get messy that the risk outweighs the rewards unless you really want more than a friendship.
     
  30. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Personally, I never "friend" parents of students or former students with two exceptions. 1) The parent is a coworker or 2) the parent is a former classmate from years past. Otherwise, FB falls into the realm of my personal life.
     
  31. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    You can set your privacy settings so that only friends see your posts, never friends of friends.
     
  32. SPECIALEDMAN

    SPECIALEDMAN Companion

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    Don't go there.
     
  33. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    I have several Facebook accounts -- one for work colleagues, one for friends, and one for family. All are under totally different names (my real name is only on the colleague account), all are set on "Friends Only," and none cross over.

    I don't care to be friends with parents on Facebook. That is something I do at home, on my own time.
     
  34. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Well said.
     
  35. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    I wouldn't friend her. If you are interested in having anything other than a professional relationship with her (dating or friends) than i would recommend you do it outside of school in person without emails and facebooking because that's a paper trail that could come back to bite you.

    EDIT: plus if things don't work out and her child is either in your class or still at your school, that could be REALLY awkward. i befriended another teacher whose child was in my class and she took advantage of the situation by expecting me to show her child some favoritism. When I refused, the teacher got MAD and she made my job a living H*ll. And it's like I couldn't get away from her because she was a parent.
     
  36. Irma

    Irma Companion

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    I teach in a small town and my child attends the school where I teach. It's been a trick trying to allow for him to have friendships but keep my professional distance. I've been bit in the end too many times and have found after 15 years of teaching it's safer and more productive if you "don't go there".
     

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